Crutchlow scores 3rd MotoGP win in unexpected GP of Argentina race

  The challenging conditions continued for the riders at the Grand Prix of Argentina as none of the top runners finished on the podium. In fact, it was Cal Crutchlow who topped Johann Zarco and Alex Rins at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. It’s only Crutchlow’s third win in the premier class.

At the restart of the shortened 24-lap race, Reigning Champion Marc Marquez stalled his bike on the grid and it was Jack Miller who led Dani Pedrosa, followed by Zarco. Marquez came storming back to snatch third from Zarco, but was later penalized for a start infringement. In the early going, both Pedrosa and Zarco were neck-to-neck racing for position as the two touched. The collision sent the Repsol Honda rider wide as Pedrosa slipped and crashed out of the race.

Miller held the lead from Zarco, Rins and Crutchlow in the early stint. Marquez, who’s back on track, challenged Aleix Espargaro for a position, but had to yield to avoid another penalty. The race leader would lose the lead to Rins, with Crutchlow storming from the lead group to snatch the lead from Zarco. It was Crutchlow, Rins and Zarco in the top three.

Further back, Marquez who’s came back from the back of the grid challenged the two Yamahas of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi for position. Marquez had a close ‘unintentional’ duel with Rossi, which put the crowd into it. The Repsol Honda man got away and forced Rossi to the grass, on lap 20. As a result, Rossi was pushed way back the order. That clash would give Marquez an additional penalty of 30 seconds, which dropped him from fifth to 18th at the end of the race. “With Valentino it was different, as it was a consequence of the track conditions. I touched a wet patch, locked the front, and released the brakes. I tried to turn, again making my best effort to avoid contact. When he crashed I immediately apologised,” commented Marquez.

In the closing stint, Crutchlow held on to a comfortable lead from Zarco, who managed to overtake Rins earlier, with Miller fourth. The top four would remain until the conclusion of the race. Vinales was the highest placed rider from a factory squad with fifth place, while Ducati’s lead man Andrea Dovizioso was sixth fastest. “It was a really difficult weekend for us, but in the end we managed to take home some good points on a day in which we weren’t quick enough to fight for the podium. I’m happy with the way I managed my race, but in certain conditions and on certain tracks we must still improve because clearly we’re not quick enough,” said Dovizioso.

In the overall standings, Dovizioso is now lying in second place on 35 points, three behind the race winner and points leader Crutchlow.

It was a difficult race for Jorge Lorenzo, who started from row 5. The Ducati rider was never able to get a good feeling with these track conditions and he finished the Argentina GP down in fifteenth place. Rossi recovered from a near fall to finish 19th, not one of his best race.

MotoGP will next be back on track in a fortnight’s time in the United States, at the modern Circuit of the Americas facility near Austin, Texas.

2018 MotoGP Argentina results

1 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 170.4 40’36.342
2  Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 170.4 +0.251
3  Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 170.2 +2.501
4  Jack MILLER AUS Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 170.1 +4.390
5  Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 169.3 +14.941
6  Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 168.8 +22.533
7 Tito RABAT SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 168.8 +23.026
8 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 168.7 +23.921
9  Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 168.7 +24.311
10  Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Alma Pramac Racing Ducati 168.6 +26.003
11  Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 168.2 +31.022
12  Scott REDDING GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 168.2 +31.891
13  Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 168.1 +32.452
14  Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 167.5 +42.061
15  Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati 167.5 +42.274
16 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Angel Nieto Team Ducati 167.5 +42.625
17 Thomas LUTHI SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 167.4 +43.350
18 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 169.4 +43.860
19 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 166.8 +52.082
20  Karel ABRAHAM CZE Angel Nieto Team Ducati 166.0 +1’03.944

Riders standings
1 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 38
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 35
3 Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 28
4 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 21
5 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 20
6 Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 19
7 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 17
8 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 16
9 Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 16
10 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 15
11 Tito RABAT Ducati SPA 14
12 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 9
13 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha MAL 9
14 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda ITA 6
16 Scott REDDING Aprilia GBR 4
17 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 3