Pramac Racing's Miller shy of the podium in fourth.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) obliterated the opposition on Sunday at Argentina’s second round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship to take victory by over nine seconds, the reigning world champion beating Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati).
Marquez got an unthreatened hole-shot after a blinder of a start with second place Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) getting bogged down, allowing Dovizioso, Rossi and Australia’s Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) to get by the Spaniard.
With Marquez holding position off the line, it was a case of head and hammer down for the number 93 as he bolted to a one second lead on lap one, with that gap increasing to 2.4s after lap two as it soon became a race for second.
That race for second was fierce though as Dovizioso, Rossi, Miller, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) scrapped it out. But it was soon rostrum challenge over the Crutchlow as Race Direction gave him a ride through penalty for jumping the start – no repeat win or podium for last season’s Argentina GP victor.
Back at the front and on lap eight Marquez’ lead was stretched to five seconds as six riders all had their sights set on second, with Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Vinales joining the fray. Rossi eventually got the better of Dovi on lap nine after running in hot at turn five on lap eight after overtaking his compatriot, but the Ducati rider locked himself onto Rossi’s M1 tailpipes as the Italians locked horns in Termas.
It was ‘The Doctor’ who held the P2 baton at the halfway point, eight seconds from Marquez, with Dovizioso, Morbidelli, Petrucci, Miller and Vinales in tandem, with Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins creeping up to the rear of Vinales after making up ground from P16 on the grid, firmly tagging himself onto the back of the podium hunt with 10 to go.
Vinales then ran wide at turn five as he dropped behind eight place’s Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). With nine to go, a Noah’s Ark formation appeared as second to seventh were two-by-two, roughly half a second between the pairings. Dovi and Rossi locked together, Morbidelli and Petrucci interchanging for fourth with Rins and Miller engaged in battle.
Morbidelli soon found himself down in seventh though, Rins and Miller getting the better of him. Meanwhile, Marquez’ gap had opened up to 12 seconds. The group had closed back up again but with five laps remaining, Dovi and Rossi were edging out an advantage over the chasing pack, with Petrucci, Rins and Miller squabbling for fourth place. Both Rins and Miller getting the better of Petrucci at turn five with three to go.
Heading into the last lap it was Dovi leading Rossi. Both were clear of fourth, but which step of the podium would they be standing on? Dovizioso was able to keep second as the Yamaha had no match for the Ducati grunt down the straight, but ‘The Doctor’ sliced his way through on his countryman at turn seven.
A long way up the road, Marquez cruised round to take his first win of the season in scintillating fashion. A Marquez masterclass in Termas, with Rossi earning his first podium since the 2018 German GP. Dovi came home third, achieving his pre-race aims of a podium finish to head to Austin four points behind Marquez in the Championship.
Just behind, there was drama for two Yamahas on the last lap. Morbidelli tagging the back of Vinales at turn seven, the duo going down and out of contention. This left Miller holding fourth to repeat his 2018 Argentina GP result, with Rins climbing 11 positions from his P16 starting slot to earn fifth place. Petrucci takes away a second consecutive sixth of the season.
Nakagami makes it two top 10s from two in 2019 to come home seventh, with first of the rookies Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) picking up his first points of the year with a solid P8. The Espargaro brothers completed the top 10, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix heading Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol by 0.3. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) produced an incredibly impressive ride on his second premier class start to finish just 0.176s behind the factory KTM.
Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team), a recovering Crutchlow, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completed the points in Argentina.
In Moto2, Flexbox HP 40’s Lorenzo Baldassarri continued his perfect start to year a calculated ride to claim victory. The Italian eventually took the chequered flag over a second clear of Australian Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), who stood on the podium for the first time in his career.
The result comes almost 27 years on from dad Wayne’s last podium at the 1992 South African grand prix. American Racing KTM’s Iker Lecuona took fourth place ahead of Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP).
Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) won his first ever Moto3 race after taking a sensational victory in Argentina, the Spaniard holding off Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) and maiden podium position finisher Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) as the lightweight class treated us to yet another unbelievable race long scrap. Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) locked out the top five.
The MotoGP World Championship now heads to Circuit of the Americas on 14 April for round three of the series.