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How the MotoGP championship fuse was lit in Argentina

By Sajith B Warrier
Cal Crutchlow

Bengaluru, April 9: The Argentina Grand Prix, won by Cal Crutchlow, was one of the most chaotic races in the recent the FIM MotoGP World Championship history.

The British Independent Team rider won the race beating Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) to earn the distinction of winning the 750th GP for Honda.

But the headlines were shared equally, with drama for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the reigning champion accrued a number of penalties and clashed with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), with the fuse on the title fight now lit up and on full power.

The MotoGP championship fuse was lit, rivalries are heating up and Crutchlow heads to Texas as the points leader for the first time ever - the first British leader since the 1970s and an Independent Team rider to boot.

Marquez, meanwhile, faces a mountain to fight back - with his first zero of the year marked in the dramatic and extraordinary Argentina GP. Texan turf awaits the king of COTA on April 22.

Drama at start

Drama at start

There was drama even before lights out at Termas de Rio Hondo, with the conditions hard to judge and the race delayed as the majority of the grid went back into pitlane to switch tyres.

That left Alma Pramac Racing's Miller alone on pole after the Australian didn't need to switch, and the grid lining up a few rows back in order to not all start from pit lane.

Costly error

Costly error

Miller was in the lead initially before being hunted down by a group of three: Zarco, Rins and Crutchlow, and they were soon on the scene.

Back at the front, Rins led briefly before an error, and Miller then suffered his own - with Crutchlow able to move through to lead from Zarco and the three able to pull away from Miller.

Misjudgement

Misjudgement

The drama was far from done, however. On the fight back, Marquez had picked off Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and honed in on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo of first Rossi and next up Maverick Vinales, until the number 93 made a lunge up the inside of the ‘Doctor' - and misjudged it.

Both running wide and forced to sit up, Marquez was able to stay ahead - but the number 46 went down as he clipped the grass.

Restart

Restart

Rossi was in sixth place, trying to stick to the rear of the number-25 YZR-M1, when the nine-time world champion's efforts were disrupted when Marquez collided with him in turn 13 on lap 20, causing the Italian to go wide and crash on the slippery wet grass.

Though the Italian Rossi was able to re-join the race, he came no further than a 19th place finish, 52.082s from the front as the incident lit the fuse on the race and the rivalry once again.

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    Story first published: Monday, April 9, 2018, 14:26 [IST]
    Other articles published on Apr 9, 2018
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