22 April 2014
Argentina Moto2: Rabat talks Termas de Rio Hondo circuit
"Turn six is a long, long left-hander that is unbelievable" - Esteve Rabat.
Esteve Rabat was one of only six riders - four MotoGP and two Moto2 - present for last year's fact-finding test at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, which will host Argentina's first MotoGP round since 1999 this weekend.
This is what the Moto2 championship leader has to say about the 2.806km circuit, which features 14 corners (5 left, 9 right) and a longest straight of just over 1 km.
“The first day [of testing] the track was very dirty, as they'd literally just finished building it, and on the second day it rained,” began Marc VDS rider Rabat. “It meant we never really got to test the track properly at race pace, but at least we got an idea of the layout.
“It's a nice track, with a good mix of fast and slow corners and two fast straights. The back straight in particular will be interesting, as it's over a kilometre in length with a slow corner at the end, so the brakes are going to get a good workout!
“Overall the track isn't too technical, but there are parts that you need to get right. The exits onto the back straight and the start finish straight for example will be critical to a fast lap time.
“The first two turns are quite tricky; you're hard on the brakes at the end of the start finish straight and then you have to negotiate two 180-degree corners without losing speed. These two corners aren't particularly quick, but they are quite technical.
“Turns three and four are critical, as you need to carry as much speed as possible out of here and onto the long back straight. Get these two corners wrong and you're going to have riders pulling out of your slipstream and blasting past you on the straight.
“At the end of the back straight you're hard on the brakes again for turn five, a fairly slow right hander, but then you're into my favourite corner on the whole track.
“Turn six is a long, long left-hander that is unbelievable. You need to be completely focussed on the Moto2 bike here, because you've got the throttle on the stop and the rear tyre is spinning and sliding all the way through the turn.
“Then it's hard on the brakes again for turn seven, a tight right-hander, which opens out into turn eight. You're accelerating all the way through turn eight before getting back on the brakes for the left-hander at turn nine. Out of turn nine you flick the bike right for turn ten, which is more of a kink than a corner, and then you've got a fairly long left-hander at turn 11, where the bike is on the side of the tyre for quite a long time.
“The combination of turns 12, 13 and 14 are also critical to a good lap time. The three corners are quite technical, but you need to get a good exit from turn 14 to ensure you have the speed on the start finish straight. Get it wrong during the race and, again, riders will slipstream past you on the run down to turn one.
“The finish line is quite close to the exit of turn 14, so we could see some last lap heroics in these last three turns during the race!”
Nico Terol was the only other Moto2 rider at the test.
"I really enjoyed the test in Argentina last July," said Terol. "It is a wide track and you can really let the bike run through the corners. I remember having a good feeling at the track and our pace on the last day was pretty decent."
The Grand Prix of Argentina, the first MotoGP event to be held in South America since Rio 2004, gets underway with free practice on Friday.
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