Argentina Race Results Below:
Valentino Rossi -- who gambled that an extra hard rear tire was his eventual ticket to the front -- came up a winner in a thrilling MotoGP race that saw him carve away a five-second lead from Marc Marquez, pass him late and take the win, but not before a collision put the World Champion on the asphalt and out of the contest.
Andrea Dovizioso, who shadowed Rossi for much of the race, eventually succumbed to Rossi's relentless pace and finished second at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, his third second place in as many contests in 2015. Cal Crutchlow made a last-corner pass to swipe third from Andrea Iannone (4th). Jorge Lorenzo, who ran as high as second early in the race, finished fifth, a full 10 seconds behind his race-winning factory Yamaha teammate.
Rossi, who qualified eighth, extended his championship lead to six points over Dovizioso and a full 30 points over Marquez.
Bradley Smith continued his best MotoGP season with a sixth-place finish after qualifying in 10th. Aleix Espargaro, who has been surprisingly quick in practice and qualifying, secured his best finish of the season in seventh, giving the restarted Suzuki MotoGP team its second top-10 finish in a row. His brother Pol brought his satellite Yamaha in at eighth, in front of Scott Redding (9th) and the other factory Suzuki of Maverick Vinales (10th).
Early on, the race didn't appear to headed toward a gripping fight when Marquez opened a massive gap nearly immediately. Within one lap, he led by a second and within four, the two-time champion opened a three-second lead.
But Marquez, too, had gambled. He chose the hard rear tire -- the next softer option from Rossi's and Lorenzo's extra hard. The World Champion had decided to push the pace early and then manage the lead as his rear tire deteriorated from the heat and abrasive track surface. Initially, it seemed like a good plan when he extended his lead to four seconds with a third of the race completed.
Crutchlow claimed second from Lorenzo only to run wide and give the position to Dovizioso. Lorenzo's pace faltered and eventually he was passed by Rossi for fourth with 17 laps left.
Then Rossi started his charge.
He immediately dropped Lorenzo and upped his pace. His next lap was quicker than Marquez's who remained 4.3 seconds ahead. Rossi closed on the lead group, cutting the gap to Marquez to 3.4 seconds with 10 laps left. With eight laps to go, Rossi's pace of 1'39s put him a full second a lap faster and cut the Spaniard's lead to 2.7 seconds. Rossi passed Dovizioso but the Ducati rider initially hung right on Rossi's tail, getting dragged closer to Marquez.
With five laps to go, Rossi set a new course record, dropping Dovizioso in the process and closing within 1.2 seconds of Marquez. With each lap, he slashed more than half a second from Marquez's gap. But would there be enough time?
With two laps left, Rossi locked on Marquez's tail.
The World Champion and Austin race-winner refused to to go easy. Rossi passed the Honda and Marquez lunged inside bumping Rossi. Rossi again passed Marquez and got half a bike length in front when Marquez aggressively darted into to Rossi's bike. His front wheel thumped the right rear of Rossi's M1, immediately dropping Marquez's Honda to the track. Both the bike and rider slid off and an obviously agitated Marquez chased down his Honda but it was too damaged to rejoin the race.
Race direction declared the collision a no violation racing incident immediately following the race.
|14||2||76||Loris BAZ||Yamaha Forward||42.853|
|15||1||6||Stefan BRADL||Yamaha Forward||43.037|
|18||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||Ducati||43.808|
|22||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||ART||+1'08.444|
|7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||Honda||1 Lap|
|93||Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||2 Laps|
|68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||19 Laps|