One year ago, in Argentina, Yamaha and Maverick Vinales seemed unbeatable. The team did the double at Termas de Rio Hondo in fact, with Valentino crossing the line in second place behind his team-mate. The season then got more complicated and, 12 months down the line, Yamaha is still trying to put all the pieces back together.
The fact remains that the Argentinian track is happy hunting ground for the M1. In the last three years, Rossi has scored one win and two second places at the track. An enviable track record....
“Last year we were very strong in Argentina. We came first and second and I think it was the best race of our team that season - comments the Doctor - But since then the balance of the rider field has changed - our rivals are stronger now.
Valentino knows that the track layout suits him and his bike but this doesn't make things any easier. Marquez and Dovizioso have already shown what they are capable of, and then there is a long list of outsiders too.
“It will be a hard fight, but I like the track and usually our bike works well there. It could be a surprising weekend, but I hope to be strong."
VINALES: I THINK I CAN FIGHT FOR THE WIN - Team-mate Maverick Vinales is even more confident, having got his smile back at Losail after a complicated winter.
"I‘m happy that we found a really nice set-up in Qatar, the team did a really great job during the last race weekend and now we are looking forward to this week's Grand Prix in Argentina" he states.
It's only natural that he now seeks confirmation at a 'friendly' track, as he looks to pull himself out of the quicksand once and for all.
"I can‘t wait to race in Termas de Río Hondo, where I won the race last year - I felt really strong and confident. I hope to have the same feeling again, to fight for the victory. I really think that we can do a good job this weekend and that we will be at the front during the entire race, with many possibilities to win it. I‘m quite motivated."