Joan Mir has won a brilliant tactical race in Argentina, to become the first Spanish rider to win back-to-back races since Alex Rins in 2014. With John McPhee finishing second, and Jorge Martin taking third, the podium is a carbon copy of the opening race in Qatar.
The three were part of a group of five riders who battled for the lead in the second half of the race. For the first half of the race, it looked like the finale would be a free-for-all, as a massive group of 21 riders were together at the front. Despite the size of the group, the faces at the front were familiar: McPhee and Martin were regulars in the lead, while Philipp Oettl, Aron Canet, and Fabio Di Giannantonio took their turns in front.
Joan Mir was quick to join in the lead, slicing his way through the field from 16th on the grid. He recovered six places on the first lap, and was leading the race by lap 7. Mir, McPhee, Oettl, Canet all swapped places at the front, while behind, Nicolo Bulega, Andrea Migno, Darryn Binder, Romano Fenati, and Livio Loi were among the chasers.
At the halfway mark, five riders had started to eke out a lead. Mir, McPhee, Martin, Oettl and Migno had around a second over the chasing group. When Nicolo Bulega barged into Fabio Di Giannantonio, wiping out the Italian and creating havoc in the group, the leaders gained another second, the gap soon growing to over three seconds.
That left five man to fight for the lead. Though there was nothing separating the five, Joan Mir led consistently, though never quite comfortably, but he appeared to have just enough of a margin to bring it home for the win. McPhee and Martin would not give up easily, however, the two battling it out along the back straight on the final lap, McPhee winning the right to challenge Mir for victory. The Scotsman came close, and was on the tail of the Spaniard entering the final couple of corners, but he was just a meter or two too far behind to attack with any chance of emerging safely on the other side. Mir took victory, ahead of McPhee and Martin.
The standings in the championship are now unchanged, though the gaps have opened between the top three. Mir now has a ten point lead over McPhee, who is eight points ahead of Martin in turn.
|21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Honda||9 Laps|
|48||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Mahindra||9 Laps|
|19||Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||10 Laps|
|23||Niccolò Antonelli||KTM||20 Laps|
*Nicolo Bulega was handed a 2 second penalty for causing Fabio Di Giannantonio to crash. As a result, his finishing position was amended, putting him 16th.