The pre-race press conference took place ahead of the second round of the MotoGP season in Argentina; Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso were amongst the panel of riders who appeared.
The first round took place at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, however the final winter testing session that took place previous to the season opener meant that the riders and teams had a lot of data to help influence their tyre choices on race day.
Michelin are the new manufacturers for the 2016 season and this change is one amongst many rule changes that were made at the start of the season; the electronics package being the other major change allowing a more level playing field across the top class.
The riders only have Friday and early Saturday to practice and accumulate as much data as possible before qualifiying on Saturday. They will also have Sunday morning to help determine the best possible choice of tyre for the main race and so this is where the focus of the riders appears to be.
Ducati have to be focused
Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso seemed unsure of how the next three races will go when he spoke at the pre-race press conference. Due to the lack of time in Argentina compared to that in Qatar Dovizioso spoke of how he feels he and the team, ‘have to be focused and really quick to understand’ as they have the task of figuring out ‘how to manage the tyres and setup of the bike’.
The Ducatis looked strong in Qatar, dominating on the start-finish straight. Dovizioso and his teammate Andrea Iannone - who crashed out near the start of the race - made a great start and were already attacking race leader Jorge Lorenzo on his Movistar Yamaha, who went on to win.
Dovizioso went on to finish in second despite the fact it seemed that Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez was catching him, however on the straights the acceleration of the Ducati meant that all the work Marquez put in to catch Dovizioso during the lap was soon undone.
The Italian rider said that he "doesn't want to think too much about the result", adding that he "feels good with the bike" but would "see the weather" when it came to the business end of the weekend.
Marquez looking forward to riding the bike again
Marquez finished in third in Qatar despite his efforts; Movistar Yamaha rival Valentino Rossi was unable to contend for his third position but was able to stay close throughout the race. A tired Marquez spoke of the long sixty-hour journey to get to Argentina, arriving at 3am the night before the press conference.
He seemed enthusiastic and is ‘looking forward to riding the bike again’ and ‘confirming the feelings of Qatar’. Marquez is a fan of the Termas de Rio Hondo - he won here when the circuit was introduced to the calendar in 2014, but did not finish in 2015 after crashing out near the end of the race.
He soon began to join the tyre discussions saying that "normally everyone chooses the same tyres for the race", but that it was clear from Qatar that there were "many different options".
He spoke of the combinations that the other lead riders in Qatar used which varied a lot. The focus for all the riders is to make the best tyre choice, and Marquez said, “It will be interesting and important this year to find the best tyre in practice because it’s the key.”
He seems impressed with the race endurance of the tyres from the new manufacturers and mentioned how the race winner in Qatar, Lorenzo, was able to lap with in 1:54 minutes towards the end of the race.
Riders strategically placed
All of the riders appeared to be once again strategically placed; Dovizioso separated Movistar Yamaha teammates Rossi and Lorenzo, who had Marquez on his other side. They were also joined by Columbian rider Yonny Hernandez (Aspar Team MotoGP) and Spanish rider Pol Espagaro (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) who joined the top four finishers from Qatar on either end.