2019 Argentina MotoGP Race Result: A Tale of Two Races

Marc Marquez grabbed the holeshot, extended his lead within two corners and never really needed to check his pitboard again as he charged his way to victory Sunday at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. So dominant was his win that Marquez was two-seconds up on the field within two laps and eventually expanded the gap to nearly 15 seconds before relaxing into a nine-second win at the line.

The victory puts Marquez into the championship lead with the next event in a country and on a track, the USA's Circuit of the Americas, where he's never lost a race.

The other race, the one involving the rest of the field, wasn't fully decided until the final lap when Valentino Rossi sliced his way inside at Turn 7 to win a race-long battle for second with Andrea Dovizioso, relegating the Qatar race-winner to the final podium spot. Jack Miller, fast all weekend, seized fourth just in front of Suzuki's Alex Rins (6th). Rins, who started the race in 16th, had steadily cut his way through the field as the race progressed.

Danilo Pertucci finished sixth after a mid-race fight with Miller, Franco Morbidelli and Maverick Vinales. But behind the factory Ducati rider on the final lap, the finishing order changed suddenly when Morbidelli clipped the rear of Vinales' Yamaha, sending both into the gravel with half a lap to go. The late crash moved Takaaki Nakagami into seventh followed by Fabio Quartararo (8th), Aleix Espargaro (9th) and Pol Espargaro (10th).

THE RACE

Marquez's Honda got the perfect start to the race immediately pulled two-bike lengths on the field by the time the pack reached tight, slow Turn 1. A clustered group of Dovizioso, Rossi, Miller and Cal Crutchlow pushed through the first bend and into a battle for second place. Within a lap, however, race direction flagged Crutchlow for a jump start and ordered him to take a ride-through penalty, ending the factory Honda rider's podium hopes.

Within half a lap, Marquez's pace put him well clear of the field. Within three laps in, he was consistenty running a full second faster every lap than the chase group. But behind him, the fight for second was heating up.

As the laps ticked away, Rossi and Dovizioso settled into a pattern that proved predictive of the race's final outcome. Coming out of Turn 4 and onto the back straight, Dovizioso would power by Rossi's Yamaha and open a gap that Rossi could not answer in tight Turn 5. But two corners later at Turn 7, Rossi would slip inside the Ducati for a block pass. Rossi's better corner speed would keep the faster bike at bay until the back straight arrived again. 

With 10 laps remaining, Rossi's and Dovizioso's back-and-forth kept the second-through-eighth chase group tightly bunched. This greatly helped Rins, who started from the fifth row, as he began his run toward the front group. Rins was by now turning laps two-tenths of a second faster than the rest of the chase group as he closed in.

But Dovizioso's and Rossi's pace eventually proved too much for the rest. With two laps remaining the pair, with Dovizioso now in front of Rossi, opened a two-second gap on the group behind them. In that pack, Rins, Miller, Petrucci, Vinales and Morbidelli battled for fourth place. Miller with slightly more than one lap to go, took fourth from Rins.

On the final lap, Rossi slipped past Dovizioso in Turn 7 to seize second place for good, ending his 11-race podium drought. Just as Rossi made his move, the two other Yamahas in the top 10 crashed out when Morbidelli clipped Vinales' rear wheel at Turn 5. 

Marquez now leads the championship with 45 points to Dovizioso's 41. Rossi sits in third with 31 points.

Result:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 41'43.688
2 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +9.816
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +10.530
4 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +12.140
5 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +12.563
6 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +13.750
7 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +18.160
8 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +20.403
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +25.292
10 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +25.679
11 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +25.855
12 99 Jorge LORENZO Honda +27.497
13 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +31.398
14 63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +32.893
15 5 Johann ZARCO KTM +33.372
16 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +35.545
17 29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia +38.238
    Not Classified    
  12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 1 Lap
  21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 1 Lap
  36 Joan MIR Suzuki 4 Laps
  53 Tito RABAT Ducati 10 Laps
  17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 11 Laps
Round Number: 
2
2019
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Total votes: 36

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Comments

Unless Yamaha finds some grip, or Gigi hasn't unleashed Ducati's full technical might yet, it's not apparent to me that anyone can challenge the Marquez / Honda combo.  Honda had a huge technical advantage in 2014, and may have a small but still significant one this year.  Given their apparent horsepower parity or possibly even advantage (!) compared to Ducati, I don't see Dovi or Petrucci challenging.  They are fine riders, but Marquez is an obvious genius, and Honda seems to have found the plot this year.

The Yamaha HP or acceleration deficit is almost outrageously bad, but it made for a great fight with Ducati.  Rossi is a true marvel.  My god, he's 40 years old on probably the 3rd best bike (Suzuki is looking awfully racy these days, though), and we get this.

Too bad for Crutchlow.  A minor technical violation, he got screwed.  Marquez likely would be down one and maybe 2 championships if the law were enforced so vigorously for all riders.

Total votes: 41

I hear you re discouragement re the gap behind Marquez. I REALLY like Dovi, and unfortunately agree that Marc has something he doesn't. And won't. It hurts a bit to say it. We have a few kids that may have it. Bagnaia sticks out for me. I found myself hoping his chain popped today rather than Saturday, and this isn't a comfortable thought. Petrucci had a good race. But I don't feel excitement or hope for him making a next step. Then again, I didn't see Dovi coming either.

Rossi! Great race. As you say, especially with that spinny underpowered Yamaha. I think it is the 4th best bike. I am heartened that we have FOUR good bikes these days. And that the old guy still has it.

I assumed that Vinales had taken out Morbidelli rather than vice versa given how he was riding. He will not be happy. Yamaha is making gains though. But these are gains towards where Ducati and Honda were a couple of seasons ago. It is a big step still ahead. I bet Vinales loses his mind for a moment when Rins passes him on his old bike.

Cal - poor guy, that was the toughest/strictest jump start call I have ever seen. He DID flinch his body, with a (albeit barely) perceptible movement of his bike. But the clutch was not engaged at ALL. Hmm. Spencer to catch some criticism?

Rins! Enjoyed watching him again. Great bike. Suzuki having a strength in the electronics department is a novel situation. Their Mitsubishi stuff was forever crap.

Both Espargaro brothers did pretty well don't you think? Hafiz managed to get his pace up to acceptable which is a good start. The gap between A.Espargaro and Fabio Iannone is...bad. Zarco? Poor guy must be in despair. It pains me pissing his talent away. He is one of the fastest guys out there.

Cool big battle behind the empty space behind Marc. That was fun to watch.

Total votes: 24

Dominate win by Marquez, this is what was supposed to have happened last year. 

It didn't look like Cal Crutchlow jumped the lights and if so, the ride through penalty was way too harsh. DORNA should look at that rule, maybe make him drop back a spot or two should match the penalty to the crime.

Valentino always shows up on race day. Dovi, very consistent. On to Austin. 

Total votes: 19

Ive seen every race of Marquez in the USA including moto 2 at Indy and he has NEVER LOST. I have a good excuse as I broke my hip in Jan and I cant ride yet. I wonder if my Kansas handicap parking is good down there?

Total votes: 11

The penalty may have waaay outdone the crime, but the rule states that you cant be rolling when the lights go out.  Cal was clearly rolling.  If Spencer ignored that and ruled in Cal's favour he would be pilloried by all the other teams. 
There clearly should be a re-assessment of the penalty for minor infringments and they would have to draw up an extensive list on what minor and major infringments are, lest they find themselves in the same boat.

Total votes: 25

The rule is exceedingly clear as was Cal's violation of it. The front tire was turning when the lights went out, doesn't matter why. That is a ride-thru penalty as spelled out in the rules. I think it's horrible to lay this on Freddie; he's enforcing the rule  not interpreting it - the wheel was turning  

Total votes: 19

Someone elsewhere (since retracted/deleted) suggested it was unprofessional or amateur of race control to penalise him in the way they did.  Wrong, the opposite would be true, making it up as they went along since he gained nothing from it would have been the amateur thing.  There is a (very strict) rule and it was correctly enforced.  Cal was quite clearly rolling... very slowly but constantly rolling.  This is the top level of the sport and riders know the rule.  Spencer was absolutely right, and likely winced at the bollocking he knew he would receive by doing his job correctly.

The good thing about the incident is that it will hopefully drive a more progressive and flexible jump start penalty rule.  A long lap of 1.5-3sec penalty would seem about right when they gain next to nothing, leaving the ride through for something like Lorenzo's howler from a few years ago, or the more typical 'over anticipation' of the lights with a brief full launch and then stop half a metre over the grid slot.  Make it progressive so that you only get one long lap warning, next time you get the full ride through.  That should stop people playing off the penalty against the misdemeanour, the penalty should ALWAYS be more damaging than the gain.  Goes for all of society.

Total votes: 13

And i did not retract nor delete... Yes i used  incompetent and amateur as the record of dumb/idiotic/imperscrutable/unfair - too fair decisions of the past years made by the commission are proof in my opinion that they are far from being professionals in any type of rule. Whether it's about technical decisions (ah! the Honda trick on presenting twice the same piece .. Genius!) or on track rules.

So i stand by what i said. And the punishment did not fit the crime! Cal gained nothing and we could argue that 1cm rolling was caused by his lack of total fitness and his healing ankle. He was going to be on that podium and was robbed of it. Since qatar we have seen far worse actions then 1 cm at the start that did not get punished.

I will refrain from recalling that one year ago on that same circuit a guy stopped the bike at the start and then rode it backwards (infringment that calls for a black flag) but raced anyway.

So on this one i stand by Cal. 

Total votes: 14

I thought it might have been moderated, I now see it was in the other article, didn't mean to imply anything by it.  I can't disagree with the mess that was Termas last year, no way the race should have been started when Marc took back up his normal grid position.  That was a good example of a wrong/amateur/incompetent decision made in a high pressure moment.  That whole thing was debated up and down, I tuned out in the aftermath of that race since it descended into a MM vs VR factional war which I'm not interested in.  I just watched the start again to remind myself, it mainly brings back how badly ripped off Miller was.

Anyhow, that situation was very complicated - as David went to some lengths to explain - and fortunately the one involving Cal was not.  He was not stationary at the time the red lights went out.  The rule is there, it is clear, everyone understands it, and it was applied.  They have high speed cameras on every row of the grid for exactly this reason.  If it is accepted that you can be moving "a little bit" then the line gets blurred and the degree of "little bitness" gets exploited.

Anyhow, happy to accept you have a different view, I enjoy greatly your comments and perspective on this fabulous site.  Hopefully we see another refinement of the rulebook to allow a less race-destroying penalty for minor infractions of the grid rule.  I'm very much looking forward to reading David's forthcoming 'in depth' analysis of the race including that situation.

Total votes: 8

I see why Cal was incensed, it was the smallest jump start I have ever seen called. And Cal is a feisty bugger, bless his volition. I see why Spencer called it. I don't see a need to change the rule, jump starts are a ride through. Aero on the other hand, we need some work there. Things are good these days.

All is well. Marquez/HRC, mechanical in Texas please. Then the show begins round 4.
;)

Total votes: 13