Marc Marquez has taken the early lead in the MotoGP world championship after a dominant victory in a wild Argentine Grand Prix at Termas de Rio Hondo. Concerns over tyre life saw flag-to-flag rules enforced and after withstanding pressure from Valentino Rossi prior to his bike change, Marquez escaped in the second half to take a comfortable win.
Morning rain ruined any opportunity for the riders to test out the new safety tyre brought in by Michelin and the decision was taken to run the slicks that were previously withdrawn after qualifying. With concerns remaining over their safety, the race distance was shortened from 25 to 20 laps with a mandatory bike change between laps 9 and 11.
The mayhem ensued from the moment the red lights went out with Andrea Dovizioso leading from Rossi, Marquez and Maverick Vinales but the polesitter was lucky to continue after a desperate dive from Andrea Iannone came within inches of wiping him out at turn one. Jorge Lorenzo trailed the leading group in sixth and fell back dramatically but the situation deteriorated even further on lap six when the world champion crashed out at turn one.
Dovizioso was shuffled back to third on lap four by Marquez and Rossi with the two arch-rivals easing away from the Ducatis as half-distance approached. Valentino briefly edged ahead on a couple of occasions only for Marquez to regain the lead but the bike changes on lap ten would prove decisive with Marc gaining two seconds in the pitlane.
Rossi would see no more of the Repsol Honda with the Italian struggling badly on his second machine and soon he was coming under fire from Vinales who had passed the factory Ducatis. With Suzuki staring at a podium finish, Maverick touched a wet patch at turn one with three laps to go, sliding out of third place. The Ducatis were next to close in on the fading no.46 Yamaha and the power of the Desmosedici GP saw both riders breeze past, Dovizioso mugging Iannone for second in the process, but Rossi would receive a huge slice of luck at the final corner as Iannone skittled out his teammate, promoting ‘The Doctor’ back into second.
The final rostrum position was inherited by Dani Pedrosa who benefited from a mechanical problem which eliminated Scott Redding moments after overtaking the second Honda, while Eugene Laverty claimed a sensational fourth after overtaking Hector Barbera at the last bend, both having taken advantage of an error from Pol Espargaro within sight of the flag. Pol ended up in sixth ahead of Stefan Bradl’s Aprilia while Bradley Smith recovered to eighth after a disastrous opening lap which dropped him to the back of the field.
2016 Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina (Race Result)
|1||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||34:13.628||25|
|2||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+7.679||20|
|3||26. Dani PEDROSA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+28.100||16|
|4||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||+36.542||13|
|5||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+36.711||11|
|6||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+37.245||10|
|7||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+41.353||9|
|8||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+50.709||8|
|9||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+50.983||7|
|10||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+1:01.388||6|
|11||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+1:08.868||5|
|12||50. Michele PIRRO||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+1:18.987||4|
|13||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||+1:33.419||3|
|NC||29. Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||Ducati Team||+1 Lap|
|NC||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||+1 Lap|
|NC||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+3 Laps|
|NC||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+5 Laps|
|NC||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+8 Laps|
|NC||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+15 Laps|
|NC||43. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+17 Laps|
|NC||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||+18 Laps|