Rossi Beats Marquez as Sparks Fly in Argentina

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Valentino Rossi chased down Marc Marquez to win a gripping Argentine Grand Prix after a dramatic clash between the two at Termas de Rio Hondo. The series leader chased down the reigning champion in a tense conclusion before an overtaking manoeuvre on the penultimate lap sent Marquez tumbling and Rossi to a second win in three races.

The story in the build-up to the race was Marquez’s decision to choose the hard rear tyre while Rossi and several others opted for the extra hard. The polesitter’s decision looked to be paying dividends in the early stages as he scampered off into the distance while the Yamahas were busy trying to recover from their modest grid positions.

Rossi didn’t make any inroads on the opening lap but on lap six, he eased past teammate Jorge Lorenzo for second at turn seven but still had three riders between himself and the race leader. The factory Ducatis were dispatched in successive laps, each at the same corner, before Cal Crutchlow relinquished second at half distance but at this stage, Marquez was 4.1 seconds up the road.

Living up to his nickname, “The Doctor” rode with consummate precision to chip away at the deficit, initially taking a couple of tenths per lap before huge gains started to come in the final third of the Grand Prix as Marc’s tyre began to cry enough. With five to go, the lead had been slashed in half and as the relentless Rossi got quicker and quicker, Marquez was looking on borrowed time at the front.

With three remaining, the two were circulating together and at the start of lap 23, Rossi made his move at turn two. The Yamaha slid slightly wide allowing Marc to sneak back through but at the end of the back straight, Valentino would make it stick, not without a bit of contact though. Having dived up the inside into turn five, Rossi left the slightest of gaps on the exit which Marquez attempted to ride through but as the door closed, the pair collided with Marquez tagging the rear wheel and crashing into retirement.

Rossi was unaffected by the clash and cruised to victory with Andrea Dovizioso claiming a third straight second place. Andrea Iannone had previously overhauled Cal Crutchlow but the Briton fought back at the final corner to snatch the final rostrum spot while Jorge Lorenzo trailed home in fifth after failing to match the heroics of this teammate.

Bradley Smith came through to finish sixth ahead of the Espargaro brothers, Aleix beating Pol, while Scott Redding and Maverick Vinales completed the top ten.



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