Morbidelli Reigns at Wet 2023 Argentina MotoGP
Team ENEOS is making strides in the 2023 MotoGP series: Franco Moribdelli narrowly missed a podium, navigating the challenging wet conditions to finish fourth at the Gran Premio de la República Argentina at the Autódromo Internacional de Termas de Río Hondo. Fabio Quartararo showed his maturity as a rider, recovering from last place on the opening lap to finish seventh overall.
Launching from P4 on the grid, Morbidelli fought for the holeshot as he did in the previous Sprint race, but fell to fourth while holding the outside line through Turn 1. The 25-lap race was a lonely ride for the Italian but he pressed on for a podium.
Morbidelli briefly took third after Francesco Bagnaia crashed out on lap 17, but then lost the position as Johann Zarco charged during the final laps. Morbidelli crossed the finish line in fourth, 7.581sec from first, collecting valuable championship points.
“This race had difficult conditions but we were able to perform well across the board, so I’m very happy,” said Morbidelli. “I did my best to hold that podium spot but couldn’t maintain it. If this momentum holds for Austin, we’ll do really well.”
Quartararo had a decent P10 start and tried to push during the opening lap but was clipped by a rival on the drenched track, sending him back to 16th. He held his cool and climbed through the field to where he started the race; tenth place.
With Bagnaia crashing out, El Diablo moved up to eighth after overtaking Luca Marini, increasing his pace to secure seventh. He tried to close the gap to sixth but was unable to put in a move, and claimed the checkered flag in seventh, 11.095sec from the leader.
“This was a bittersweet race with a decent start but an unfortunate push down to last place,” Quartararo said. “But I was able to recover and our wet pace was really good. A top-5 finish would’ve been possible if the circumstances were different.”
Morbidelli’s result moves him up to ninth place overall in the Championship standings with 21 points; Quartararo remains 10th overall with 18 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is in sixth place with 39 points in the team championship, and Yamaha remains fourth in the manufacturer standings with 27 points.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP heads to Austin, Texas for Round 3, the Grand Prix of The Americas, from April 13-16, 2023.