These just in:
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took a brilliant victory in Termas de Rio Hondo with a dominant performance at the front, taking the Championship lead in the process to leave Argentina four points clear on the way to Texas. The race to complete the podium behind him was a spectacular tussle, however, and one eventually won by Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as the ‘Doctor’ made the perfect move on Andrea Doviziosos (Mission Winnow Ducati) on the last lap to secure second and his first podium since Germany last season – an apt way to mark the anniversary of his World Championship debut in 1996.
Marquez took the holeshot from pole as Dovizioso pounced for second, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) losing out from the middle of the front row and Rossi leapfrogging his teammate. Marquez immediately pulled the pin to make a gap, with Rossi then soon attacking Dovizioso but the Ducati rider holding firm.
Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was next to go on the offensive as he dived past the ‘Doctor’ but the move didn’t stick, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) getting past Viñales to tag onto the Australian. Chopping and changing, Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) was next to attack the number 12 Yamaha in the melee – before Miller took Rossi, and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) had a stab at getting past the number 46 too.
It was a breathless tussle over the first two laps but one rider was then forced out of it: Crutchlow was given a Ride Through for jumping the start. That took him out of the battle as Dovi, Miller and Rossi found Morbidelli back on their tail and Rossi pounced on Dovizioso just as Morbidelli pounced on Miller in tandem. Spectacular though it was, it was shortlived as both Yamahas then headed wide and the ensuing shuffle reset the battle. Dovizioso and Rossi followed by Morbidelli, Petrucci, Miller and Viñales was the freight train fighting it out for the podium.
As the laps ticked on the Dovizioso-Rossi battle lit up and started to pull away from those behind. Dovizioso blasted down the straights, Rossi made the most of the Yamaha’s forte in the corners…the two trading positions at times but able to stay ahead of the battle that now included Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) as he arrived on the scene from 16th on the grid.
As that raged on, the last lap was a relaxed one for Marquez at the front. The reigning Champion completed his stunning performance and took his first win of the year, but the battle for second stayed tense to the line. Rossi lurked behind his prey for the first half of the lap, but at Turn 7 the ‘Doctor’ struck to perfection. A block pass saw the Italian not only get past his compatriot but also create just enough of a gap to keep him ahead until the end; the result Rossi back on the podium for the first time since Sachsenring last season. Dovizioso, meanwhile, although forced to settle for third, achieved his goal of getting on the podium at a track that usually proved tough for Ducati – and he’s only four points off Marquez in the Championship.
The fight for fourth saw Rins and Miller locked in battle and in the end it was the Australian who took the spoils, coming home in the same position as last year and as top Independent Team rider. Rins nevertheless took an incredible fifth after gaining 11 places, with Petrucci ultimately dropping into the clutches of Viñales and Morbidelli – and one last gasp of drama just around the corner for that trio.
Viñales attacked Petrucci, Petrucci held him off and the two Yamahas behind then came into contact, suddenly both on the floor and sliding out as the Ducati escaped for P6. That meant Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) got an even bigger reward for a quality race as the Japanese rider capitalised for seventh, with fast Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) taking P8 and coming home as top rookie. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) took ninth and homed in on his pre-race goal of the top eight.
The battle to complete the top ten was another stunner. It was Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) who won it and who takes the spoils, but the Spaniard had to do some serious looking over his shoulder for another KTM: that of rookie Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3). The Portuguese rider has been notable in 2019 so far, but less than two tenths off Espargaro and two tenths off the top ten made quite an impression as he scored points for the first time.
The recovering Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) took P12, ahead of Crutchlow, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the points. And that’s all she wrote in Argentina. Now it’s time for chapter three at the Circuit of the Americas, traditionally Marquez territory. Can he rule the venue once again and increase his lead? Find out on the 14th April for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.
Cal Crutchlow saw his hopes of another podium finish in the Argentina Grand Prix scuppered by a controversial ride through penalty in Sunday’s race at Termas de Rio Hondo. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider – who won last year’s MotoGP event at the venue – again demonstrated his undoubted speed at the South American circuit, but lost any chance of fighting at the front of the field after being penalised for a jump start.
It appeared to be a very marginal call and the Briton, who was lapping in sixth after starting from eighth on the grid, re-joined down in 19th position. However, from that point, he showed what might have been as he lapped at the same pace as runaway winner Marc Marquez for the remainder of the race. In the end, Crutchlow claimed a points-finish in 13th, but unsurprisingly cut a frustrated figure afterwards.
Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda Team Principal): “I am absolutely disappointed with what the Race Direction have done with us today. The penalty that Cal got was tremendously hard and his movement at the start was irrelevant, really irrelevant. We’re talking about 1.5 or 2 centimetres, it’s really nothing. However, we cannot do very much, all we can do is put forward our opinion at the next committee meeting that the penalty for this kind of infringement is far too hard. There is no relation between the potential gain of a couple of a centimetres compared to the 30-second penalty you get doing a ride through. So we are really disappointed, but we have to look forward and I can’t wait to be in Texas.”
Cal Crutchlow – 13th
“First of all I want to thank my team for a great weekend and a positive race pace, I think we showed today that we would have been able to fight for the podium and probably would have had a good, safe second place. But we didn’t, the stewards said that I jumped the start, which I completely disagree with, as do my team, and we’re disappointed with this ride through penalty”.
“But we accept the situation, we had to do a ride through and then I rode the best job that I could for the rest of the race with a good pace. Now I have to continue to look forward to Texas where we’ll plan to do another good race.”
Repsol Honda MotoGP
Dominant Marquez takes first win of 2019 in Argentina, points for recovering Lorenzo
A 9.8 second victory for the untouchable Marc Marquez in Argentina as Jorge Lorenzo gains more points and crucial bike time.
Overnight rain in Termas de Rio Hondo didn’t deter the MotoGP field during morning Warm Up, both Repsol Honda Team riders running consistently in the top ten. Marc Marquez again finished on top, Jorge Lorenzo within a second and in 11th after the 20-minute session.
Forecasts were all proven wrong as the 25-lap Argentina Grand Prix ran without even a single drop of rain and instead the grid was met with ever-climbing track temperatures. A lightning start saw Marc Marquez convert his pole position into a one second lead after just a single lap, the reigning champion never once looking back. Lap after lap his advantage grew, Marquez over 12 seconds clear before the end of the race. Crossing the line 9.816 seconds ahead of second placed Valentino Rossi, Marquez claimed his first win of the season and his third win at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in untouchable style.
The victory was accompanied by Marquez’s biggest winning margin in a dry MotoGP race, his previous best coming at the 2016 Argentina GP (a gap of 7.679s) and is his 45th win in the premier class. Marquez leaves Argentina with 45 points and the championship lead.
Unfortunatley Jorge Lorenzo’s race got off to a difficult start as he dropped down to 21st from 12th after trouble getting off the line. However, consistent pace saw Lorenzo quickly return to points scoring positions and run at a pace similar to those fighting towards the front. Crossing the line in 12th, Lorenzo collects not only more points but also more race time on the Honda.
Honda now moves to the top of the Constructor’s Championship as a result of the victory.
The MotoGP World Championship prepares to travel to Austin, Texas for round three of the 2019 championship at the Red Bull Gran Prix of The Americas, April 12 -14. Marquez has won all six races at the circuit while Jorge Lorenzo has taken a pair of podiums previously.
“Today was a perfect day. I have been so concentrated since FP1 and everything worked well, just a tiny hiccup in FP4. But we kept pushing, pushing and in the race I knew that my strongest point was the first five laps. I put everything in and then I saw the difference, one second, two seconds, three seconds and then I settled into my rhythm and pushed a little less. I managed the tyres and the bike, it was a really sweet feeling with the bike.”
“First of all I want to say congratulations to the Repsol Honda Team and Marc Marquez for winning this race. Marc has been fantastic all weekend. In Warm Up we made quite a big step and I was able to be faster and I felt good for the race. Unfortunately we had some very unlucky things happen, at the start I hit the pit limiter and the bike wouldn’t go. When I realised I was at the back so I had to fight through, I was able to move forward but we can’t be happy with this result.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi saved the best for last at the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina weekend. He used his experience to cunningly make his move – a perfectly executed block pass – in Turn 7 of the very last lap, to take a superb second place. The final lap wasn‘t lucky for team-mate Maverick Viñales. Though his challenge wasn‘t all smooth sailing, he was looking competitive in the final stages of the race. He was lying in seventh place when another rider collected him on lap 25, resulting in an N.C. score.
Rossi had a strong start from fourth on the grid, held his position in the first corner, and shortly after moved up to second place. He aimed to prevent any riders from checking out at the front but didn’t succeed, as he fell back to fifth in the busy group. Not for long, though: he steadily worked his way back to second place to lead the chasing pack.
Despite running wide on lap 7, he quickly made up for the lost time. When he was back in second place a lap later, the crowds were on their feet. As Marc Marquez was already over 6s ahead thanks to the battles of the chasing group, the Italian focused on defending his position.
While the number 46 rider‘s tussles with Andrea Dovizioso for second place continued, the pair gradually broke away from the others. The Yamaha rider observed the riding style of his rival and perfectly picked the place and moment to pounce: on the last lap, in Turn 7, he put his YZR-M1 on the inside and made it stick. He crossed the line in second place 9.816s from first.
Viñales had a rocky start from second place on the grid, but was quick to slot into fifth, behind his team-mate. He made good on yesterday’s promise to ride aggressively in the opening laps, moving past Jack Miller for fourth before crossing the line for the first time. However, the moment was short-lived. The Spaniard was swamped in the busy bustle of the front group and fell back to eighth.
He wasn‘t taking it lying down, though. He earned back seventh place and pushed to the fullest to latch on to the group fighting for second. He was hanging in there but lost two positions as he ran wide with 9 laps to go.
Still Viñales didn‘t give up. He had ensured his soft-soft tyre combination would last for the entire 25-lap race-length, and now he was about to pick the fruits of his labour. With five laps to go, he overtook Takaaki Nakagami for eighth. He had to close a 0.9s gap next and managed to reach the back of the group in front. He soon found himself in seventh position, but on the last lap disaster struck. Another rider accidentally clipped the back of Viñales‘ bike, ending his challenge.
Today’s results see Rossi climb to 3rd position in the championship standings with a 10-point gap to second and a 14-point margin to first. Viñales is now in 11th place, with a 36-point gap to first. Yamaha is third in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP holds the same position in the team classifications.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action in two weeks’ time, when the MotoGP paddock touches down in the United States for the Grand Prix of the Americas, held at the COTA track in Austin, Texas.
“We are very happy and satisfied with this second place, though we are disappointed for Maverick. This weekend the team worked really well. We had some difficulties in FP1 and we were able to correct them and find solutions quite early on. This morning after the Warm Up, Valentino ultimately made the right decision for him, choosing the medium rear tyre. It has been a good team effort, so we really want to enjoy this second place. Maverick was feeling well on the soft tyres during Warm Up, so he decided to go ahead with them. However, already from the beginning of the race he was having difficulties when stopping the bike. We have to analyse this problem and try to understand it, because it’s a pity he couldn’t be as fast as this morning. To make matter worse, he was collected by Morbidelli on the final lap. It was a shame, but the most important thing is that both riders are OK. Still, the podium result is a good boost for us all and gives us good motivation for the next round.”
Rossi: “It’s been a long time – since Sachsenring last year – that I’ve been on the podium. This second place is especially satisfying, because at the last two races last year, Malaysia and Valencia, I was lying in first and second place, but I made some mistakes. Finishing the championship like that was very difficult to accept, so also for this reason this result is so important for me, my team, and Yamaha, after a difficult period. I’m so happy! I tried to stay in front, because I expected to be faster, but today with the increased temperatures I struggled a bit more. Dovi stayed in front of me and rode a very good race with a good pace. We were able to break away from the guys behind us and be on our own. In that moment I knew I had to be very precise on braking to take second place, without making any mistake of even 1cm, else Dovi would pass me again. At that moment I was riding good, I entered very fast. I’m happy because, first of all, overtaking on the last lap is always special, and also because I did very good on braking.”
“I saw the replay of the incident with Franco and it was nothing. It was the last lap and we all tried to be at our best, so it’s just one mistake, and it is what it is. Maybe at the next race I will make the same mistake, it’s something you can explain, it’s not a problem. The soft tyres were for sure the right decision, because in the first lap, though I didn’t start well, I was overtaking many riders, so finally at the end of lap 1 I think I was third or fourth. So that was not bad. But the bike wasn’t working perfectly, so we need to keep working and see if we can solve it for the next race. Honestly, I feel good at every track, we show good potential. It’s always in the race that we have an issue. When the bike is there, I’m always in the top-3.”
Andrea Dovizioso (3rd) claims yet another podium at the Argentina Grand Prix; strong comeback by Petrucci (6th)
The Mission Winnow Ducati team stepped on the podium once again today at Termas de Río Hondo (Argentina) with Andrea Dovizioso, third on the finish line. The Italian, who started from first row, dictated the pace within the group of riders fighting for the podium while chasing Marquez, and held second position for most of the race to fend off his rivals valiantly until the very last lap before facing a drop in tyre performance. Dovizioso’s third-place finish marks his second consecutive podium in 2019 after a thrilling victory in Qatar and puts him in second position in the championship, just four points behind the provisional leader.
Danilo Petrucci, who started from tenth position on the grid after a difficult qualifying session, mounted a strong comeback and climbed back up to fourth position before facing, like his teammate, a tyre drop in the final stages and finishing sixth.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 3rd
“I’m undoubtedly happy with the podium, which was our goal ahead of this round on a historically difficult track for us. On the other hand, I’m not particularly satisfied with how the rear tyre performed, because we couldn’t pull away towards the end of the race, which is the opposite of what we expected in light of what we’ve seen during practice. In the last lap, I couldn’t shake off Rossi or pass him back, it would have been too risky and 16 points are still very important for us. For sure, we collected some interesting data, which we’ll analyse in depth ahead of next race. Austin is yet another tricky track for us theoretically, so our goal in Texas will be to try to step once again on the podium.”
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 6th
“I’m happy because, after making some mistakes during qualifying, today we managed to give our best out there on track. Had I started a bit closer to the front, I probably could have fought for the podium until the very end, but I had to ask a lot to the tyres to climb back through the field and in the last couple of laps I was really struggling with the rear under braking, so I had to play defense. Still, I’m satisfied because we worked well here, improving day by day, and I want to maintain the momentum at Austin, where first and foremost I’ll need to be stronger in qualifying. Our goal is to ride constantly at the front and score points, which will be crucial in such a long season.”
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action at Austin (United States) for the third round of the MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for April 12-14.
Top ten breakthrough for Espargaro in Argentina
MotoGP 2019 Rnd 2 Circuito Termas de Rio Hondo (ARG) – RACE
A hot and humid Gran Premio de la Republic Argentina was the setting for Red Bull KTM to acquire their first top ten classification of the season thanks to the efforts of Pol Espargaro. In the Moto3 class Jaume Masia celebrated an emotional maiden victory from Pole Position as KTM filled the first two podium places in the class.
An initially unstable weather forecast turned out to be dry, hot and sticky for the second MotoGP race of the year at the fast and twisty Circuito de Termas de Rio Hondo. Pole Position holder Marc Marquez ran away to his first victory of 2019 but the rest of the MotoGP pack was quite tightly grouped.
Pol Espargaro started from 11th position on the grid and battled with his brother Aleix for space on the fringe of the top ten. A last lap crash between Maverick Viñales and Franco Morbidelli meant that #44 could profit from the accident and was just denied 9th place by his elder sibling on the last lap; taking his KTM RC16 to 10th position.
The Spaniard was chased by impressive Red Bull KTM Tech3 rookie Miguel Oliveira. The Portuguese produced a sterling performance to notch 5 championship points for 11th place in just his second outing in the premier class. Johann Zarco again collected the final MotoGP point for 15th spot while Hafizh Syahrin was not too far from the Frenchman in 16th.
Pol Espargaro: “Satisfied for sure. We got some points and we did a good race. We were fifteen seconds away from second place and it was a faster race than last year. We are closing the gap to the top guys but still missing grip in some conditions. I fought with my brother for that ninth position at the end but couldn’t make it happen. Anyway: an improvement from Qatar. The bike is getting better and I think on these tracks – Qatar, Argentina and Austin – we have been struggling in the past and we can see we are closing the gap and getting better and better. Miguel had a great race and we can see he was fast from the warm-up.”
Johann Zarco: “I struggled all the race and nearly hit Lorenzo at the beginning which almost put me in last place. I had a good feeling in the first eight laps but could not pass my opponents and then it began to be harder and harder to ride the bike. I used a lot of energy to get in the points and was passed by two riders and in the end was lucky to get 15th position. It is difficult to have these kinds of races. At the moment I cannot ride how I want but will work to the maximum with the team to adapt to this condition. Later we will have more things to work on. Pol and Miguel had a nice race so if I can at least get close to them or be the first KTM will be some satisfaction but to get near the top we’ll need to do some other things. I want to keep as positive as possible and I know that all what we are going through now will make me stronger in the future.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I’m truly delighted about this race. It’s nice to finish in the points, which was our target coming to Argentina. In the end, it was a good weekend with a good qualifying, we improved in our time attack, I felt good with the bike, so now it’s a week to rest and to come back to Texas, which is another track we need to discover with this bike but I’m quite pleased with my performance in Argentina, second KTM, very close to Pol, so I think we are on the right way.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “I’m very happy that we improved on our last race! Thank you very much to the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team because they all kept believing in me. I was fully motivated for the race, although the beginning was difficult. I’m satisfied because I was able to stick with Johann (Zarco), although we need to work on the rear. We finished very close to the points, but still far from the top. We need to learn, be patient and keep the motivation high.“
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “We know the category is very hard for each and every position and we are super-happy that Pol achieved this tenth place and also Miguel had an amazing race. Johann got into the points again: he is still not happy with the bike but we will keep on pushing to make a package where he can perform in the future. We will help him in all aspects. It was a positive weekend and we will go to Texas thinking about what we can do better. We also know that people are working very hard in the company and we are thankful for that. We are constantly getting parts and we will push all together to get consistently inside the top ten: this is the target. We are happy with tenth today but we were almost ninth.”
MOTOGP IN ARGENTINA
TOP TEN ONCE AGAIN FOR APRILIA WITH ALEIX ESPARGARÓ
ANDREA IANNONE SEVENTEENTH
With a courageous ride, skill and a bit of luck in the last part of the race, Aleix took his second top-ten finish in Argentina after the outstanding début in Qatar. On the starting grid with the soft rear tyre, Aleix stressed the rubber in the first part of the race, moving into tenth place and trying to stay close to the leading group. The gaps actually stayed quite close and the number 41 RS-GP kept Quartararo in its sights, thinking of attacking for better positions in the second half. Instead, tyre wear forced Aleix to ride the latter part of the race on the defence. Overtaken in the finale by his brother, Pol, he did not give up and took the position back on the final lap. Just as he got past him, a double crash gave him a nice ninth-place finish.
Andrea and his team, on the other hand, had to reckon with the same difficulties encountered on Saturday which had compromised their qualifiers. Starting from the eighth row, Andrea was never in the conditions to be able to make a comeback. He fought tooth and nail in a race that was certainly difficult, but which also constitutes another step forward in getting to know the bike for him and for his team.
“I cannot help but to be satisfied, especially if I look at the championship standings, which are what really counts anyway, because being ninth after two races is not bad at all. To be honest, I had hoped to do better, especially in the second part of the race. We were undecided about whether to use the medium or the soft and in the end we chose the soft, but just as I was thinking about going after Quartararo, I felt a clear drop in tyre performance. I started to have a lot of spin and it was impossible to maintain my pace. They were eight very difficult laps, but finishing ninth, even if there was a double crash ahead of me, is not bad at all. Until we are ready for better placements, it will be important to finish the races and collect points.”
“On this track, we struggled in a bit of a strange way, because our difficulties began when the grip increased. Usually, performance increases with more grip, so understanding this anomaly needs to be our primary goal. I’m not worried. I know what my potential is and I have faith in Aprilia’s work. Even today, if I had started a couple of rows farther forward, I would have been able to stay with the group, considering the fact that I lost a lot of ground on the straight without any slipstream.”
RINS MAKES BRILLIANT RECOVERY FOR FIFTH IN ARGENTINA
Team Suzuki Press Office – March 31.
Alex Rins: 5th (+ 12.563)
Joan Mir: DNF
• Alex Rins carves through for a superb Top 5 finish.
• Joan Mir forced to retire with rear grip issues.
• Team SUZUKI ECSTAR maintain positivity heading to Round 3.
The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina offered up a tense and excitable atmosphere on Sunday with its many passionate fans. Alex Rins and Joan Mir had a tricky task ahead of them after struggles in qualifying, but the determined duo showed improved pace in the morning warm-up.
As the lights went out, the track temperature rose to 41c and tyre longevity was set to play a key role in race management. A steady start from Alex Rins saw him hovering around the Top 12, whilst Joan Mir after a good start progressively dropped down to 17th in a couple of laps.
Highly motivated to take a strong result at one of his favourite tracks, Rins didn’t let up and continued a push through the field. The Spaniard had already gained six places on his grid spot after seven laps. After setting a best lap, Alex found himself fighting within the lead group with 10 laps to go. Keeping his head and riding smoothly, Rins fought his way towards podium contention and eventually took an excellent 5th place.
Meanwhile, rookie Joan Mir got away well but soon suffered with severe lack of feeling and grip on the rear tyre. As the 25 lap race neared its conclusion, Joan was forced to pull into pit lane, and he unfortunately retired from the Argentinian GP.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“Yesterday’s qualifying was a bit of a disaster for both our riders, but Alex recovered really well today and I’m very happy with his performance and the overall performance of the whole team. We had a good chance of a podium here, but given the circumstances we’re very pleased with 5th place. We are sorry that Joan wasn’t able to show his potential and could not finish the race. We’ll be back to fight again at the next race.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“In the end the race was very exciting with Alex, he made an unbelievable recovery and came very close to the podium once again. This time it was very difficult because of the grid position, but his result shows how competitive we can be. Alex turned a bad Saturday into a good Sunday. Unfortunately Joan suffered a problem with the rear tyre which we’re still investigating, he couldn’t ride properly or push. It’s a pity for him, but we’ll look forward to Texas.”
“The race was incredible, I didn’t make any mistakes which was amazing given how slippery and tricky the track was. I really need to improve my grid positions in the next races, so I’m aiming for better qualifying sessions because my starting position really cost me today. But I’m happy to bring home a Top 5 for myself and the team.”
“We’re still in the process of checking what happened today, but I didn’t feel good with the rear grip right from the beginning of the race. I made a decent start, and when I was behind Alex I was ready to try and go with him through the pack. It would have been good to learn from him and work together. This is the first time I’ve pulled into pitlane in my career, but I was really feeling something strange from the rear end.”