Rossi wins, Marquez crashes and Miller takes Open-class victory! | Events
Valentino Rossi gambled on the right tyre choice to take his 84th MotoGP™ victory as Marc Marquez crashed out of the race in Argentina.
Conditions were similar to yesterday’s qualifying with bright sunshine and a track temperature of 37 degrees. Despite this Repsol Honda’s Marquez, along with CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, decided at the last minute to switch to the hard compound rear tyre, unlike the Movistar Yamaha’s of Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo who went with the extra hard option. This would prove to be a crucial decision later on in the race, as tyre-life would have a huge part to play at the Termas de Rio Hondo.
Rossi made up five seconds in 13 laps to get on the back of Marquez
It was Aleix Espargaro who led the pack into turn one on the Team Suzuki Ecstar, but it didn’t take long for Marc Marquez to make his move for the lead, passing the Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR almost immediately, with the reigning MotoGP™ World Champion going on to lead by 0.8s at the end of the first lap.
Marquez took advantage of his hard tyre’s extra grip early on in the race to extend his lead to over 4 seconds, all the while though Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi was making his move through the field. “The Doctor” moved into 2nd place at the expense of Dovizioso on the Ducati Team GP15 with 15 laps to go, having started back in 8th on the grid.
Rossi then set about hunting down Marquez, as the Spaniard’s tyre performance started to fall away, and it suddenly became apparent he would be able to catch the Honda.
It was like watching a ticking time bomb as Rossi made huge in-roads into Marquez’s lead, finally catching him with just 2 laps to go. Marquez was not going to let the Italian pass him without a fight though, and in the ensuing battle the riders touched a couple of times, before Marquez clipped the back of Rossi’s bike and crashed out of the race. Although Marquez was not best pleased at the time, Race Direction ruled it as a “racing incident” and took no further action.
This left Rossi on his own to take the victory by over five-seconds, and he admitted afterwards that the key to his success was not caring about Marquez’s tyre choice, and just focusing on his own. He later discussed the incident with Marquez at the press conference: “When I arrive, it was a shame that he crashed, but for me he made a mistake because Marc is a rider who will always go all-in. When I braked he touched me once, then again, and then he crashed. It was a shame as it could have been a good battle to the end.”
Andrea Dovizioso took advantage of Marquez’s crash to claim 2nd, five-seconds behind Rossi, and now trails him by six points in the Championship standings. The Italian later saying that his team had worked on developing a setup that would allow him to be fast, but would also look after their tyres, and he seemed pleased at the outcome: “I am very happy because to get so close to Valentino at the front is a dream come true, as the bike is very new, and we are second in the championship after a great start by Valentino…to be so close is amazing.”
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow left it until the very last corner to pass Andrea Iannone to claim the final podium place, managing to hold off the Ducati Team GP15 on the run to the line to take 3rd and finish as the leading satellite rider. He later revealed that Honda had developed a plan that involved the British rider trying to hold up Marquez’s rivals during the early part of the race, before coming on strong in the latter stages: “Unfortunately Marc crashed, and we benefitted and took the podium. This is racing, we fought hard all weekend long, I enjoyed it thoroughly and I think it paid off.”
Cal Crutchlow on the podium
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo had no answer to the pace of the guys at the front, and finished in rather a lonely fifth place, nine-seconds ahead of the Satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike of Bradley Smith in 6th.
Aleix Espargaro ended the race in 7th, ahead of his brother Pol on the second Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike, with Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing’s Scott Redding and the second Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR of Maverick Viñales completing the top ten.
Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci finished in 11th, but was later given a penalty point by race direction for causing Hiroshi Aoyama’s crash on the final corner.
CWM LCR Honda’s Jack Miller took the Open class victory as he finished in 12th, just 0.075s ahead of Hector Barbera on the Avintia Ducati and Athina Forward Racing’s Loris Baz, with his teammate Stefan Bradl in 15th.
Miller took the Open Class victory placing 12th overall
Yonny Hernandez earlier had a spectacular mechanical failure and had to retire from the race after his Pramac Racing Ducati caught fire on track.
Yonny Hernandez had to jump off his Pramac Ducati after it caught fire mid-race
Rossi now has a six-point lead over Dovizioso in the MotoGP™ World Championship standings, and has a thirty-point advantage over Marquez.
Johann Zarco converted his pole position to a win in the Moto2 class. Zarco heads to Jerez with a five-point lead in the title over Alex Rins.
The Moto3 race once again saw Englishman Danny Kent run away with the victory, and sits a healthy 17-points ahead of Efren Vazquez in the title chase.
All the news, inside info and behind-the-scenes nitty gritty in the next issue of AMCN, on sale Thursday 30 April.