Round 02 Argentina

  • Crutchlow Wins on Historic Day for Honda

    Cal Crutchlow made history, winning Honda’s 750th Grand Prix victory at the end of a thrilling battle with Frenchman Johann Zarco and Spaniard Alex Rins at Termas de Rio Hondo.


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Crutchlow Wins on Historic Day for Honda

TERMAS DE RIO HONDO, Argentina, April 8, 2018

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) made history today, winning Honda’s 750th Grand Prix victory at the end of a thrilling battle with Frenchman Johann Zarco and Spaniard Alex Rins at Termas de Rio Hondo.

Honda’s latest milestone in the premier category of motorcycle racing comes almost exactly 57 years after Tom Phillis won the company’s first Grand Prix victory at Montjuich Park in Barcelona, Spain, on April 23, 1961.

But while Crutchlow took MotoGP glory for the third time in his career, the Argentine Grand Prix was less successful for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), who had dominated practice and were both expected to be in the battle for victory.

Pedrosa started from the front row, only to fall on the first lap, following an incident with Zarco. Marquez started from the second row and rode at an astonishing pace but finished outside the points after suffering several penalties.

The second round of Grand Prix racing’s 70th season was certainly worthy of history – it was a thriller from start to finish. The 24-lap race got underway late, due to changing track conditions that caused 23 of the 24 riders to leave the grid to switch to slick tires. The race finally got underway on a track that was still damp in many places from earlier rain. Marquez took the lead on the second lap, riding at amazing speed, despite the treacherous conditions. However, he was given a ride-through penalty for a grid infringement, which dropped him out of the fight.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

That left a four-way contest for the lead between Crutchlow, Zarco, Rins and pole-starter Jack Miller, who later faded to leave the other three swapping positions until the very end. Crutchlow rode a superb race, saving his tires at the back of the group and only pushing forward in the final stages, when each of the trio took turns in the lead. His winning advantage over Zarco was just 0.251 seconds, with Rins a further two seconds back.

Afterwards Crutchlow praised HRC for its winter development program that has made the RC213V both faster and easier to ride. This was the 32-year-old Briton’s third MotoGP victory, all with Honda RC213V machinery, following his successes in the 2016 Czech and Australian Grands Prix.

Marquez’s ride-through pushed him back to 19th position on lap seven, but once again his pace was miraculous. He fought his way up to fifth place at the checkered flag but had a 30-second penalty imposed upon him – for a collision with former World Champion Valentino Rossi – which dropped him to 18th and out of the points.

Two of Honda’s three MotoGP rookies did make it into the points. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) and Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) were riding only their second races in the premier-class but finished 13th and 14th, ahead of the final points-scorer, former MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. These were impressive results considering the tricky conditions.

Nakagami rode particularly well. The 26-year-old former Moto2 race winner made steady progress, climbing into the point-scoring positions at two-thirds distance. His result was further cause for celebration in the LCR Honda garage. 

Reigning Moto2 World Champion Morbidelli scored his points despite making the wrong tire choice. The 23-year-old Italian recovered brilliantly from a slow start, which put him 22nd at the end of the first lap, to cross the line nine seconds behind Nakagami and a fraction of a second ahead of Lorenzo.

Honda’s third MotoGP rookie Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) finished 17th. The 31-year old admitted that the weekend’s constantly changing weather had hampered his ability to adapt to the race conditions.

Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) scored a stirring victory in the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 race to take the lead in a World Championship for the first time since 2008! The 32-year-old Italian resisted a late charge from pole-sitter Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) to claim his 12th Grand Prix victory and establish himself as a leading title contender.

The third man in this battle was 23-year-old Portuguese Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) who twice took the lead from Pasini, only for the Italian to twice re-take the advantage with out-braking maneuvers. These moves allowed Lorenzo Baldassari (Pons HP40 Kalex) and Vierge to get ahead of Oliveira, but Baldassari faded in the closing stages, so Oliveira took the flag in third place, just behind Vierge and 1.4 seconds behind Pasini.

Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) finished fifth, ahead of Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing Tech 3), who achieved his best finish in the class. Rookie Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) scored a fine seventh-place result after qualifying 17th. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing KTM) was eighth, ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who won last month’s season-opening race in Qatar.

The Moto3 race kicked off the day’s action at noon when the track was still mostly wet from heavy morning rain. Most of the pack chose rain tires, but pole-sitter Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) switched to slicks on the grid, while Qatar winner and championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) pitted to change to slicks after the warm-up lap. Neither gamble paid off. 

Italian teenager Marco Bezzecchi broke clear from the first lap to comfortably win his first Grand Prix victory. The duel of the race came right at the end, between championship hopefuls Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) who crossed the line separated by less than two-tenths of a second. Italian Di Giannantonio had closed on Canet to make a move on the final lap, but the Spaniard defended well to collect his second consecutive runner-up position and the championship lead.

Behind the battling teenagers, Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) took some time to get comfortable in the conditions, steadily closing on the fight for second. Only a minor mistake on the last lap prevented him from mounting an attack in the final corners.

Adam Norrodin (Malaysian Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) went some way to making up for a heartbreak experienced at Termas two years ago when he fell from a podium position on the last lap, by finishing in fifth place, his best Grand Prix result.

Talented rookie Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) scored a sensational sixth place. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) was a strong seventh and Italy’s Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) finished eighth. 

Arbolino came home in tenth, a fine effort considering that he had to take special care with his slick tires on the damp track. Martin did brilliantly to come through to 11th, 25 seconds behind the winner, after starting the race more than 50 seconds in arrears. The results put Canet into the championship lead, with Martin dropping to second, ten points behind. 

The MotoGP circus now enjoys a weekend’s break before reconvening at the spectacular Circuit of the Americas, in Texas, USA, for the Grand Prix of the Americas on April 22.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

Comments

MotoGP

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 1st

“It was nice to win, but it was to be expected to be honest. I came into the weekend thinking I could leave here with a chance of being first or second with Marc and we ended up winning. I was comfortable in the battle, I felt I took no risks and stayed with riders that I probably could have dropped should I have needed to. We have to be pleased, the team has done a fantastic job in the last two races and I think we could have fought for victory no matter which circuit it would have been this weekend. Now we go to Austin and we’ll aim for the top five and look to come out of there with strong points. This year I said I wanted to win some races! It’s really nice to be part of that group of riders that have been able to win these 750 races for Honda. I’ve been supported very well by them in the last few years and this year the support is even better.”

 

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 13th

“I’m really happy for the team to see Cal’s victory today. Also for myself, I’m really happy to take my first points in MotoGP and finish in 13th place in a difficult race. There were some delays and rain which made it difficult to concentrate and the race was really long.
“But like in Qatar, our pace from the middle of the race to the end was quite good and I learned a lot of new things again. Thanks to the team; yesterday was a bit disappointing, but to go from last position to take my first points today I’m really happy. Now I’m looking forward to the next race in Texas and trying to make another step forward.”

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 14th

“We gambled a little with the tire choice, but our team made the right decision and did the correct thing, but we were not rewarded because they delayed the start. I was careful in the opening laps but gradually recovered some positions and I’m happy for these two points considering the problems that we’ve had here.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 17th

“I learned a lot this weekend with the crazy weather and track conditions. I am hoping for bigger steps to improve but at the end of the race I was too much on the limit and fighting with the bike, I had some slides on the wet part of the track. I had a nice fight with Franco to try and get in the points but, unfortunately, I just missed out.”

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 18th

“It was a tricky race, in very tough conditions, with several drawbacks. Just before the start I had an issue with the engine, which stopped. We’ll look into it later. Anyway, I put my hand up, but nobody was there. I was able to restart the bike and then I looked for some input from the marshals, as I wasn’t sure if, with the bike running again, I should go to my place on the grid or back to the pits. One marshal raised his hands, and a second one gave the thumbs up, which I interpreted to mean I could stay. When I saw the penalty message on the dashboard, I didn’t understand why, but I of course complied. Then I obviously tried push to recover and unfortunately I made some mistakes, the biggest one I believe being with Aleix. I approached faster than him and I didn’t realize it. I tried my best to avoid contact but unfortunately I wasn’t able.  I saw the penalty and, to be safe, gave up two positions, not just one, before starting to push again. With Valentino it was different, as it was a consequence of the track conditions. I touched a wet patch, locked the front, and released the brakes. I tried to turn, again making my best effort to avoid contact. When he crashed I immediately apologized. It was a racing incident as happened earlier with Zarco and Dani, and then with Petrucci and Aleix. It was a tricky Sunday. Of course today I made some mistakes, which I recognize. Other mistakes were made by Race Direction on the grid, and others were due to the difficult conditions, but one thing I know for sure: never in my career have I intentionally hit another rider.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: DNF

“There’s not much to say about the race. I think we did a great job during the weekend, and I was also riding very well. My race ended before I finished the first lap. Race Direction needs to look after every rider’s safety. Right now I have a lot of pain in my right wrist. I’ll have it checked again in Barcelona on Tuesday.”

Moto2

Mattia Pasini, Italtrans Racing Team: 1st

“It was a fantastic race. Honestly, it was a fantastic weekend because from the start I had a great feeling with the bike and could enjoy the ride. This is the most important thing. I knew I could be fast in the race, but the weather put some doubts in my mind. I made my rhythm in the race and tried not to make a mistake. In the end this was the best tactic. This is my idea for the rest of the season – take the best result possible home every weekend, because this was a weak point of mine in the past. This time I need to improve this and this is my objective.”

Xavi Vierge, Dynavolt Intact GP: 2nd

“I’m so happy with the pole position and a podium here in Argentina. I think we did a good job under these difficult conditions. I made a mistake within the first laps. When I wanted to pass Baldassari, I touched him. It was still a bit wet off the line and I lost control of the bike, but fortunately I was able to avoid crashing. But I completely lost the connection to the top group. I tried to be faster and catch up with them. But it was difficult because I always lost in the last two corners compared to them. In the end I did it and it was fun to fight with Mattia until the last lap. I tried everything to overtake him, but today it simply was not possible. This second position is very good and I would like to thank my team. Of course, our goal is to achieve such results also in the future and to continue to fight with the best riders.”

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 3rd

“I think that during today’s race I left the door wide open, above all on the final corner, and that caused me to lose positions at times. I knew that the race would be like it was, with many places where overtaking was possible. I felt very strong, I had pace and I had speed, but it was simply that my lines weren’t defensive enough. I had a bit of bad luck, I lost time and, when there were three laps to go, Vierge overtook me and I couldn’t do much more. With this podium the situation is very positive, we are taking a lot of points home and we have been performing as we habitually do. I’m very happy with this third place.”

Moto3

Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 2nd

“It was a race that we had to finish. I was determined to do so in the top positions. The track was drying out before the race, but we decided to start with the wet tire. I was able to escape from the group, but Fabio [Di Giannantonio] caught up with me on the last lap. I managed to protect my position and this second place feels very good for us. The important thing today was the points, and we took 20 from here.”

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 3rd

“I’m only half happy, because we could have done a bit better. The goal was to push hard straight from the get-go, because just like Bezzecchi we were on rain tires, but I lost a little touch with him. I play my cards best, but things were a bit chaotic in the pack and things went how they went and [Jaume] Masia’s touch was kind of expected… During the last lap, I did all my best to catch Canet, but it didn’t work. It’s good anyway; step by step we’ll get there.”

Enea Bastianini, Leopard Racing: 4th

“The race did not go as planned, but we managed to bring home some important points. The first laps were very difficult – I was struggling to open the gas on the damp surface. Later on there was a dry line and I was able to come back strong. This fourth place is definitely not the result we wanted, so we will try to do better in Texas.”

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Results

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 02: Argentina Race

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
2 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
3 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
4 Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
5 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
7 Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)
8 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
9 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
10 Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)
11 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
12 Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
13 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
14 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
15 Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)
16 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)
17 Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
18 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
19 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
20 Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)
21 Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)
RT Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
RT Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
RT Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
2 Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
3 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
4 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)
5 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
6 Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)
7 Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
8 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
9 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
10 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
11 Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)
12 Danny KENT (Beta Tools - Speed Up Racing)
13 Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)
14 Isaac VIÑALES (SAG Team)
15 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
16 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
17 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
18 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
19 Romano FENATI (Marinelli Snipers Team)
20 Hector BARBERA (Pons HP40)
21 Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)
22 Fabio QUARTARARO (Beta Tools - Speed Up Racing)
23 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
24 Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
25 Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)
26 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (SIC Racing Team)
27 Federico FULIGNI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
28 Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)
29 Eric GRANADO (Forward Racing Team)
30 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
31 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
32 Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)
2 Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
3 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
4 Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)
5 Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
6 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
7 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
8 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
9 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
10 Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)
11 Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
12 Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)
13 Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
14 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
15 Livio LOI (Reale Avintia Academy)
16 Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
17 John MCPHEE (CIP - Green Power)
18 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAP (Honda Team Asia)
19 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
20 Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
21 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
22 Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
23 Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)
24 Makar YURCHENKO (CIP - Green Power)
RT Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
RT Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
RT Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
RT Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
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