MotoGP: Crutchlow wins amid Argentinian chaos

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Britain’s Cal Crutchlow took a dramatic victory in a chaotic Argentinian Grand Prix as World Champion Marc Marquez was handed no fewer than three penalties during the race.

Things got off to a tough start for those making the decisions as a short, sharp shower before the race led to most of the field heading to the grid on wet tyres.

However, with the track drying rapidly those riders would soon regret their decision.

Riders began to pull their machines off the grid ahead of the warm-up lap in order to change to their dry set-up machines. In the end, just polesitter Jack Miller was left on the grid having already decided to gamble on slick tyres.

With every other rider in pit lane, race direction delayed the start to the race. This would then spark fury from Pramac Ducati who argued Miller should not lose the advantage he’d have gained from making the right tyre choice in the first place.

After 20 minutes of deliberation it was decided that the Aussie would get a three-row head start and set off from pole positon with the rider in second starting P12 on the grid.

The drama wouldn’t end there, however, as Marc Marquez stalled his Repsol Honda on the grid. Instead of raising his hand as the rule book states, Marquez ran and bump started his machine before riding the wrong way up the track as he returned to his grid position.

The Spaniard, who led the race after chasing Jack Miller down on the opening lap, was later handed a ride through penalty for his bizarre actions.

It would then seem the red mist descended on the World Champion as he aggressively looked to fight through the field. After barging his way past Aleix Espargaro, leaving the Aprilia no room, he was instructed to drop a position but the aggressive riding didn’t stop there.

A similar move towards the end of the race saw Marquez collide into the side of Valentino Rossi, pushing the Italian on to the grass and off his machine leading to a further 30 second penalty from race direction moving him from his top six finishing positon to 18th and out of the points.

Meanwhile at the front the battle was on between Jack Miller, Johann Zarco, Alex Rins and Cal Crutchlow for the win.

A mistake from Miller in the closing stages saw him lose touch with the podium battle as experienced race winner Crutchlow looked to gain control.

Leading on to the final lap, Crutchlow had Zarco for close company but the Frenchman would be unable to make a move on the British rider, who’d go on to clinch his third premier class win.

Rins completed the podium for the Ecstar Suzuki squad ahead of Miller in fourth.

14 seconds behind the leading quartet was Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, who crossed the line fifth ahead of Qatar winner Andrea Dovizioso.

Tito Rabat was seventh for the Avintia squad with Iannone, rookie Syahrin and Danilo Petrucci rounding out the top ten. Rossi would finish 19th after re-mounting following the crash.

Crutchlow’s victory sees him lead the MotoGP championship standings by three points over Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco. Marc Marquez sits fifth. 


Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing