Maverick Vinales struck a sizeable early blow in the MotoGP championship battle with victory in the Argentine Grand Prix at Termas de Rio Hondo. The Spaniard capitalised on a crash for defending champion Marc Marquez to win his second race in succession, leading team-mate Valentino Rossi in a Movistar Yamaha 1-2.
The race looked to be in the palm of Marquez’s hand after he aced the start, leading away from Cal Crutchlow with the factory Yamahas gaining three spots each off the start line to run third and fourth. The race had already lost Jorge Lorenzo though with the Ducati rider tripping over Andrea Iannone at turn one, bringing his appalling weekend to a premature finish.
Vinales soon got the better of Crutchlow for second on lap three but within seconds, the Spaniard was promoted into the lead when Marquez lost the front end of his Honda under braking for turn two. His team-mate Dani Pedrosa would suffer a near-identical accident later on but that would serve as scant consolation for Marc who was out on the spot.
With Vinales easing away in front, the focus shifted to the battle for second between Crutchlow and Rossi and the fight ultimately swung The Doctor’s way seven laps from home, Rossi winning the battle on the brakes into turn five. The Briton still held onto third though for his first podium since winning in Australia last October.
Fourth would go to an inspired Alvaro Bautista who closed within six seconds of the lead on the medium compound Michelin tyre while Tech 3 duo Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger capped a dream day for Yamaha with fifth and sixth, aided by a collision between Aleix Espargaro and Andrea Dovizioso which eliminated the pair.
Danilo Petrucci took seventh after running as high as fourth while team-mate Scott Redding followed him home in eighth, climbing to fourth in the championship as a result. Jack Miller continued his promising start to 2017 with ninth with qualifying hero Karel Abraham completing the top ten.
2017 Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina: Race Result
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