MotoGP: Marquez destroys the field to romp to victory in Argentina

Discussion in 'Racing' started by Simon, Apr 1, 2019.

  1. Simon

    Simon Professional storyteller
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    Mar 25, 2015
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    Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez 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 Spaniard said: “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.”

    Marquez took the holeshot from pole as Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso pounced for second, with Yamaha's Maverick Viñales losing out from the middle of the front row and Valentino Rossi leapfrogging his teammate. Marquez immediately pulled the pin to make a gap, with Rossi soon attacking Dovizioso.

    Pramac Racing's Jack Miller was next to go on the offensive as he dived past Rossi, but the move didn’t stick, with LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow getting past Viñales to tag onto the Australian. Chopping and changing, Ducati's Danilo Petrucci was next to attack the #12 Yamaha in the melee – before Miller took Rossi, with Petronas Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli trying to get 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 penalty for jumping the start. That took him out of the battle as Dovizioso, Miller and Rossi found Morbidelli back on their tail and Rossi pounced on Dovizioso just as Morbidelli pounced on Miller in turn. 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, all fighting it out for the podium.

    As the laps ticked on the Dovizioso-Rossi battle lit up and started to pull away from the pack behind. Dovizioso blasted down the straights, Rossi made the most of the Yamaha's strengths in the corners; the duo trading positions at times but able to stay ahead of the battle that now included Suzuki's Alex Rins 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 stalked his prey for the first half of the lap, but at Turn 7 he pounced 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; resulting in Rossi returning to the podium for the first time since the 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.

    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 took an incredible fifth after gaining 11 places, with Petrucci ultimately dropping into the clutches of Viñales and Morbidelli. Viñales attacked Petrucci, Petrucci held him off and the two Yamahas behind then came into contact, Morbidelli riding into the back of the factory bike and sending both riders crashing out, allowing Petrucci to take sixth.

    LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami took a week deserved seventh, with Fabio Quartararo piloting his Petronas Yamaha to a credible eighth, finishing top rookie. Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro took ninth ahead of KTM's Pol Espargaro in tenth, with Tech 3 KTM's Miguel Oliveira taking 11th,

    Repsol Honda's Jorge Lorenzo finished a disappointing 12th, ahead of Crutchlow, Francesco Bagnaia on the Pramac Ducati and Johann Zarco on the factory KTM.

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