Marquez Crashes Out As Rossi Takes The Win At Argentina GP

Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi makes the right tire choice and holds off Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez to take his 84th MotoGP victory.

Weather conditions were similar to the previous day of qualifying with sun shining and a track temperature of 37 degrees. The bikes were lined up on the grid and the third MotoGP race of 2015 was moments from a green flag. Despite this, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez along with CWM LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow both made a last-minute switch to the hard compound rear tire, while Movistar Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo went with the extra-hard option. This would prove to be a crucial decision later on in the race, as tire life would play a huge part in the final laps at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.

Aleix Espargaro leads the field into turn 1 at the start of the Argentina GP. He started in second place on the grid, which is the first front row start for Suzuki since Loris Capirossi was third fastest qualifier at Mugello in 2009.

It was Aleix Espargaro who led the pack into turn one on the Team Suzuki Ecstar, but it didn’t take long for Marc Marquez to make his move for the lead, passing the Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR almost immediately, with the reigning MotoGP World Champion going on to lead by 0.8s at the end of the first lap.

Marquez took advantage of his rear tire’s extra grip early on in the race, extending his lead to over 4 seconds. Meanwhile, Rossi was working his way through the field. “The Doctor” moved into 2nd place at the expense of Dovizioso on the Ducati Team GP15 with 15 laps to go.

Rossi then started hunting down Marquez as the Spaniard’s tire performance started to fall away, and it suddenly became apparent he would be able to catch the Honda.

Rossi shaved as much as a full second per lap from Marquez’s lead, finally catching him with three laps to go. Marquez was not going to let the Italian pass him without a fight though, and in the ensuing battle the riders touched. With less than two laps to go, Marquez clipped the back of Rossi’s bike and crashed out of the race. Marquez showed his frustration at the side of the track but Race Direction ruled it as a “racing incident” and took no further action.

This left Rossi on his own to take the victory by over five-seconds, and he admitted afterwards that the key to his success was not caring about Marquez’s tire choice, and just focusing on his own. He later discussed the incident with Marquez at the press conference: “When I arrive, it was a shame that he crashed, but for me he made a mistake because Marc is a rider who will always go all-in. When I braked he touched me once, then again, and then he crashed. It was a shame as it could have been a good battle to the end.”

Valentino Rossi qualified 8th on the grid, the same grid position from which he has taken his last three GP wins: at Phillip Island last year, at the opening race this year in Qatar, and now Argentina.

Marquez confirmed afterwards that he was okay after the crash, and that he chose the hard tire as it was the only way he felt he could beat Rossi. Talking about the clash with the Italian he said: “When he passed me, well, you can see what happened in the video. I love Valentino and it is always difficult to beat him. He is my hero and I always learn something when I ride against him.”

Andrea Dovizioso took advantage of Marquez’s crash to claim 2nd and now trails by six points in the Championship standings. Dovi later said that his team had worked on developing a setup that would allow him to be fast, but would also look after their tires, and he seemed pleased at the outcome: “I am very happy because to get so close to Valentino at the front is a dream come true, as the bike is very new, and we are second in the championship after a great start by Valentino. To be so close is amazing.”

Cal Crutchlow missed the Red Bull Argentina GP last year. He qualified in fourth place on the grid this year, his best qualifying since the Australian GP last year. A last-lap, last-turn move to pass Ducati Team's Andrea Iannone put Crutchlow on the podium in third place.

CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow left it until the very last corner to pass Andrea Iannone to claim the final podium place, managing to hold off the Ducati Team GP15 on the run to the line to take 3rd and finish as the leading satellite rider. He later revealed that Honda had developed a plan that involved the British rider trying to hold up the guys on the softer tire compound during the early part of the race, before coming on strong in the latter stages. “Unfortunately Marc crashed,” said Crutchlow, “and we benefitted and took the podium. This is racing. We fought hard all weekend long, I enjoyed it thoroughly and I think it paid off.”

Rossi’s teammate Lorenzo was off the pace, missing the podium again with a fifth place finish. Trailing nine seconds behind in 6th was the Satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike of Bradley Smith.

Aleix Espargaro ended the race in 7th, ahead of his brother Pol on the second Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike. Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing’s Scott Redding and the second Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR of Maverick Viñales completed the top ten.

Pramac Racing's Danilo Petrucci finished in 11th, but was later given a penalty point by race direction for causing Hiroshi Aoyama's crash on the final corner.

CWM LCR Honda’s Jack Miller took the Open class victory as he finished in 12th, just 0.075s ahead of Hector Barbera on the Avintia Ducati and Athina Forward Racing’s Loris Baz, with his teammate Stefan Bradl in 15th.

Yonny Hernandez earlier had a spectacular mechanical failure and had to retire from the race after his Pramac Racing Ducati caught fire on track.

Rossi now has a six-point lead over Dovizioso in the MotoGP World Championship standings and holds a 30-point advantage over Marquez.

RACE RESULTS

  1. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
  2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI
  3. Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) CWM LCR Honda HONDA
  4. Andrea IANNONE (29) Ducati Team DUCATI
  5. Jorge LORENZO (99) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
  6. Bradley SMITH (38) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
  7. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
  8. Pol ESPARGARO (44) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
  9. Scott REDDING (45) EG 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA
  10. Maverick VIÑALES (25) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
  11. Danilo PETRUCCI (9) Pramac Racing DUCATI
  12. Jack MILLER (43) CWM LCR Honda HONDA
  13. Hector BARBERA (8) Avintia Racing DUCATI
  14. Loris BAZ (76) Athinà Forward Racing YAMAHA
  15. Stefan BRADL (6) Athinà Forward Racing YAMAHA
  16. Nicky HAYDEN (69) Aspar MotoGP Team HONDA
  17. Eugene LAVERTY (50) Aspar MotoGP Team HONDA
  18. Mike DI MEGLIO (63) Avintia Racing DUCATI
  19. Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
  20. Marco MELANDRI (33) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
  21. Karel ABRAHAM (17) AB Motoracing HONDA
  22. Alex DE ANGELIS (15) Octo IodaRacing Team ART

NOT CLASSIFIED
Hiroshi AOYAMA (7) Repsol Honda Team HONDA
Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA
Yonny HERNANDEZ (68) Pramac Racing DUCATI

Aleix Espargaro leads the field into turn 1 at the start of the Argentina GP. He started in second place on the grid, which is the first front row start for Suzuki since Loris Capirossi was third fastest qualifier at Mugello in 2009.
Valentino Rossi qualified 8th on the grid, the same grid position from which he has taken his last three GP wins: at Phillip Island last year, at the opening race this year in Qatar, and now Argentina.
Cal Crutchlow missed the Red Bull Argentina GP last year. He qualified in fourth place on the grid this year, his best qualifying since the Australian GP last year. A last-lap, last-turn move to pass Ducati Team's Andrea Iannone put Crutchlow on the podium in third place.