2017 Argentina MotoGP Race Results: Turn 2 Crashes Make Winning Look Easy

Maverick Viñales has added another chapter to the history books, taking victory in Argentina. He becomes the first rider to win the two opening rounds of the premier class after switching teams since Kenny Roberts Jr in 1999, and most remarkably, he becomes the first Yamaha rider to win the opening two rounds since Wayne Rainey in 1990.

A win looked a very distant prospect at the start of the race. Marc Marquez got the holeshot, and exploiting a setup change they found in the warm up, the Repsol Honda rider started to put a second a lap into the opposition. Cal Crutchlow made it two Hondas in the top two, unable to follow Marquez but easily holding off Viñales and Valentino Rossi for the first couple of laps. 

There was drama behind the leaders in the very first corner. Andrea Iannone got a jump start, then closed his line into the space where Jorge Lorenzo was trying to put his Ducati, Lorenzo's front wheel hitting Iannone's rear wheel, the Spaniard crashing out in the first corner. It was a typical racing incident, the kind of first corner clash that happens in mid pack, when two riders are aiming for two different lines through a tight space. The intersecting lines ended in the gravel for Lorenzo. But Lorenzo would not be the last rider to crash out of the race in Argentina, though.

At the front, Viñales disposed of Cal Crutchlow on lap 3, and went in pursuit of Marquez. But the Repsol Honda rider had pulled a gap of over two seconds by now, so the Yamaha man had his work cut out for him. On lap 4, Marquez threw all his hard work away by crashing on the entrance to Turn 2, the front end washing away as he tipped it in on the brakes.

That handed Viñales the lead, and the Spaniard immediately seized the opportunity. He quietly upped the pace, inching away from Crutchlow and Rossi as the laps clicked off. Though the gap grew slowly, taking until lap 8 to exceed a second, there was little Crutchlow or Rossi could do to resist. Viñales powered to a comfortable win, and a considerable margin in the championship.

Though first place went unchallenged, second would be a settled in a tense duel between Crutchlow and Rossi. Crutchlow held the upper hand for most of the race, but he had to contend with a stalking Rossi throughout. On lap 19, Rossi struck, sliding up the inside at Turn 5, and holding on to take second. It was Crutchlow's turn to stalk, but the LCR Honda rider could never get close enough to pounce. After a string of DNFs, the Englishman settled for third.

Rossi's second place was a remarkable achievement for the Italian. To end on the podium on his 350th Grand Prix start is a peerless feat, and marks the drive, ambition, and sheer talent of the veteran Italian.

If the battle for podium places played out in slow motion, the fight behind was a good deal more hectic. A group consisting of Dani Pedrosa, Alvaro Bautista, Danilo Petrucci, and Johann Zarco were fighting it out for fourth, with no clear favorite early on. Danilo Petrucci led the group early, but he was holding the rest of them up. 

Zarco and Pedrosa worked their way past first, then Pedrosa passed Zarco and started to open a gap. But disaster struck for the Repsol Honda rider in the same place as his teammate, Pedrosa losing the front end as the bike got unsettled over the bumps on the exit of Turn 1 and he started to brake for Turn 2. 

That left the fight for fourth in the hands of Zarco and Bautista. Zarco put up a stout defense, but he was burning up his tires in the attempt, smoke streaming off them as he spun them up parrying Bautista's advances. Bautista went on to take a superb fourth place, ahead of Zarco and his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Jonas Folger, who had closed in on Zarco in the final laps. Petrucci finished in seventh, while Scott Redding took eighth after a major battle with Jack Miller and Karel Abraham.

Lorenzo, Marquez, and Pedrosa were not the only factory fallers. Andrea Dovizioso missed the corner at Turn 5, and distracted Aleix Espargaro behind him, who then lost the front and wiped the pair of them out. Espargaro, a true gentleman, then went over and apologized and comforted Dovizioso. Alex Rins also fell on the Suzuki, then remounted, but had to withdraw because of the pain. Sam Lowes had to withdraw with a gearbox problem.

The crashes allowed both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith into the top 15, meaning the two KTM riders both scored points for the Austrian factory, the first of the season.

Viñales' victory and the crashes by Dovizioso and Marquez leave the Movistar Yamaha rider comfortably ahead in the championship. He has a 14 point lead over his teammate Valentino Rossi, while Dovizioso is in third, 30 points adrift. Defending champion Marc Marquez is in eighth, 37 points behind Viñales.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 25 Maverick Viñales Yamaha 41'45.060
2 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +2.915
3 35 Cal Crutchlow Honda +3.754
4 19 Alvaro Bautista Ducati +6.523
5 5 Johann Zarco Yamaha +15.504
6 94 Jonas Folger Yamaha +18.241
7 9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati +20.046
8 45 Scott Redding Ducati +25.480
9 43 Jack Miller Honda +25.665
10 17 Karel Abraham Ducati +26.403
11 76 Loris Baz Ducati +26.952
12 53 Tito Rabat Honda +41.875
13 8 Hector Barbera Ducati +42.770
14 44 Pol Espargaro KTM +43.085
15 38 Bradley Smith KTM +43.452
16 29 Andrea Iannone Suzuki +46.219
Not Classified
  4 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 11 Laps
  41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 11 Laps
  26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 12 Laps
  22 Sam Lowes Aprilia 14 Laps
  42 Alex Rins Suzuki 14 Laps
  93 Marc Marquez Honda 22 Laps
  99 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati 0 Lap

 

Round Number: 
2
2017
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Comments

Couldn't disagree more with your assessment on that incident... it looked like Lorenzo rode into the back of Ianonne, sure Ianonne is no saint, but I don't think he has any blame in this one whatsoever.

Perhaps I worded it badly. I certainly wouldn't apportion blame there. My point was that the two bikes were on intersecting lines, Iannone was cutting across towards the inside, just as Lorenzo put his front wheel there and was starting to drift wide. It was a racing incident, nothing more.

If anyone is to blame, it is both of them for qualifying so badly. When you are in mid pack, it becomes a great deal more difficult to navigate your way past the throng all trying to pack into the first corner.

EDIT: I've updated that paragraph to make my meaning clearer.

I thought it read as if you were saying Ianonne cut him up, was definitely an unfortunate crossing of paths.

How could you blame Ianonne for Lorenzos mistake ?  That one was purely down to Lorenzo and nobody else.

I don't think I've enjoyed a rider's flamboyant style as much since Garry McCoy.  I know it uses up the tyre, but oh my!

Pity the director didn't give us more of the dice between Zarco, Bautista, Pedrosa et al, as the snippets we did get to see were exciting, instead we got regular shots of Vali shadowing Cal with sometimes up to 6 tenths between them. 

Good result for Vinales, Rossi and Cal.

I like Cal, but I cringe everytime a microphone gets put in front of him in post race pressers.....

"for sure, I was faster than Vale today...... it was quite easy following him.... i could have caught Vinales...... I could have fought for the win......
But I had a warning light come on...... then it went away... then it came back on..... So I had to settle."

Boulderdash!! Every other race you are prepared to throw it in the weeds and destroy the bike, but an engine light comes on and all of a sudden you are cautious?  riiiiiiggggghhhhtt.

Please Cal, stop with the "I could haves".  Its getting very tiring.

was fuel consumption.  Cal was trying (not very successfully) to not say what the warning was but his boss had already givien the game away.  So no matter what the rider dd the bike was cutting itsef back to make it to the end of the race.  It wrecked the last three laps as a spectical, robbed us of a fight between Rossi and Crutchlow for second and another lap longer would have seen Bautista on the podium.

The point being Yamaha have cleary got their electronics in a sweet spot and Honda still have some work to do to match the control ecu to the new big bang engine.   

So yes, on this particualr occassion if the electronics were sorted 'I could haves' may have been 'would haves'.    

Whilst CC has talked his share of nonsense over the years its unfair to take everything he says with a pinch of salt, the guy was riding well all weekend and was held back by his machine this time.  

but I, too, kind of cringed a bit during his parc ferme interview.  In the heat of the moment, he came across as fairly disrespectful toward the men who beat him.

To be fair to Cal, I understand the frustration of a satellite rider on a notoriously difficult to ride bike barely losing out to the two spoiled rich kids (figuratively) on perhaps the most well sorted machinery in the paddock.  That being said, every bike on the grid has to use the same amount of fuel.  If it was fuel consumption that was holding Cal back, it's not a given that unlimited fuel would have given him the "easy" win he imagines it would have, as both Yamahas would also have unlimited fuel and therefore might have been able to go faster themselves.  I think where Crutchlow's upfront style starts to get abrasive is when he seems to suggest that the only thing preventing him from winning is that he's handicapped far more than the other riders on the grid.  When we all know that every rider out there is dealing with their own set of particular challenges in every session (Rossi with the front tire, Lorenzo with the new bike, Zarco with finding room on that tiny bike for his gigantic balls...).

Anyway, I don't think the last chapter has yet been written for this season.  That Honda is still in pretty decent shape, all things considered.  If they're this close with basically a brand new engine, I can see a late run of dominance once they get the electronincs and chassis sorted out.  Oh, and I thought Cal walked back his stance the perfect amount in the presser.  I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and think that how he expressed himself in the presser is more how he meant to come across in parc ferme.

Good points well made;

On a very positvive note to end, watching Folger in the last few laps with his rear end all over the place was a joy.  Whilst everyone is raving about Zarco the other Tech3 rider is showing he has a pair just as big as his team mate.  :)

If Rossi had more confidence with the now larger profile front tyre, he would have overtaken and gapped CC earlier and probably might have even fought with MV for a win... That he is able to create a day-night difference between his practice and race performances is astonishing.

Cal wasn't the only one with fuel problems. Wasn't Ianonne shown walking back to the pits after running out of fuel on the slow down lap ? 
Dovi was talking about having about 8 different maps to play with at the begining too.
Were some of the maps for fuel consumption ?
A fuel hungry track with the new specs and latest motors ?