The late arrival of MotoGP cargo made 16 riders from various teams affected by the delay in arriving at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, Argentina, on Friday.
This situation also forced Dorna Sports as the promoter to change the schedule. As a result of these changes, one free practice session (Free Practice/FP) for all classes was cancelled. As a result, there are no activities for the racers to do at the circuit on Friday (main photo).
Everyone knows motorcycle racing is a team sport. Although, the biggest responsibility to win the podium, victory or title, remains in the hands of the drivers.
However, all that cannot go smoothly, or at least according to plan and strategy, if the racer cannot get a motorbike with good performance and durability. These two factors are clearly related to preparation.
This is what they face at Termas de Rio Hondo. Two years (2020 and 2021) have not been used, practically the drivers and teams need significant time to determine the best suit.
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Unfortunately, the problem of cargo delays cost the drivers a very valuable session. Now, they practically rely on the expertise and foresight of the mechanics in determining the best set-up for Termas de Rio Hondo.
With cargo arriving on Friday, it will take extra hard work to catch up with time and fight fatigue. A Mooney VR46 Racing Team crew explained how much total time it took in the pits to prepare.
“It took three hours to unload the cargo. Then, it takes another four hours just for one motorbike, to install all the components of the motorbike so that they are intact, “he said.
“If the cargo arrives on Friday morning, the work can take all day and finish on Saturday, without sleep. This feeling of exhaustion will definitely be felt in the body.”
As previously reported, this delay was related to the aircraft damage that occurred in Mombasa, Kenya. The absence of spare cargo planes – partly due to the impact of the Russo-Ukrainian war – and the complexity of loading and unloading, forced the aircraft to be repaired on the spot.
Dorna Sports itself has not yet provided information whether there is a possibility of this incident being repeated for the next race in Austin, Texas, United States, next week.
“I hope the component cargo can arrive on time. Our own cargo is complete here,” said Fabio Quartararo, MotoGP world champion from the factory Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team.
“This situation will be a challenge for the mechanics because they will have a lot of work and Saturday will be a long day. Although, this situation is clearly very good for television viewing.”
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) who two weeks ago managed to dominate the MotoGP race on the wet track of the new Pertamina Mandalika Circuit, Indonesia, said that his team experienced a delay for one motorbike.
“But some other teams are all late. This will obviously be a challenge for mechanics and technicians,” said the Portuguese racer.
Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) added: “It is very difficult for a team whose entire cargo is late because 48 hours of work now has to be completed in one day. But, thankfully all Pramac cargo has arrived here.”
Boss Dorna’s explanation about the Argentine MotoGP Logistics Delay
Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta explained the sudden suspension of the Argentine Grand Prix, which saw Friday’s session cancelled, due to logistical delays.
The free practice of the Argentine GP on Friday (1/4/2022) at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo was canceled due to the delay of one of the planes carrying the team’s logistics from Lombok to Tucuman.
Carmelo Ezpeleta explained that one in five flights had problems in Mombasa, Kenya. And the decision to send the plane that had arrived at Termas to return to Lombok was also constrained.
“One out of five flights has problems in Mombasa and we decided to send one of the planes that had arrived in Termas, back to Lombok, unfortunately it had problems again in Kenya,” said Ezpeleta in an extraordinary press conference on Thursday (31/3/2022) .
“In principle it should have arrived yesterday (Wednesday), but the problem is more serious than expected. We have asked for two spare parts to fix it. If all goes well, in theory the flights will arrive on time to meet Saturday’s new schedule.”
However, the spare plane that was sent is still in Mombasa, Kenya, and had to be repaired, then flown to Lombok, loaded with the remaining MotoGP cargo and brought it back to Termas.
“We will have the information and if the flight takes off at the scheduled time, everything should be fine,” said Ezpelega, not guaranteeing the plane arrived on time for the Argentine GP.
“We learned a lot with 30 years of experience about this type of flight, a lot of planes from Russian companies, 20%,
and now cannot be contracted because of the war. The problem is, nothing else is available, we can only wait for the improvements that are in Mombasa.”
The suspension of a full day of the Argentine Grand Prix races opens the opportunity for Dorna Sports to reconsider the number of races in a season on the MotoGP calendar.
“Maybe we need to reconsider successive races, but that’s not the case, there is a gap of one week between (Indonesian GP and Argentine GP),” Ezpeleta said.
“This is an unexpected problem, frankly this is the 499th grand prix that we are holding and for the first time we have this problem, not a positive thing, but this is the first. The goal is to race in Argentina and Austin next week,” said Ezpeleta.
About the least flexibility in this type of aircraft. In fact, there are around 140 flights available in the world for cargo, but not all of them are up to the standards that MotoGP requires.
“We need something special and it’s not easy to move from one plane to another. It’s a shame, but we’re used to solving any problem, we have to accept it, just as we have to accept the weather conditions when they happen.”
Despite this serious problem, Carmelo Ezpeleta doesn’t think that overhauling the MotoGP calendar in the future is a solution. According to him, they have a suitable schedule to accommodate the race.
“It would be fantastic for us if we could organize the calendar better, but with all the races we have it is difficult to do, we will continue with the current number of grands prix. We don’t plan to reduce it. Organizing a calendar is not easy, one of the most difficult things in our job,” explains Ezpeleta.
About the team affected by the delay, he emphasized that everyone should go through the same conditions, even if it doesn’t affect the whole. Changes made are not beneficial or detrimental to either party.
Another issue raised was the trimming of the race weekend schedule, from three days to two days. According to Ezpeleta, this is not a problem because the racing session will not be interrupted.
“The race is Sunday and there is no problem if we start on Friday or Saturday, we don’t arrive on time because of flight problems, the solution is not to spend three days,” he concluded.