Cal Crutchlow, riding for LCR Honda on a CASTROL RC213V took MotoGP victory yesterday for the third time in his career. He secured Honda’s 750th Grand Prix victory at the end of a thrilling battle with Frenchman Johann Zarco and Spaniard Alex Rins at Termas de Rio Hondo.
The Argentine Grand Prix was less successful for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), who had dominated practice and were both expected to be in the battle for victory.
Pedrosa started from the front row, only to fall on the first lap, following an incident with Zarco. Marquez started from the second row and rode at an astonishing pace but finished outside the points after suffering several penalties.
The second round of Grand Prix racing’s 70th season was certainly worthy of history – it was a thriller from start to finish. The 24-lap race got underway late, due to changing track conditions that caused 23 of the 24 riders to leave the grid to switch to slick tires. The race finally got underway on a track that was still damp in many places from earlier rain. Marquez took the lead on the second lap, riding at amazing speed, despite the treacherous conditions. However, he was given a ride-through penalty for a grid infringement, which dropped him out of the fight.
That left a four-way contest for the lead between Crutchlow, Zarco, Rins and pole-starter Jack Miller, who later faded to leave the other three swapping positions until the very end. Crutchlow rode a superb race, saving his tires at the back of the group and only pushing forward in the final stages, when each of the trio took turns in the lead. His winning advantage over Zarco was just 0.251 seconds, with Rins a further two seconds back.
This was the 32-year-old Briton’s third MotoGP victory, all with Honda RC213V machinery, following his successes in the 2016 Czech and Australian Grands Prix.