Vinales scores Back-to-Back winsl after Argentine MotoGP victory

  The second round of the MotoGP Championships saw Yamaha MotoGP debutant Maverick Vinales get the win, again, at the Termas de RIo Hondo Circuit. Vinales’ veteran team mate Valentino Rossi took second in the 25-lap race that saw Reigning champion Marc Marquez crash out from the lead. It was Vinales’ second win in the first two races of the season. The sprint race was certainly fast and furious as seven riders crashed out.

Having started sixth on grid, Vinales stormed off the line from the second row and soon muscled his way to third place, putting pressure on Cal Crutchlow in second and Marquez, the race leader. He attacked in turn 7 on lap 3 and soon after took over the lead as Marquez crashed out of the race on lap 4. Prior to the crash, Marquez had a lead of 2 seconds from Crutchlow. “The crash was unexpected; I must have made a small mistake, and it cost me a lot. Luckily I’m okay, but these kinds of mistakes disappoint me, as everything was going well,” Marquez said.

Vinales at the head of the order didn’t look back and put his head down to create a huge gap from the chasing pack. In the early stint, Rossi, who’s ran his 350th GP, went side by side with his team mate at the start while battling for sixth. He soon fell back but quickly dispatched Dani Pedrosa and Karel Abraham to get up behind his team mate in fourth. With Marquez crashing, Rossi took third spot behind the race leaders. Pedrosa, the only surviving Repsol Honda, moved up to fourth after overtaking Johan Zarco and Danilo Petrucci for fourth. His fast pace saw him record the second-fastest lap of the race on lap 13, in 1:39.740. However, a lap later, he crashed out at turn 2.

Sixteen laps from the end, Rossi closed up on Crutchlow as the riders behind them got involved in a scrap and were unable to match the pace of the three riders at the front. The Doctor had a comfortable margin of close to 5 seconds, allowing him to focus on the battle to come. The nine-time champion sized up the Brit carefully, choosing the best place and time to make a move. In the remaining seven laps, he made a pass on Crutchlow at turn 5 and made it stick. He followed it up with a couple of low 1:40 laps to inch away from Crutchlow, making it a perfect Yamaha 1-2, the first since the Grand Prix of Le Mans in 2016.

Vinales took the chequered flag rather unchallenged, and his achievement puts him as the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the season. This result also brings Yamaha‘s Grand Prix win tally up to 499 victories in total. The Spaniard now leads the riders standings with 50 points, closely followed by Rossi in second position with 36 points. Yamaha remains in the lead in the constructors‘ championship with a maximum of 50 points, while the Yamaha MotoGP Team lead the way in the team championship with 86 points, 59 points ahead of Yamaha Tech3 in second place.

Unfortunate Argentina GP for the Ducati team as both Jorge Lorenzo and Dovizioso crashed out and retired. Lorenzo, who was lining up on row 6 of the grid, powered away well as the lights changed but he crashed at the first turn after making contact with Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone and had to retire. His team mate also got away well from the fifth row, crossed the line at the end of lap 1 in ninth place and was then involved in a battling group made up of Alvaro Bautista, Danilo Petrucci, Pedrosa and Zarco until lap 15. The Italian, who at the time was lying in seventh place, was hit by the bike of Aleix Espargarò, who crashed at turn 5 and was also forced to retire.

The MotoGP contingent now heads for the Circuit of the Americas (COtA) in Austin, TX for round 3 in two weeks’ time.

2017 MotoGP Race of Argentina results

1 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA 25 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 41’45.060
2 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 20 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2.915
3 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR 16 LCR Honda Honda 3.754
4 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 13 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 6.523
5 ZARCO Johann 5 FRA 11 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 15.504
6 FOLGER Jonas 94 GER 10 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 18.241
7 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 9 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 20.046
8 REDDING Scott 45 GBR 8 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 25.480
9 MILLER Jack 43 AUS 7 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 25.665
10 ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 6 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 26.403
11 BAZ Loris 76 FRA 5 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 26.952
12 RABAT Tito 53 SPA 4 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 41.875
13 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 3 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 42.770
14 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 2 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 43.085
15 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 43.452
16 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 46.219
17 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 0 Ducati Team Ducati 11 laps

Riders standings
1 VINALES Maverick 50 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
2 ROSSI Valentino 36 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
3 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 20 Ducati Team Ducati
4 REDDING Scott 17 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
5 CRUTCHLOW Cal 16 LCR Honda Honda
6 FOLGER Jonas 16 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
7 MILLER Jack 15 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
8 BAUTISTA Alvaro 13 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati
9 MARQUEZ Marc 13 Repsol Honda Team Honda
10 ZARCO Johann 11 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
11 PEDROSA Dani 11 Repsol Honda Team Honda
12 ESPARGARO Aleix 10 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
13 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
14 BAZ Loris 9 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
15 ABRAHAM Karel 8 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati
16 RINS Alex 7 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki
17 BARBERA Hector 6 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
18 LORENZO Jorge 5 Ducati Team Ducati
19 RABAT Tito 5 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
20 ESPARGARO Pol 2 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
21 SMITH Bradley 1