Three weeks ago at the 2019 MotoGP season opener in Qatar, the reigning five-time MotoGP Champion just missed out on the victory. The Repsol Honda pilot finished a mere 0.23 of a second behind the winner, Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.Both of these riders were the favorites heading into round 2 this weekend at Argentina’s Termas de Rio Hondo, but Marquez had the upper hand. In the previous five years when MotoGP visited the South American circuit, Marquez had claimed two wins.
He had those previous successes behind him and some built-up vengeance. He showed his strength during qualifying, claiming the pole by 0.154 of a second ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, and 0.164 ahead of Dovizioso.This strength continued Sunday during round two of 19; Marquez not led all 25 laps from pole and claimed victory by 9.816 seconds ahead of Monster Energy Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, who has on win at Termas de Rio Hondo (2015), and 10.530 ahead of Dovizioso.This was Rossi’s first podium since Sachsenring in Germany last season.This was Marquez’s 71st Grand Prix victory across all classes, and his 45th in MotoGP. He now has 45 points, four ahead of Dovizioso and 14 ahead of Rossi as the series breaks for two weeks ahead of round three at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, April 14.“Today was a perfect day,” Marc Marquez says. “I have been so concentrated since FP1 and everything worked well, just a tiny hiccup in FP4. But we kept pushing and in the race I knew that my strongest point was the first five laps.“I put everything in and then I saw the difference, one second, two seconds, three seconds and then I settled into my rhythm and pushed a little less. I managed the tires and the bike, it was a really sweet feeling with the bike.”Following is the official race report from MotoGP:Marquez took the holeshot from pole as Dovizioso pounced for second, with Vinales losing out from the middle of the front row and Rossi leapfrogging his teammate. Marquez immediately pulled the pin to make a gap, with Rossi then soon attacking Dovizioso but the Ducati rider holding firm.Jack Miller (Pramac Racing Ducati) was next to go on the offensive as he dived past the ‘Doctor’ but the move didn’t stick, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) getting past Viñales to tag onto the Australian. Chopping and changing, Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) was next to attack the number 12 Yamaha in the melee – before Miller took Rossi, and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) had a stab at getting past the number 46 too.It was a breathless tussle over the first two laps but one rider was then forced out of it: Crutchlow was given a Ride Through for jumping the start. That took him out of the battle as Dovi, Miller and Rossi found Morbidelli back on their tail and Rossi pounced on Dovizioso just as Morbidelli pounced on Miller in tandem. Spectacular though it was, it was shortlived as both Yamahas then headed wide and the ensuing shuffle reset the battle. Dovizioso and Rossi followed by Morbidelli, Petrucci, Miller and Viñales was the freight train fighting it out for the podium.As the laps ticked on the Dovizioso-Rossi battle lit up and started to pull away from those behind. Dovizioso blasted down the straights, Rossi made the most of the Yamaha’s forte in the corners…the two trading positions at times but able to stay ahead of the battle that now included Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) as he arrived on the scene from 16th on the grid.As that raged on, the last lap was a relaxed one for Marquez at the front. The reigning Champion completed his stunning performance and took his first win of the year, but the battle for second stayed tense to the line.Rossi lurked behind his prey for the first half of the lap, but at Turn 7 the “Doctor” struck to perfection. A block pass saw the Italian not only get past his compatriot but also create just enough of a gap to keep him ahead until the end; the result Rossi back on the podium for the first time since Sachsenring last season. Dovizioso, meanwhile, although forced to settle for third, achieved his goal of getting on the podium at a track that usually proved tough for Ducati – and he’s only four points off Marquez in the Championship.The fight for fourth saw Rins and Miller locked in battle and in the end, it was the Australian who took the spoils, coming home in the same position as last year and as a top Independent Team rider. Rins nevertheless took an incredible fifth after gaining 11 places, with Petrucci ultimately dropping into the clutches of Viñales and Morbidelli – and one last gasp of drama just around the corner for that trio.Viñales attacked Petrucci, Petrucci held him off and the two Yamahas behind then came into contact, suddenly both on the floor and sliding out as the Ducati escaped for P6. That meant Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) got an even bigger reward for a quality race as the Japanese rider capitalized for seventh, with fast Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) taking P8 and coming home as top rookie. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) took ninth and homed in on his pre-race goal of the top eight.The battle to complete the top ten was another stunner. It was Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) who won it and who takes the spoils, but the Spaniard had to do some serious looking over his shoulder for another KTM: that of rookie Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3). The Portuguese rider has been notable in 2019 so far, but less than two tenths off Espargaro and two tenths off the top ten made quite an impression as he scored points for the first time.The recovering Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) took P12, ahead of Crutchlow, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the points.Now it’s time for chapter three at the Circuit of the Americas, traditionally Marquez territory.
2019 Argentina MotoGP Results
2019 MotoGP Point Standings (after 2 of 19 rounds)
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!