Hot topic Maverick Vinales did not have the strongest start in Qatar and actually struggled quite a lot alongside teammate Valentino Rossi before they both came alive in the final part of the Grand Prix. The pressure is at an all time high for Vinales who has Rossi, Marquez and Lorenzo biting at his heels. Argentina is going to be another interesting test of bike performance, speed and circuit grip with some riders excelling in the past and others struggling to keep up. Alternatively, for Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo and LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow the race at Qatar was quite the challenge. Crutchlow crashed twice and did not perform at the level he wanted after changing his front tyre on the grid and Lorenzo also picked the incorrect tyres which caused him to lose performance speed and end up finishing further back than what he had hoped for in his first event with the Ducati outfit. Both riders will be looking to recover and race faster, harder and with more enjoyment in Argentina. The competitiveness of the grid this year is quite intense with so many opportunities on offer for the riders to win and stand on the podium. Lorenzo is really working hard to make the dream team at Ducati a successful one. Andrea Dovizioso has already made it clear that Ducati are ready to battle with his podium performance in Qatar. He is really working hard to make an impact in 2017. Dovizioso wants to make sure that he is ahead of Lorenzo. We must keep in mind that Dovizioso has been working with Ducati for a long time and is only now enjoying the benefits of a successful campaign with the red outfit.
In Argentina, Valentino Rossi is set for his 350th Grand Prix start which is an impressive record for the Italian superstar and is going to be a milestone for The Doctor. No matter what happens to Rossi he always finds a way to get back on top of his game and shake up the front-runners. The front tyre issues are always a work in progress and it appears that Rossi is starting to get ahead. His confidence is growing race by race after a tough winter season of testing. We must say though it is hard to make podium predictions in 2017 with such a variety of talent amongst the manufactures. Anything is possible. Marquez on the other side of the garage still does not have his dream bike and this is a frustrating place to be in for the Spanish World Champion. Marquez wants perfection and right now he has had to battle with his bike quite often although his speed and ability to win still comes through even with such technical issues at the forefront of his mind.
The world is focused on Vinales more than ever in 2017 with his chances of a World Championship Title very real. However, he has to go up against Marquez, Rossi and Lorenzo every single race and they are very smart riders with psychological tactics to try and outsmart Vinales. This started in the winter testing sessions especially at Phillip Island. This is where the sport gets interesting because it becomes a battle of mind games and who is stronger both physically and mentally. We have already heard via Thursday’s press conference that Aleix Espargaro expects a good race as his feeling with the Aprilia Gresini is superb considering his first season with the team, Redding is hoping for more consistency as he notices his teammate Danilo Petrucci struggling a little with the GP17, Marquez wants more and knows the Argentina circuit is a good one for the Honda, Rossi is ready for the battle and Vinales wants to keep focused rather than giving in to the title expectations already being discussed after one round.