Marquez claims the win in Argentina – Miller fourth
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.
Marc Marquez saying, “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.”
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.
Valentino Rossi saying, “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.”
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.
Andrea Dovizioso saying, “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.”
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.
Jack Miller saying, “I am obviously satisfied with the result we achieved in Argentina, although I may have lacked some experience. I fought a lot with Petrucci and Morbidelli and this duel made me lose contact with the riders in front. All thing considered it’s okay because today we have learned a lot. We are working very well and for this I thank the team”.
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.
2019 MotoGP Argentina Race results
- Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team 41’43.688
- Valentino ROSSI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +9.816
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Mission Winnow Ducati +10.530
- Jack MILLER AUS Pramac Racing +12.140
- Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +12.563
- Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Mission Winnow Ducati +13.750
- Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU +18.160
- Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT +20.403
- Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +25.292
- Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +25.679
MotoGP World Standing 2019
- Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 45
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 41
- Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 31
- Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 24
- Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 20
- Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 19
- Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 16
- Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 13
- Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia SPA 13
- Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 10
Moto3: Masia masters Argentina for maiden Moto3 win
Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) took a stunning first win from his first pole position in the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, pitching it to perfection on the final lap to cross the line ahead of a stunning ride through the field for Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power), with Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers Team) completing the podium. It was the first visit to the rostrum for all three.
Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) took the holeshot from second on the grid as Masia slipped back a little from pole, with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) initially challenging the two and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) getting feisty at the front of the group. Feisty was the word for much of the race and the first few laps were no different, with most of the field locked in a long freight train shuffling for position.
A duel for the lead between Canet and Antonelli early on looked like it could see the two men break away but it wasn’t to be, and with 17 laps to go Masia struck back to take the lead. With 15 to go it was home hero Gabriel Rodrigo’s (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) turn to do the same, but the action ramped up another notch as the group battled it out – and Binder began to make his presence felt as he moved up the order.
With 11 laps to go it was attrition more than pace that was slowly whittling down the riders in the front group. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) came together and they both went down, also pushing Qatar GP winner Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) wide and the Japanese rider left with a gap left to make up. Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) crashed out not long after too, but the freight train would soon gain back another carriage as rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) was able to tag on – and Toba pushed and pushed to try and make it back onto the group.
As the last few laps appeared, the number 27 had made up the gap and was back in contention. With such a huge group all squabbling, it was clear by crunch time that it wasn’t only a battle for the lead but still a battle for points: more than 15 riders were still tagged together hammering around Termas de Rio Hondo.
Heading over the line to begin the last lap, Binder held on at the front but he had Dalla Porta for close company and it wasn’t long until the Italian muscled his way past. As they thundered down to Turn 5 Rodrigo struck to make his own move for the lead and Binder then attacked Dalla Porta in the shuffle behind; the Italian forced a little wide.
That was when Masia decided to strike taking over at the front through Turns 7 and 8 and ultimately not needing to look back. Keeping his cool, the Spaniard crossed the line for his first Grand Prix win and his first visit to the podium with just enough breathing space to avoid an attack from the chasing pack.
That wasn’t true of Rodrigo. Binder muscled through on the inside and the Argentinean suffered a huge wobble, somehow staying on but his podium hopes evaporating. The South African was able to complete his own fairytale race and take that second place and his first podium though, gaining a stunning 18 places from his starting position in the process. Arbolino, meanwhile, avoided the drama and swept through to take third and convert his top pace in preseason into a podium.
Antonelli took fourth after a solid race, with Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) concluding a quality Sunday with a top five finish and his best ever result in fifth. Rodrigo recovered from the last lap drama to take sixth ahead of another forced into a recovery as Dalla Porta crossed the line in P7.
Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) – arguably the author of the move of the race as he managed a three-in-one overtake for the lead at one point – took eighth, ahead of Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) and a top class fight back from Qatar GP winner and Championship leader Kaito Toba.
Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai), Canet and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) locked out 11th to 13th, with the final points taken by rookie duo Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team).
Somewhat surprisingly, it was Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) who was the first of the freight train to miss out on points, the former Argentina GP winner taking P16, with rookie Ogura just behind him. But that’s it from a high octane Termas de Rio Hondo, with Toba still with a slim points lead as we head to the Circuit of the Americas in two weeks.
Moto3 Argentina Race results
- Jaume MASIA SPA Bester Capital Dubai 38’54.562
- Darryn BINDER RSA CIP Green Power +0.108
- Tony ARBOLINO ITA VNE Snipers +0.295
- Niccolò ANTONELLI ITA SIC58 Squadra Corse +0.386
- Ayumu SASAKI JPN Petronas Sprinta Racing +0.519
- Gabriel RODRIGO ARG Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 +0.550
- Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA Leopard Racing +0.588
- Dennis FOGGIA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 +0.671
- Marcos RAMIREZ SPA Leopard Racing +0.792
- Kaito TOBA JPN Honda Team Asia +1.280
Moto3 World Standing 2019
- Kaito TOBA Honda JPN 31
- Lorenzo DALLA PORTA Honda ITA 29
- Jaume MASIA KTM SPA 25
- Niccolò ANTONELLI Honda ITA 21
- Darryn BINDER KTM RSA 20
- Aron CANET KTM SPA 20
- Marcos RAMIREZ Honda SPA 20
- Tony ARBOLINO Honda ITA 16
- Celestino VIETTI KTM ITA 13
- Ayumu SASAKI Honda JPN 11