Cal Crutchlow sealed his third MotoGP victory to wrap up a controversial weekend in Argentina across all three classes. The Brit managed the race to perfection to see off the competition from Johann Zarco and Alex Rins, who completed the podium places.
Despite a disappointing qualifying session, Crutchlow had been going well all weekend, and the Honda rider seems to always go well in Argentina. Crutchlow was a part of the leading group for most of the race, conserving his tyres as Zarco, Rins, and pole-sitter Jack Miller diced for the lead.
The LCR Honda rider hit the front with two laps to go, and managed to hold off pressure from Zarco to take the win.
If Crutchlow was the hero of the story, Marc Marquez was certainly the villain. The Spaniard was penalised on three occasions, including for knocking off Valentino Rossi in the final stages of the race.
The race started in controversial circumstances, as the hero of qualifying Jack Miller was the only rider to start on slicks on the drying track. However, just before the start, every other rider changed and jostled for position for their start from pit lane.
The race officials decided to delay the start of the race, and then allowed everyone to start from the grid, albeit from the fourth row back.
This decision obviously infuriated Miller, who was brave enough to chance the slicks while everyone else had stuck with the wets. His decisiveness and bravery was rewarded with nothing.
The chaos was not finished there, as Marc Marquez stalled his bike on the grid. Instead of following protocol, and starting from pit-lane, the Spaniard jump started his bike, and rode it back to his position.
This broke the rule of not riding backwards on the track, and Marquez was given a ride-through penalty, which saw him drop back to twentieth.
Dani Pedrosa crashed out on lap one, as he was forced on to the wet part of the track by Johann Zarco.
The front four soon broke away, with Miller leading from Alex Rins, Johann Zarco and Cal Crutchlow.
On lap nine, Marquez committed his second offence of the race. On the penultimate corner he forced his way past Aleix Espargaro when there was no gap there. Espargaro was forced off the track, and Marquez was told to drop a position by race direction.
Crutchlow made his move with eight laps to go, slipping under Zarco. Alex Rins had also ran wide, allowing the Brit to go up to second, and Zarco to follow in to third.
On lap 21 Marquez again took the spotlight, going for a gap that wasn’t there on the penultimate corner. This time the victim was Valentino Rossi, who crashed out of fifth. Marquez was hit with a 30 second penalty for “irresponsible riding”, which saw him drop out of the points to eighteenth.
This saw Maverick Vinales take fifth place, 11 seconds behind Jack Miller in fourth. Andrea Dovizioso took sixth, with Rabat, Iannone, Syahrin and Petrucci rounding out the top ten.
Jorge Lorenzo finished fifteenth after a dismal ride, and Valentino Rossi rejoined the race to finish nineteenth.
Scott Redding had a good race on the Aprilia, coming twelfth, but Bradley Smith crashed out with eight laps to go.
In the Moto3, Marcos Bezzecchi took a debut victory, with Aron Canet, the villain of FP1 coming second. John McPhee finished seventeenth. Mattia Pasini won the Moto2 race, with Danny Kent and Sam Lowes finishing twelfth and thirteenth respectively.
The next race takes place in Texas, at the Circuit of the Americas, on April 22.