Vinales makes Argentina two in a row – Jacker Miller ninth

Remy Gardner taken out on opening lap in Moto2, sustaining broken ankle

MotoGP has a tendency to keep making history of late, and the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina was no different as Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) became the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the year, taking a stunning victory as drama hit the grid behind.

Maverick Vinales continued his form to take a second win in a row
Maverick Vinales continued his form to take a second win in a row
Maverick Viñales – P1

“We did a great job this weekend and worked very well with all the tyres. Especially with Pascal, he is the guy that takes care of us from Michelin. We all worked hard and we knew the decision of the tyre from this morning and I feel really great after this race. The tyre kept a good grip level all the time and I feel very strong on the tyres, because Michelin is doing a good job and I am really happy and confident right now.”

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Teammate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) came in in P2, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow completing the podium in style as top Independent Team rider.

Valentino Rossi celebrates P2
Valentino Rossi celebrates P2
Valentino Rossi – P2

“My mechanic, Brent, said to me on the grid ‘It‘s the 350th, try to make it a good race.’ I‘m happy, because I was competitive today from the first to the last lap. I felt better physically and I trained hard so I felt good on the bike and I could push throughout the whole race. I feel that my concentration is good and also the battle with Cal was good also, because I was able to beat him. Unfortunately, Maverick was a bit faster, but this result is really important for me and the whole team, a Yamaha 1-2 is great! I don‘t think the results would have been different if I‘d passed Cal earlier in the race. Looking at the lap times, Maverick was a bit stronger and that‘s just the way it is today. This track is always tricky, also in the past we saw a lot of problems. Bumps and slipperiness and it also rained yesterday, so you have to pay attention and you also have to be lucky. For us this is good, because we took some important points for the championship and I also felt really good with the bike today.”

Marc Marquez took an early lead
Marc Marquez took an early lead

It was reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who leapt into the lead from pole, with Rossi another electric starter from seventh on the grid. In the rush for Turn 1, Marquez led Crutchlow as the pack shuffled behind, with the reigning Champion then making a stunning break for it as the Brit backed up the chasing Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pairing of Viñales and Rossi.

Cal Crutchlow was third and first Independent Team rider
Cal Crutchlow was third and first Independent Team rider
Cal Crutchlow – P3

“It was nice to take a podium place for the LCR Honda team after what happened in Qatar, I’m very happy to take a third place to be honest. I had to manage the race right from the very start as I had a warning light on the dash, but I didn’t panic and when Maverick (Viñales) came past I just decided to follow and see if I could control the situation – which I did. Once Vale (Valentino Rossi) came on to me I decided to try and push again, but the light came back on so I had to slow down and try to manage the rest of the race as best I could. Vale came past me as he seemed to have a bit more grip than me, but we know the Honda bike is quite difficult to ride at the moment. I think we did a good job to manage things and bring the bike home in a podium position. Qatar was a disaster for me and the team as I felt strong there and believed I could get a good result, but to get a podium in the first two races is good. I’m really pleased for the team.”

Viñales soon attacked Crutchlow to take P2, before the first of the high drama hit up ahead and Marquez suddenly hit the floor at Turn 2 – having been almost two seconds clear.

Marc Marquez crashed out with a two-second lead
Marc Marquez crashed out with a two-second lead
Marc Marquez – DNF

“I was feeling really good on the bike. I was able to ride strong, as we made a great improvement to the setup in the warm-up, which made me feel pretty comfortable on my bike. The crash was unexpected; I must have made a small mistake, and it cost me a lot. Luckily I’m okay, but these kinds of mistakes disappoint me, as everything was going well. Anyway, we must put this behind us and think of the next race in Austin.”

First Independent Team Rider - Cal Crutchlow
First Independent Team Rider – Cal Crutchlow

That left Viñales in the lead with Crutchlow and Rossi on the chase, the gap holding steady just above half a second – before the man of the moment began to pull away.

The ‘Doctor’ was left to hunt down Crutchlow, with the two holding station until Rossi struck with 7 laps to go, getting past the Brit in style at Turn 5 and pulling away for a second consecutive podium in his 350th World Championship start.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

There was all-out war for P4 as Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) battled to get past Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) getting in the mix.

Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa

After a short and spectacular duel between Pedrosa and Zarco, the Spaniard broke free to set the fastest lap – before disaster struck for the ‘Baby Samurai’ as he crashed out of the race in the same place as teammate Marquez had done a handful of laps earlier. 

Dani Pedrosa – DNF

“I got a decent start, but then I lost time in the first part of the race duelling with Petrucci and Zarco. I started pushing hard after I passed him because I was feeling good on the bike and wanted to try and close the gap on the others to fight for the podium, but unfortunately I crashed in the second corner. There are a lot of bumps in that turn, and they create a tricky situation, as the grip is kind of ‘on-off.’ When you’re pushing really hard, the limit becomes quite narrow. Of course it’s a shame about the crash, but on another hand I’m happy I felt good enough to try and chase down the front group. We’ll keep this motivation for the next race in Austin.”

Dani Pedrosa met the same fate as teammate Marquez, crashing in the same placeDani Pedrosa met the same fate as teammate Marquez, crashing in the same place
Dani Pedrosa met the same fate as teammate Marquez, crashing in the same place

Even then, the drama wasn’t done as ‘DesmoDovi’ went wide at Turn 5 soon after, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) taking the inside line and then losing the front – sliding helplessly into the Italian and both out the race.

Aleix Espargaro lost the front taking the inside line
Aleix Espargaro lost the front taking the inside line
Aleix Espargaro – DNF

“In the opening laps I was a bit slower than the other riders, but then things began to work right. Just as I was starting to increase my pace and when I had gotten close to the group, I saw Dovi off the line and I moved in. Unfortunately, I had to brake hard and I lost the front. I am really sorry for the team and for Andrea, who was unwillingly involved in my crash. It’s a pity because in the second part of the race we could have done well. Now we will head to Austin to confirm our progress.”

Sam Lowes
Sam Lowes

Aleix’s teammate, Sam Lowes with the race ending early, forced to retire due to a gear selection problem.

Sam Lowes – DNF

“At the start I lost a few meters, but I was catching up. I managed to lap with a good pace and I was about to reach the zone where they were battling for points. I had a problem with gear selection and I had to go into pit lane, but this was a good weekend for me. In Qatar I had not had the chance to work a lot on the 2017 bike before the race, in any case finding a good setup base. Here we changed a few details and in the race I felt at ease. Our bike is very competitive at the end of the race, so I know that I would have been able to make up a few positions.”

Alvaro Bautista
Alvaro Bautista took fourth overall
Alvaro Bautista – P4

“That was a nice race, a little like at the end of last season when I was starting from the back but making my way through. I lost a little time at the start because everybody was really going at it and I got in a tough group, with a particularly aggressive rider in there, and it was difficult to pass. Once their pace dropped off I was able to overtake them and lap as fast at the guys at the front. I was catching them at the end but I had lost too much ground in the early laps. I feel that I am a rider capable of this kind of result, these are realistic positions for me, and I think we have to continue in this way. I want to thank Pull&Bear Aspar and Ducati for these results and for all their support.”

Behind Crutchlow, it was another fantastic day for the Independent Teams as the dust settled, with Bautista taking fourth and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookies Zarco and Jonas Folger taking fifth and sixth. 

Johann Zarco

Johann Zarco – P5

“It’s a happy day for me and we can leave Argentina knowing that we did a good job. I began the race from 14th on the grid, but this did not concern me too much because my feeling on the bike was positive and I knew that I could ride well. In the Grand Prix, everything came together and I was able to fight and overtake my opponents. It was also a bit challenging because a lot happened in the group that I was in, but I kept calm and attacked when I could whilst I held my rhythm and position. Half way through the GP, I was fighting for 4th, but in the end, I couldn’t keep up with Bautista’s pace and he had a good race. I did my best and after the crash in Qatar, it was important to meet the chequered flag and get some points, but to end up in the top five is just awesome so I am very pleased with the result.”

Jonas Folger

Jonas Folger  – P6

“I felt good on the track today and it’s great to finish our second race in the premier class in 6th. Initially, I was a bit worried because I was not feeling too well last night and I had to take some medicine. Anyway, I had a positive start, which is what I wanted to improve after Qatar, and then I was able to complete the first two laps in an encouraging manner. Unfortunately, I made a mistake shortly after which caused me to lose some positions, yet, I was still in 10th and so I focused on building up a good rhythm. I saw that Petrucci was fighting against his bike because he was pushing hard and burning his tyre, so I tried to save my tyre as much as possible for the end. As soon as I closed in, I was confident that I could pass him, which I managed to do. Johann was a little bit faster than me today, and he is my target. Like every Sunday, he is quick and has a really strong pace, so I have to keep working on myself to analyse what I can do to beat him. Nevertheless, we can be very happy with our performance and I can’t wait to get going again in Texas.”

Petrucci, after running out of rear grip, crossed the line in a solid P7 – ahead of a good fight back from his teammate Scott Redding at the head of the next group.

Danilo Petrucci

Danilo Petrucci – P7

“It was a good race. I started well and I felt a good feeling. Unfortunately I could not make the most out of my the bike throughout the race. I fought with Pedrosa and Zarco, but after the first half of the race I could not find enough traction. I wanted to finish in the Top 8 and I reached my target. I took some precious points and this is important. I’m already focused on the next race in Austin.”

Scott Redding

Scott Redding – P8

“It was difficult. I expected a better performance, especially in the middle part of the race. At the beginning I lacked speed. I could not put the front tire at the right temperature and this didn’t allow me to find the same grip of the warm up. Then things got better. In the last few laps I had to be aggressive and smart to respond to Miller’s attacks and finish eighth. An excellent result.”

Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) enjoyed another top ten result in ninth behind Redding, with front row start Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) completing the top ten only tenths ahead of Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) after the Frenchman was pushed wide early on.

Jack Miller took ninth and is placed seventh overall after Argentina
Jack Miller took ninth and is placed seventh overall after Argentina
Jack Miller – P9

“The race was the best I felt all weekend and finally I was able to put together the speed I knew we had when it meant something. I made a good start and was sitting with a fast group although I wasn’t comfortable with a full fuel tank in the opening laps and made a couple of small mistakes and lost some time. But there were some positives from the weekend and some solid points for the championship. My goal is to be always top ten this season and so far I’m doing that so hopefully we can keep the momentum going at the next race in Texas.”

Karel Abraham
Karel Abraham
Karel Abraham – P10

“I think it has been a very good weekend for us. I am very happy with the six points, which is incredible, and with our qualifying performance yesterday. It wasn’t an easy day after the crash this morning, which meant we had to start with the other bike. I was a little nervous about that, also because I was on the front row. This is beyond my expectations. I knew we weren’t going to fight for the podium but this is still a great result. The bike worked really well here so we can leave Argentina feeling very happy and ready for the next one in Austin.”

Loris Baz

Loris Baz – P11

“I’m disappointed because I think that we missed a great opportunity today. I’ve lost all chances when Jorge crashed in front of me and I was forced to run off the track to avoid running over him. I lost too much time and although I gave my best to recover when I caught Miller and Abraham, my front tyre was destroyed, so I couldn’t attack. It is a shame because today I had the pace to be with Folger and Petrucci. But overall the weekend has been quite positive, my team did a superb job and we improved every time I went out. I hope to be lucky in Austin.”

Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was P12 in front of Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing), with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pairing Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith incredibly close to the two men ahead in P14 and P15 respectively. The Austrian manufacturer is now a points scorer with both riders, opening their account early in only round two.

Tito Rabat

Tito Rabat – P12

“Before the race it had been a difficult weekend with rain in qualifying, but I felt good in the race with a strong rhythm and I’m very happy with this result. I had a great fight for 12th with a group of four riders and was able to finish ahead of them. This is good for my confidence and I’m confident that with some more improvements to my riding style and a better set up for acceleration we can get the results we know we’re capable of.” 

Hector Barbera

Hector Barbera – P13

“It was a really difficult weekend for me, and I was not able to tame ‘the beast’. We tried all possible settings on the bike; I didn’t get out on the track with the same configuration twice over the whole weekend and now it’s clear that we can’t adapt this bike to my riding style. So it is me who has to adapt to the bike. When I raced with this bike last season, it was already hard for me to get the right feeling and during the winter test I had the same issues again. The first race at Qatar was not a reference as I was recovering from my collarbone injury, but still, the feeling was bad. Here I was back to full fitness and the feeling was the same. In 25 laps I never did a single corner as I would like to. Riding like this is really difficult, because I’m fighting with the bike all the time.”

After a great start from a difficult grid position, it was disaster for Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo on the first lap as the five-time World Champion crashed out early after contact with old nemesis Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – the ‘Spartan’ thankfully escaping unhurt, and Iannone continuing.

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone

The ‘Maniac’ was also given a ride through penalty soon after for a jump start, dropping him down the order and out of contention to cross the line as the final finisher.

Andrea Iannone – P16

“I got a ride through penalization and my feeling is that it was too harsh. In my opinion I didn’t gain any advantage because I just moved a bit but then immediately stopped. On the contrary, I also got hit by another rider at corner 1, causing me to lose many positions. Because of this, my opinion is that the Race Direction could have given another evaluation of the situation, and maybe not dictate such a penalising ride through. Of course this, together with the contact at corner 1, in which I lost many positions, affected my whole race. It’s a shame because my pace after the penalty was good, maybe not enough for the podium, but for sure I could have fought for the top 6. It’s not been a good start of the season for me. We have to change our pace and get a new start. We deserve better results.”

Pol Espargaro

Pol Espargaro – P20

“What is the most important for the guys and the whole team is that this is the first time in history that KTM has taken points in MotoGP. We must be happy. But on the other side, I think we had the opportunity to do a little more. We are missing some speed in the straight to overtake the two guys I was fighting with, (Hector) Barbera and Tito (Rabat). It was a shame because I felt faster and we were faster today. We could have been in front of them at the end of the race, but it was impossible to do it. We still have some weak points, but on the other side, I congratulate the guys, they are doing a good job. We are making steps, for sure we are still far away but we are starting to see the light.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith – P21

“Today was a great day for us as a team because we scored our first points with both riders. We made a good step forward from Qatar because there we weren’t able to fight with the group ahead of us. Here we could both stay with Barbera and Tito for most of the race, so we improved by another 3-4 seconds. I was really pleased with my race. All weekend I was struggling to do one minute 41 (lap times) but then in the race they were all mid to low 41s so I was happy with that. Of course we need to continue to improve but right now we have to be happy with what we are doing race-by-race. The next one in Austin (USA) is going to be tough for us. We have no data or information, there are 22 corners and it’s quite a technical layout so it’s going to be difficult.”

Alex Rins
Alex Rins

Rins ran into trouble and had pain in his right ankle. Jumping from the last place in the grid, he was able to advance his position, moving up to 15th place at the end of first lap and transition into 14th after lap 6, but then unfortunately he incurred in a crash in lap 7 after an overtake. He was able to rejoin the race from the bottom, but this required major exertion on his injured ankle, and he opted to withdraw.

Alex Rins – DNF

“The truth is that it has been a tough weekend. We knew it would be hard due to the injury, and in fact it hurt me for the whole three days, but we wanted to start the race and in the end, we achieved it. Despite jumping from the very back, I’m pretty happy with myself because I managed to stay cool and make an excellent start. During the race I felt pretty comfortable with the ankle, it didn’t hurt too much, but I felt bad with the braking. After some laps in 15th place, I tried to overtake in the only possible corner – the entrance of corner 13, and managed to get into 14th place, but then I lost control of the front end and crashed. It was not a bad crash but I hit my foot and the pain increased, thus not allowing me to finish the race. Now it’s time to look ahead and go to Austin. I like that circuit very much and I hope to recover a lot with some rest and physiotherapy during these days, in order to arrive in Texas in considerably better condition.”

Austin, Texas now awaits – a chance for Marquez to strike back at a venue he has always ruled, and a chance for Viñales to change that statistic as we head into round three.

MotoGP of Argentina Podium
MotoGP of Argentina Podium
MotoGP 2017 – Round Two – Argentina – Race Results
  1. VINALES  Maverick 25 SPA 25 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 41’45.060
  2. ROSSI  Valentino 46 ITA 20 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 2.915
  3. CRUTCHLOW  Cal 35 GBR 16 LCR Honda 3.754
  4. BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 13 Pull&Bear Aspar Team 6.523
  5. ZARCO Johann 5 FRA 11 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 15.504
  6. FOLGER Jonas 94 GER 10 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 18.241
  7. PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 9 Octo Pramac Racing 20.046
  8. REDDING Scott 45 GBR 8 Octo Pramac Racing 25.480
  9. MILLER Jack 43 AUS 7 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 25.665
  10. ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 6 Pull&Bear Aspar Team 26.403
  11. BAZ Loris 76 FRA 5 Reale Avintia Racing 26.952
  12. RABAT Tito 53 SPA 4 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS 41.875
  13. BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 3 Reale Avintia Racing 42.770
  14. ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 2 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43.085
  15. SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43.452
  16. IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar 46.219
  17. DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 0 Ducati Team 11 laps
  18. ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 11 laps
  19. PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA 0 Repsol Honda Team 12 laps
  20. LOWES Sam 22 GBR 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 14 laps
  21. RINS Alex 42 SPA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar 14 laps
  22.  MARQUEZ  Marc 93 SPA 0 Repsol Honda Team 22 laps
  23. LORENZO  Jorge 99 SPA 0 Ducati Team
MotoGP 2017 – Championship Points Standings after Round Two
  1. VINALES Maverick 25 SPA 50 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
  2. ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 36 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
  3. DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 20 Ducati Team
  4. REDDING Scott 45 GBR 17 Octo Pramac Racing
  5. CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR 16 LCR Honda
  6. FOLGER Jonas 94 GER 16 Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  7. MILLER Jack 43 AUS 15 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS
  8. BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 13 Pull&Bear Aspar Team
  9. MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 13 Repsol Honda Team
  10. ZARCO Johann 5 FRA 11 Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  11. PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA 11 Repsol Honda Team
  12. ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA 10 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
  13. PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 9 Octo Pramac Racing
  14. BAZ Loris 76 FRA 9 Reale Avintia Racing
  15. ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 8 Pull&Bear Aspar Team
  16. RINS Alex 42 SPA 7 Team Suzuki Ecstar
  17. BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 6 Reale Avintia Racing
  18. LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 5 Ducati Team
  19. RABAT Tito 53 SPA 5 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS
  20. ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 2 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
  21. SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
MotoGP 2017 – Argentina – Race
MotoGP 2017 – Argentina – Race

Morbidelli takes Moto2 win as Alex Marquez crashes out in pursuit 

It was an EG 0,0 Marc VDS duel at the front in Argentina won under intense pressure by Franco Morbidelli, as teammate Alex Marquez crashed in final lap drama as he pushed to catch the Championship leader.

Remy Gardner
Remy Gardner

But for Aussie rider Remy Gardner it was all over in the opening lap. Gardner’s unlucky start to his 2017 Moto2 World Championship continued aboard his Tech3 Moto2 Mistral machine – the #87 rider taken out on the opening lap for the second consecutive race, sustaining a broken ankle in the fall.

Remy Gardner

“I don’t know what to say. The bad luck has to stop soon. I felt good all weekend, we made a positive start on Friday and I was running well inside the top 10 in FP1. Qualifying we got caught a little bit by the weather but I made a mistake on my last lap and that left me deep on the grid. In the race well what can I say? I made another decent start and then got caught up in someone else’s accident. I will now fly back to Barcelona where Dr Mir will assess my ankle which was fractured in the crash and we will decide whether or not I need surgery.”

Miguel Oliveira - Image: Gold and Goose
Miguel Oliveira – Image: Gold and Goose

Morbidelli set the pace from the start with teammate Álex an almost constant shadow in second place with the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS pair dominating the race, before Alex Marquez crashed out in the final lap.

Franco Morbidelli took his second win in a row, making it two for two
Franco Morbidelli took his second win in a row, making it two for two
Franco Morbidelli

“This is an amazing feeling, two victories in a row, just incredible and I hope I can keep this momentum going.  I was pushing really hard from the start and very quickly I saw that Álex was going very fast close behind so I was ready for the fight.  With a lap to go I had +0.3s and pushed even harder for the win and did not know Álex had crashed until I took the chequered flag. It was a pity his race ended like this.”

Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez lead the Moto2 race until a final lap highside saw lose his position
Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez lead the Moto2 race until a final lap highside saw lose his position
Alex Marquez

“For sure today I had a chance to go for the victory so it is really disappointing. I made a mistake in the last lap and I am not sure what happened but sometimes it is like this, when you go down you have to get back up and be even stronger. I want to thank my team, I destroyed a bike in practice and we made more changes after the warm-up and I had a perfect bike in the race. This year I am more confident on worn tyres at the end of the race but today I made a mistake. I’m not happy but there are some positives to take from the weekend.”

Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

Polesitter Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took an impressive first podium for the new intermediate class KTM chassis as he crossed the line in second after Marquez’ crash, with Qatar podium finisher Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) taking third after another signature solid ride. 

Miguel Oliveira

“Getting this second position today in Argentina is fantastic. The start of the race was not easy, since I had a few scares when I was in the leading group. Then two riders escaped ahead of me and I wasn’t able to keep up. Little by little I tried to catch them because I think I had better pace, but I didn’t know if it was good enough to pass them. I tried and never gave up.”

Bo Bendsneyder - Image: Gold and Goose
Bo Bendsneyder – Image: Gold and Goose

It was Morbidelli who got the holeshot, with the front row shuffling for position until the two Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders began to pull away and Morbidelli stoked up a lead. Marquez stayed on the chase, however, closing in steadily until dueling it out with a handful of laps to go.

Fended off and settling back into second, the rider from Cervera put in the work to close in on the final lap once again – before dramatically high-siding out behind his teammate. Marquez picked himself up and made it to the line, finally finishing the race outside the points.

Miguel Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

Oliveira avoided the incident to take an impressive first podium in Moto2 for the Portuguese rider and first ever for the KTM chassis, with Lüthi the man to gain big from the drama up ahead as he took his second podium of the year in P3. Another expected key title contender, Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) suffered opposite fortunes, as the Japanese rider crashed out early on.

Xavi Vierge
Xavi Vierge

Behind the drama up front, fourth was a solid ride from Forward Racing Team’s Lorenzo Baldassarri, with Tech 3 Racing’s Xavi Vierge impressing to complete the top five just ahead of Italian veteran Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing).

Xavi Vierge

“I am so pleased with our performance across the whole weekend and to finish in fifth today is a great conclusion. In every practice session, we ended up inside the top ten and the Tech3 team worked tirelessly throughout the three days. Antonio, my Crew Chief, found a step in-between the warm-up and the race, and thanks to this, I was able to deliver the performance that I did. I am really happy, so I must say thanks to the guys for their efforts and also to KYB because the feeling with the suspension and the Mistral is amazing. I’m improving and getting closer to the front at every round and the result today motivates me fully for the next GP in Texas.”

Brad Binder - Image: Gold and Goose
Brad Binder – Image: Gold and Goose

Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was top rookie in P7 in a tight midfield, just beating Dynavolt Intact GP rider Sandro Cortese to the line. There was another incredible rookie performance in ninth as reigning Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder put in a stunner, still suffering with an arm injury and making it up from outside the top 20 on the grid.

Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) completed the top ten, ahead of Marcel Schrötter (Intact Dynavolt GP), Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team), Jesko Raffin (Garage Plus Interwetten), Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) and Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who scored his first points in Moto2.

Bendsneyder - Image: Gold and Goose
Bendsneyder – Image: Gold and Goose
Bo Bendsneyder

“The race was tough. We struggled a lot throughout the weekend, as we didn’t have the same feeling that we had in either preseason testing or Qatar. This was a hard weekend for us, but we never give up. We will work harder than ever for the coming races. I think that we have learnt a lot over these days, so now we have to look to Austin. I like that circuit, so we’ll see what we can do.” 

The intermediate class now head for Austin, Texas, for the third round of the year.

Image: Gold and Goose
MotoGP Argentina – Moto2 Podium – Image: Gold and Goose
MotoGP of Argentina Moto2 Results
  1. Franco MORBIDELLI – ITA – EG 0,0 Marc VDS – 39’50.036
  2. Miguel OLIVEIRA – POR – Red Bull KTM Ajo – +1.683
  3. Thomas LUTHI – SWI – CarXpert Interwetten – +10.551
  4. Lorenzo BALDASSARRI – ITA – Forward Racing Team – +15.577
  5. Xavi VIERGE – SPA – Tech 3 Racing – +24.527
  6. Simone CORSI – ITA – Speed Up Racing – +24.783
  7. Francesco BAGNAIA – ITA – SKY Racing Team VR46 – +24.965
  8. Sandro CORTESE – GER – Dynavolt Intact GP – +25.156
  9. Brad BINDER – RSA – Red Bull KTM Ajo – +25.622
  10. Hafizh SYAHRIN – MAL – Petronas Raceline Malaysia – +25.933
  11. Marcel SCHROTTER – GER – Dynavolt Intact GP – +26.139
  12. Luca MARINI – ITA – Forward Racing Team Kalex – +26.456
  13. Jesko RAFFIN – SWI – Garage Plus Interwetten – +26.697
  14. Dominique AEGERTER – SWI – Kiefer Racing – +27.461
  15. Jorge NAVARRO – SPA – Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 – +27.628
  16. Edgar PONS – SPA – Pons HP40 – +36.690
  17. Isaac VIÑALES – SPA – BE-A-VIP SAG Team – +39.132
  18. Julian SIMON – SPA – Garage Plus Interwetten – +39.297
  19. Tetsuta NAGASHIMA – JPN – Teluru SAG Team – +39.444
  20. Mattia PASINI – ITA – Italtrans Racing Team – +43.908
  21. Alex MARQUEZ – SPA – EG 0,0 Marc VDS – +44.165
  22. Yonny HERNANDEZ – COL – AGR Team – +45.719
  23. Stefano MANZI – ITA – SKY Racing Team VR46 – +52.618
  24. Khairul Idham PAWI – MAL – IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia – +59.071
  25. Axel BASSANI – ITA – Speed Up Racing – +1’02.113
Moto2 2017 – Championship Points Standings after Round Two
  1. Franco MORBIDELLI – Kalex – ITA – 50
  2. Thomas LUTHI – Kalex – SWI – 36
  3. Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM – POR – 33
  4. Lorenzo BALDASSARRI – Kalex – ITA – 21
  5. Xavi VIERGE – Tech 3 – SPA – 18
  6. Takaaki NAKAGAMI – Kalex – JPN – 16
  7. Luca MARINI – Kalex – ITA – 14
  8. Francesco BAGNAIA – Kalex – ITA – 13
  9. Alex MARQUEZ – Kalex – SPA – 11
  10. Simone CORSI – Speed Up – ITA – 10
  11. Fabio QUARTARARO – Kalex – FRA – 9
  12. Sandro CORTESE – Suter – GER – 8
  13. Brad BINDER – KTM – RSA – 7
  14. Dominique AEGERTER – Suter – SWI – 7
  15. Axel PONS – Kalex – SPA – 6
  16. Hafizh SYAHRIN – Kalex – MAL – 6
  17. Marcel SCHROTTER – Suter – GER – 5
  18. Jesko RAFFIN – Kalex – SWI – 5
  19. Danny KENT – Suter – GBR – 3
  20. Xavier SIMEON – Kalex – BEL – 1
  21. Jorge NAVARRO – Kalex – SPA – 1
    … Remy GARDNER – AUS – 0
MotoGP 2017 – Argentina – Moto2 Race
MotoGP 2017 – Argentina – Moto2 Race

Joan Mir makes it two for two in Moto3 from P16 on grid
Andrea Migno leads the Moto3 field - Image: Gold and Goose
Andrea Migno and the Moto3 field – Image: Gold and Goose

Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) has taken victory in the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina for his second race win in a row, staging a stunning comeback from P16 to survive a last lap attack from British Talent Team rider John McPhee.

John McPhee
John McPhee

Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) completing the podium as the three rostrum finishers in Qatar proved a cut above in another classic Moto3 battle.

John McPhee took his second podium position, with another second place, maintaining his overall standing in second
John McPhee took his second podium position, with another second place, maintaining his overall standing in second
John McPhee

“It was definitely an exciting race and well done to Joan because he rode a fantastic race the whole way through and set the pace – to be honest I wasn’t expecting the pace to be that fast all the way through, and he was the one doing the hard work. I knew I had the advantage on the brakes and I tried to line it up thinking maybe I could get a fast run in on him and do a block pass in the final turn, but he braked so late, I went in a bit too hot and both of us went a little bit wide – I was lucky to stay on and it’s good to get more points on the board. I’m a bit frustrated not to get the win but it’s a long season and we’ve got some really good points.”

It was Martin who took the lead off the line from polesitter McPhee, as the two men capitalized the best on their grid positions and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) got a little bogged down off the line.

Niccolo Antonelli - Image: Gold and Goose
Niccolo Antonelli – Image: Gold and Goose

Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) was a big loser as the lights went out, then making contact with compatriot Niccolo Antonelli on the fight back – with the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider retiring as a result and Fenati left with a mountain to climb.

Already climbing his own mountain was Mir, as the Leopard rider made serious progress up from his P16 starting position to get into the front group.

That group soon settled into the classic Moto3 freight train, with lead positions changing between Martin and teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio, McPhee, Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) and Bulega as Qatar GP winner Mir arrived on the scene.

Phillipp Oettl and Andrea Migno - Image: Gold and Goose
Phillipp Oettl and Andrea Migno – Image: Gold and Goose

As the pack shuffled, the lead group of five began to pull away, with Mir leading McPhee, Martin, Oettl and Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46); soon clear at the front and ready for a final showdown.

In the end, it all came down to Turns 13 and 14 on the final lap, as Mir tried to create a gap and was reeled in once again by McPhee – with the Brit just unable to find his way past in the final corners. Martin completed the podium after proving just a little too far back for a final attack, with Oettl beating Migno to P4.

Livio Loi (Leopard Racing), a comeback from Fenati, an incredible ride from Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and a solid result for Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing) fought it out to take P6 to P9 respectively, ahead of a stunner from rookie and former Asia Talent Cup Champion Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) to complete the top ten.

Joan Mir chases down Philipp Oettl - Image: Gold and Goose
Joan Mir chases down Philipp Oettl – Image: Gold and Goose

Canet, Darryn Binder (Platinum Bay Real Estate), Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) and second SIC58 Squadra Corse rider Tony Arbolino completed the top fourteen, with a fantastic double points finish for the new SIC58 Squadra Corse squad run by Paolo Simoncelli.

Bulega was penalized post-race and dropped out of the points – leaving Maria Herrera (AGR Team) taking her first point of the season in P15.

Home hero Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing) put in a stunning effort to fight in the lead group before a crash, coming back from a collarbone break in FP1 in Qatar. Also falling out of contention soon after were Di Giannantonio – tagged by Bulega – and 2016 Championship runner up Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0), both riders ok and ‘Bestia’ able to pick it up and continue.

Next up is Texas and the Circuit of the Americas in two weeks – with the top of the title standings as you were and Mir staking a serious early claim on the crown.

MotoGP of Argentina - Moto3 Podium
MotoGP of Argentina – Moto3 Podium
MotoGP of Argentina Moto3 Results:
  1. Joan MIR – SPA – Leopard Racing – 38’33.377
  2. John MCPHEE – GBR – British Talent Team – +0.261
  3. Jorge MARTIN – SPA – Del Conca Gresini Moto3 – +0.339
  4. Philipp OETTL – GER – Südmetall Schedl GP Racing – +0.641
  5. Andrea MIGNO – ITA – SKY Racing Team VR46 – +0.890
  6. Livio LOI – BEL – Leopard Racing – +7.598
  7. Romano FENATI – ITA – Marinelli Rivacold Snipers – +7.761
  8. Tatsuki SUZUKI – JPN – SIC58 Squadra Corse – +7.831
  9. Juanfran GUEVARA – SPA – RBA BOE Racing Team – +12.000
  10. Kaito TOBA – JPN – Honda Team Asia – +12.079
  11. Aron CANET – SPA – Estrella Galicia 0,0 – +12.278
  12. Darryn BINDER – RSA – Platinum Bay Real Estate – +12.294
  13. Marcos RAMIREZ – SPA – Platinum Bay Real Estate – +12.480
  14. Tony ARBOLINO – ITA – SIC58 Squadra Corse – +12.620
  15. Maria HERRERA – SPA – AGR Team – +13.083
  16. Nicolo BULEGA – ITA – SKY Racing Team VR46 – +14.393
  17. Adam NORRODIN – MAL – SIC Racing Team – +18.861
  18. Jakub KORNFEIL – CZE – Peugeot MC Saxoprint – +20.573
  19. Marco BEZZECCHI – ITA – CIP Mahindra – +26.774
  20. Ayumu SASAKI – JPN – SIC Racing Team – +26.905
  21. Manuel PAGLIANI – ITA – CIP Mahindra – +27.400
  22. Jules DANILO – FRA – Marinelli Rivacold Snipers – +27.534
  23. Bo BENDSNEYDER – NED – Red Bull KTM Ajo – +27.612
  24. Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT – THA – Honda Team Asia – +35.218
  25. Albert ARENAS – SPA – Aspar Mahindra Moto3 – +50.124
  26. Patrik PULKKINEN – FIN – Peugeot MC Saxoprint – +1’18.379
  27. Enea BASTIANINI – ITA – Estrella Galicia 0,0 – +1’20.064
Moto3 2017 – Championship Points Standings after Round Two
  1. Joan MIR – Honda – SPA – 50
  2. John MCPHEE – Honda – GBR – 40
  3. Jorge MARTIN – Honda – SPA – 32
  4. Andrea MIGNO – KTM – ITA – 21
  5. Romano FENATI – Honda – ITA – 20
  6. Aron CANET – Honda – SPA – 18
  7. Livio LOI – Honda – BEL – 14
  8. Philipp OETTL – KTM – GER – 13
  9. Marcos RAMIREZ – KTM – SPA – 10
  10. Niccolò ANTONELLI – KTM – ITA – 9
  11. Tatsuki SUZUKI – Honda – JPN – 9
  12. Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO – Honda – ITA – 8
  13. Juanfran GUEVARA – KTM – SPA – 7
  14. Darryn BINDER – KTM – RSA – 7
  15. Adam NORRODIN – Honda – MAL – 6
  16. Kaito TOBA – Honda – JPN – 6
  17. Ayumu SASAKI – Honda – JPN – 5
  18. Nicolo BULEGA – KTM – ITA – 2
  19. Tony ARBOLINO – Honda – ITA – 2
  20. Maria HERRERA – KTM – SPA – 1
MotoGP 2017 – Argentina – Moto3 Race
MotoGP 2017 – Argentina – Moto3 Race