MotoGP™ 2018 - Argentina - Crutchlow wins
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) was first past the flag in Termas Rio Hondo, Argentina, home of the second round of the 2018 MotoGPTM World Championship. The South American thriller saw Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) join him on the podium.
The Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina produced plenty of drama. Most of the riders opted for MICHELIN Power Rains, but Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), who had qualified on pole for the first time at MotoGP level, went for medium MICHELIN Power Slicks – the same as his choice for qualifying.
As the track dried, Miller’s opponents pitted for slicks, leaving the Australian alone on the grid. The green light was ultimately delayed by 20 minutes for safety reasons and the race distance was shortened from 25 to 24 laps, with all but Miller starting from the back of the grid.
With seconds to go, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) stalled and performed an unauthorised manoeuvre to fire up his engine again. After qualifying in sixth position, the world champion got away well and successfully eased into the lead on Lap 2 but, five laps later, he was handed a ride through penalty. That relegated him to 19th place and put Miller back in command.
The Australian was closely shadowed by Rins, Zarco and Crutchlow, and he and Rins effectively traded the lead several times before Crutchlow took control for the first time on Lap 18, with Zarco tucked in behind.
Two laps later, it was the Frenchman’s turn to appear in front, but Crutchlow recovered top spot three laps afterwards and went on to claim his third MotoGPTM victory.
Zarco and Rins posted their best results to date at MotoGP level by clinching second and third places. They also made it two independent team riders and three different makes in the top three.
Miller ended up fourth, chased over the line by Marquez. While fighting his way back up to fifth, however, the Spaniard had forced Valentino Rossi into a mistake and was relegated to 18th place because of a 30-second penalty dished out after the finish.
Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) consequently inherited fifth, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team). Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing), Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Hafizh Syarhin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) rounded out the top 10.
Crutchlow now tops the provisional Riders’ standings on 38 points, followed by Andrea Dovizioso (35) and Zarco (28).