Crutchlow wins chaotic Argentina race, Marquez 18th after penalty
Cal Crutchlow took victory in a chaotic Argentina MotoGP race, while Honda stablemate Marc Marquez finished 18th following a late penalty for a collision with Valentino Rossi.
The 25-lap race was delayed as all bar pole man Jack Miller entered pitlane just moments before lights out to switch from wet tyres to slicks – the Australian already fitted with dry tyres.
Miller held onto pole, while the rest were placed four rows further back in original order, as the rules state a rider must start from last should they start the warm-up lap from the pits.
The Pramac rider's advantage made sure he led the opening lap of the race, though Marquez – who had stalled on the grid but managed to restart his RC213V – passed him on lap two.
The Spaniard eased into the distance, but was forced to serve a ride through penalty on lap seven for failing to start from pitlane after stalling on the grid.
This released Miller back into the lead, with Suzuki's Alex Rins, Tech3's Johann Zarco and LCRs Crutchlow close behind, while Marquez rejoined in 19th.
The top four ran line astern for much of the race, while Marquez scythed his way through the pack despite having to drop a place for contact with Aleix Espargaro at Turn 13 on lap 10.
At the front, Rins applied pressure on Miller with several attempts at taking his lead, but continually ran wide. The Spaniard eventually made a move stick on the inside of Turn 6 on lap 17, but a mistake on the following lap at Turn 7 saw drop to fourth.
Miller retook the lead, but he too ran wide at the penultimate corner and allowed Crutchlow and Zarco through, with the Frenchman carving past the Briton with four to go.
Crutchlow passed Zarco once more on the penultimate lap at Turn 5, and held firm over the final lap to tally up his third MotoGP win, Honda's 750th grand prix victory, and he become the first British rider to lead the premier class standings since Barry Sheene in 1979.
Rins just dropped back from Crutchlow and Zarco at the end, but remained ahead of Miller to take his debut Suzuki rostrum.
Marquez took the chequered flag in fifth, but a collision with Yamaha's Rossi at the penultimate corner with four laps to go saw him slapped with a 30-second time penalty, dropping him out of the point to 18th.
The promoted Maverick Vinales back up to fifth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso - who slips three points behind Crutchlow in the standings to second – Tito Rabat, Andrea Iannone, Hafizh Syahrin and Danilo Petrucci.
Rossi remounted to take the chequered flag in 19th, with Bradley Smith, Aleix Espargaro and Dani Pedrosa – who crashed after contact with Zarco at Turn 13 on lap one – failing to make the finish.
Argentina - Race Result
|1||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||25|
|2||Johann Zarco||Yamaha Tech 3||0.251||20|
|3||Alex Rins||Suzuki Ecstar||2.501||16|
|4||Jack Miller||Pramac Racing||4.390||13|
|5||Maverick Vinales||Yamaha MotoGP||14.941||11|
|6||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||22.533||10|
|7||Tito Rabat||Avintia Racing||23.026||9|
|8||Andrea Iannone||Suzuki Ecstar||23.921||8|
|9||Hafizh Syahrin||Yamaha Tech 3||24.311||7|
|10||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Racing||26.003||6|
|11||Pol Espargaro||KTM Racing||31.022||5|
|12||Scott Redding||Aprilia Racing||31.891||4|
|13||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||32.452||3|
|14||Franco Morbidelli||Marc VDS||42.061||2|
|15||Jorge Lorenzo||Ducati Team||42.274||1|
|16||Alvaro Bautista||Angel Nieto Team||42.625||0|
|17||Thomas Luthi||Marc VDS||43.350||0|
|18||Marc Marquez||Honda Team||43.860||0|
|19||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha MotoGP||52.082||0|
|20||Karel Abraham||Angel Nieto Team||63.944||0|
|21||Xavier Simeon||Avintia Racing||70.144||0|
|22||Bradley Smith||KTM Racing||DNF||0|
|23||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia Racing||DNF||0|