2016 Argentina MotoGP Results

Honda's Marc Marquez at Argentina MotoGP 2016
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez

Besides not having any experience with the spec Michelin tires or Magneti Marelli ECUs at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina, the 21-rider grid was greeted Sunday with inclement weather. Issues with tires during the fourth and final free practice caused some scrambling among Michelin and Dorna officials as dark skies plagued the South American track.

To keep things safe, the race was shortened from 25 to 20 laps. And though rain was not an issue during the Argentina GP, only 13 riders finished. One factory Honda rider wasn’t affected by any of these issues – Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez. From the first free practice through qualifying, Marquez displayed complete authority.

The two-time MotoGP Champion led three of four free practices and earned pole position. This was pole #3 for Marquez, who earned all top qualifying positions since the South American circuit joined MotoGP in 2014. The Spaniard was able to capitalize on the 2014 pole en route to his second premier-class title, but crashed out last season as Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi claimed the win.

Seeking redemption from this, and his third at the MotoGP season opener in Qatar, Marquez returned to the top of the podium in Argentina Sunday during round two of 2016 MotoGP. Marquez scored victory in the shortened race, beating out rival Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZM-R1 and the other Repsol Honda RC213V pilot, Dani Pedrosa.

The slick conditions caused Dorna, the governing body of MotoGP, to shorten the race and mandate a bike change (aka, fresh Michelin tires) on the ninth, 10th or 11th lap – if riders didn’t participate in the mandatory swap, they would sustain a penalty. The last time a mandatory bike change occurred was at Phillip Island in 2013, a race where Marquez was excluded while in the lead due to not pitting early enough to change his then-Bridgestone spec tires.

2016 Argentina MotoGP Results Yamaha Valentino Rossi
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

But this was far from the case at 2016 Argentina MotoGP; Marquez pitted on lap nine as required, and kept his dominance. But the Argentinean GP wasn’t lacking drama; on the opening lap, Marquez was pushed back to fourth after some contact with Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone. But Marquez fought back to first within three laps, and was untouchable for the remaining laps.

Marquez eventually finished the Argentinean Grand Prix 7.679 ahead of Rossi. The men in the 2-3 positions on the final lap – Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone – crashed out at turn 12 of 14, allowing Rossi to earn his first podium of 2016 with second. Claiming the final podium position was Marquez’s teammate Pedrosa, who finished a lonely 28.1 seconds back.

Following the race, Marc Marquez said, “I’m really happy with this win because we’ve worked very, very hard during the pre-season, in Qatar and here. Honda is working very well and I feel the support; we’re going in the same direction, and that’s the most important thing. It’s a special win, not only because it’s the first one of the year but also because with the team, we managed the situation very well, and after what happened in Australia on a similar occasion [in 2013], it was important for us to do well.

“I knew that the first part of the race would be tough because it was still damp in some places, and with the first bike I hadn’t felt as good as with the other one even during practice. I knew that the second part of the race was the key. I pushed 100 percent in the first five laps after the bike change, I opened a gap and after that I just kept the distance.”

2016 Argentina MotoGP Recap:

When the shortened 20-lap race began, the winner of the season opener in Qatar, Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, got to turn one first. Dovi and Pedrosa also got a great start, but Iannone’s GP16 contacted Pedrosa’s RC213V, pushing both back. Pedrosa was pushed outside of the top 10.

Dovi wasted no time and got into the lead, followed by his Italian compatriot Rossi. As Lorenzo kept falling back, Marquez pushed his way toward the front, taking the lead on the start of lap four. Before lap one concluded, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro – the only rider on a hard-rear Michelin (all others on mediums) – and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow crashed.

The next rider to wreck was Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda’s Jack Miller, who made his way up to fifth after passing Lorenzo. The three-time MotoGP Champion Lorenzo was next to crash out, losing the front end of his YZR-M1 with 15 to go.

As the race went on, Marquez and Rossi intensely battled as Iannone, Dovizioso and Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales diced behind. The first riders to pit on lap nine were Iannone and Vinales, followed by Pedrosa, Avintia Racing Ducati’s Loris Baz, Avintia Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera, Apsar Team MotoGP Ducati’s Eugene Laverty and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Stefan Bradl.

2016 Argentina MotoGP Results Repsol Honda Dani Pedrosa
Honda’s Dani Pedrosa

With 11 laps remaining, Rossi and Marquez pitted, and the young Spaniard was out first, able to use Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda’s Tito Rabat as a blocker, considering the Moto2 Champion had yet to pit. Marquez was then able to pull a two-second gap over Rossi and Vinales.

As Rossi fended off Vinales, the Ducati duo of Iannone and Dovizioso showed the strength of the GP15, eventually passing Vinales – who would crash when he hit a wet patch in turn 1 – and Rossi. As Marquez was comfortably in the lead, Dovizioso entered the last lap in second ahead of Iannone and Rossi. As these three battled, Iannone lost the front end and took out his teammate, with the two GP16 pilots going down. Iannone would DNF, but Dovi pushed his Ducati over the finish line to finish 13th.

This gave second to Rossi, who was followed to the checkered flag by Pedrosa. Laverty was handed fourth, who beat Barbera to the line by a mere 0.169 of a second. Rounding out the top 10 were Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro, Bradl, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Smith, Rabat and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. Despite his early crash, Espargaro was able to finish 11th.

Other riders who crashed were Apsar Team MotoGP’s Yonny Hernandez and Octo Pramac Yakhnich’s Michele Pirro. Both were unharmed, were the others who crashed.

The 2016 MotoGP Championship now heads directly to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas for round three of 18 – the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.

2016 Argentina MotoGP Results – Termas de Rio Hondo:

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 168.4 34’13.628
2 20 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 167.8 +7.679
3 16 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 166.2 +28.100
4 13 50 Eugene LAVERTY IRL Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 165.5 +36.542
5 11 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Avintia Racing Ducati 165.5 +36.711
6 10 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 165.4 +37.245
7 9 6 Stefan BRADL GER Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 165.1 +41.353
8 8 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 164.4 +50.709
9 7 53 Tito RABAT SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 164.4 +50.983
10 6 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 163.6 +1’01.388
11 5 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 163.0 +1’08.868
12 4 51 Michele PIRRO ITA OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 162.2 +1’18.987
13 3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 161.1 +1’33.419
Not Classified
29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Ducati Team Ducati 167.8 1 Lap
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 164.2 1 Lap
25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 167.5 3 Laps
45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Yakhnich Ducati 165.2 5 Laps
76 Loris BAZ FRA Avintia Racing Ducati 161.7 8 Laps
99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 167.9 15 Laps
43 Jack MILLER AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 166.8 17 Laps
68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 164.1 18 Laps

2016 MotoGP Point Standings (after two of 18 rounds):

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 41
2 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 33
3 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 27
4 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 25
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 23
6 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha SPA 19
7 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 18
8 Eugene LAVERTY Ducati IRL 17
9 Bradley SMITH Yamaha GBR 16
10 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki SPA 10
11 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki SPA 10
12 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia SPA 9
13 Stefan BRADL Aprilia GER 9
14 Tito RABAT Honda SPA 8
15 Scott REDDING Ducati GBR 6
16 Michele PIRRO Ducati ITA 4
17 Jack MILLER Honda AUS 2
18 Andrea IANNONE ITA
19 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR
20 Loris BAZ FRA
21 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL

2016 Argentina MotoGP Results – Photo Gallery