Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) scored one of the most emphatic victories of his remarkable career in Argentina today. The five-times and reigning MotoGP World Champion dominated the entire weekend at Termas de Rio Hondo, but his talent and the performance of his 2019 RC213V were at their greatest this afternoon.
Marc Marquez (#93)
The 26-year-old Spaniard got the holeshot from pole position and the rest of the grid never saw which way he went. After one lap he was more than one second ahead and by the start of the 25th and last lap he had a 12-second advantage over the riders fighting for second place. That means he was half second per lap faster than anyone else during the race, even though he later admitted he wasn't riding at his maximum, because he had such a comfortable lead. Indeed he cruised across the finish line, already celebrating what he knew was a very significant victory and his most dominant in dry conditions.
Marquez's first win of 2019 and the 45th success of his MotoGP career moves him into the World Championship lead with two of 19 races done. Today's victory and his second place in the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix – just 0.023 seconds behind the winner – also highlight the progress made by his Honda Racing Corporation engineers and his Repsol Honda Team technicians with the latest iteration of the RC213V.
Honda's mighty 1000cc V4 has won five Riders World Championships and six Constructors World Championships since it was introduced in 2012. And today the bike achieved its 70th race victory, ahead of the next Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in the USA, where it is unbeaten in six visits.
This weekend the RC213V headed the top-speed figures for the second consecutive Grand Prix, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) reaching 334.4kmh/207.8mph along the track's 1.07km/0.69-mile main straight.
However, Crutchlow didn't get the result he deserved after another weekend of fine riding. The MotoGP Stewards Panel judged that the 33-year-old Briton had jumped the start, which resulted in a ride-through penalty. Without that controversial punishment, Crutchlow would almost certainly have finished in second position, because he rode the second fastest lap of the race as he fought back from his penalty to finish 13th, 31 seconds behind Marquez. A ride-through is usually reckoned to take around 30 seconds. Crutchlow had finished third in Qatar three weeks ago, so today's ill luck also cost him his position close to the top of the championship.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) was Honda's second best finisher of the day, the Japanese backing up a superb ninth place in Qatar with an even more impressive result at Termas de Rio Hondo. The 27-year-old from Chiba finished in seventh place, his best dry-weather result in MotoGP and further proof that he has a huge talent that grows stronger with each outing. Now contesting his second premier-class season, Nakagami is equipped with a 2018 RC213V, which he rides well enough to fight with factory rivals aboard 2019 machines.
Nakagami spent much of the race at the back of the group contesting second place. At the finish he was 7.6 seconds outside a podium finish, a difference of just three tenths of a second per lap, which suggests that the former Moto2 race winner has every chance of climbing a MotoGP podium for the first time this year.
Marquez's new team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) had another challenging weekend. Still affected by injuries sustained during offseason training and at the Qatar GP the 31-year-old Spaniard did well to make the Q2 qualifying session yesterday and take a fourth-row starting position.
However, Lorenzo completed the first lap in 21st place after mistakenly engaging the pit-lane speed-limiter at the start. Speed-limiters are fitted to all MotoGP bikes to ensure riders stay within the 60kmh/37mph speed limit when they are riding along pit lane. Lorenzo quickly realized his mistake but by then the rest of the grid had already swept past him, leaving him with a huge task ahead of him. The 31-year-old Spaniard, who has won the MotoGP World Championship three times, fought back with typical determination, overtaking many riders to move into the points shortly after halfway. By the finish he had made it into 12th place, less than two seconds outside the top ten. Lorenzo hopes for better luck next time out at COTA.
Up-and-coming Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex) made it two victories from two races in the Moto2 class. The 22-year-old broke clear of an early battle to take a perfectly judged victory ahead of Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team Kalex) and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex).
Gardner's first Grand Prix podium had a special significance because the 21-year-old Australian is the son of Wayne Gardner, who in 1987 became the second rider to win the 500cc World Championship for Honda.
During the final stages of the race Gardner and Marquez left Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM KTM), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex) to dispute the top non-podium places.
One of the best Moto2 rides of the day came from top rookie Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex), who finished the race in tenth position. This impressive result came three weeks after Chantra's Moto3 team-mate Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) won the Qatar Moto3 race to get the season off to a stunning start for Honda's Asian talent squad. Chantra's performance in Argentina underlines the strength of this project.
Tenth place in only his third GP and second Moto2 race was an amazing achievement for the 20-year-old Thai rider from Chonburi. Chantra made his World Championship debut in last October's Thailand Moto3 race and he had never seen the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit until he arrived in Argentina a few days ago. Chantra won the Asia Talent Cup in 2016, two years after Toba won the title. Today's result suggests a bright future for the latest Asian rider to make his mark at World Championship level.
Chantra's team-mate Dimas Ekky Pratama (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) didn't have such a great day. The 26-year-old Indonesian was only a couple of seconds outside the points-scoring places when he slid off during the first half of the race. He came into the pits for repairs, then bravely continued and finished the race, gathering important data that will be of great help as he continues his debut World Championship season.
Toba didn't back up his Qatar Moto3 success with another victory but he did retain his World Championship lead with a brilliant ride to tenth after a falling rider barged into him shortly after half-distance, demoting him to 18th position. The 18-year-old Japanese ace from Fukuoka kept his cool after the incident and steadily worked his way back towards the front to finish a mere 1.28 seconds behind the race winner Jaume Masia.
The race was another classic, with frequent changes of lead and the top 15 finishers covered by just 2.092 seconds at the flag, with five Honda NSF250RW riders in the top seven.
Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers Honda NSF250RW) was the first of those, the 18-year-old Italian taking his first podium finish in third place, 0.295 seconds behind Masia. Right behind Arbolino were Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW), Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW).
At least six different Honda men led the race, with local hero Rodrigo taking the lead as the pack raced towards the penultimate corner, only to cross the line in sixth place. The racing was that close! Arbolino was in the lead pack throughout and left his best to last to secure his first top-three finish at the start of his third World-Championship season.
Sasaki was the top Japanese rider in fifth, just over a tenth behind Antonelli and a fraction ahead of Rodrigo and Dalla Porta, who led the race at the start of the last lap and may have stayed there if he hadn't been pushed wide at turn five. Nevertheless, seventh place was enough to keep him second to Toba in the World Championship standings.
Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) also led the race. The 21-year-old Japanese finished in 13th place while the 24-year-old Briton was 21st after falling and remounting.
Toba's team-mate Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) ended his sixth World Championship weekend in 17th, just 0.258 seconds outside the points. The 18-year-old from Tokyo made a brilliant start and was in the points with three laps to go, only to lose out in the chase to the finish.
Round three of the 2019 MotoGP World Championships takes place at the COTA circuit outside Austin, Texas, USA on April 14. The U.S. round is the last of the flyaway events before MotoGP returns to Europe for a run of 11 races in Europe, starting with the Spanish GP on May 5.
Marc Marquez (the second from the right)
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st
“Today was a perfect day. I have been so concentrated since FP1 and everything worked well, just a tiny hiccup in FP4. But we kept pushing, 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.”
Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 7th
“I'm pretty happy about this result. The race was quite tough because I chose the soft rear compound. After the start I wanted to go to the front but I really struggled to find the grip from the beginning. It was a really tough race for me. But the race pace was consistent. But in last five laps I had to give up because I had no grip left. Anyway, I'm really happy with P7. It's my best MotoGP race in the dry. I want to say a big thank you to the team. They did a really great job this weekend. We are closing the gap to the top and we are really looking forward to Texas. I'm sure we can make another step forward in Texas and we are ready to fight for the next step.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team: 12th
“First of all I want to say congratulations to the Repsol Honda Team and Marc Marquez for winning this race. Marc has been fantastic all weekend. In warm-up we made quite a big step and I was able to be faster and I felt good for the race. Unfortunately we had some very unlucky things happen, at the start I hit the pit limiter and the bike wouldn't go. When I realized I was at the back so I had to fight through, I was able to move forward but we can't be happy with this result.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 13th
“First of all I want to thank my team for a great weekend and a positive race pace. I think we showed today that we were able to fight for the podium and also have a good, safe second place. The FIM Stewards said I jumped the start, which I completely disagree with, as do my team. We're disappointed with this ride-through penalty. But we accept this situation. We had to do the ride-through and I did the best I could for the rest of the race. We had a good pace. Now I need to continue looking forward to Texas where we plan to do another good race.”
Lorenzo Baldassarri, Flexbox HP 40: 1st
“I am very happy with this victory and after the good start in Qatar, it was important to reaffirm the good work we are doing. The weekend was not easy but I was sure I could have a good race. Thanks to the team for their good work, as well as to the sponsors. I also want to wish Augusto [Fernandez, his team-mate] a quick recovery, we are good friends, he goes very fast and I want him to be back on the track as soon as possible.”
Remy Gardner, ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team: 2nd
“We got a podium, finally! The team deserves it, I deserve it… everyone deserves it! We did a great race showing that we can fight. It was a very intense race with many overtakes. Unfortunately, we missed out on the win but anyway we finished second doing an awesome race so I am really looking forward to Texas and the rest of the year… I couldn't be happier!”
Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 3rd
“It was a difficult weekend but solid. We did a really good job. In FP2 I was struggling so much but we made a change and then straight away in FP3 I was going so well. A good weekend, but I still have some things to learn, especially when it comes to riding style and finding the limits of the bike. But anyway we did a good job all race. It was nice to be fighting with Remy [Gardner] during the race. It was good racing and everyone enjoyed it today. We knew it was important to be smooth in the beginning to try to be fast in the end. But when Balda [Baldassarri] made that push in the closing laps I wasn't in the right position to go with him. I'll study that for the future. Today he was the most intelligent one and I need to pay a little more attention in Texas and to learn from this experience.”
Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 10th
“Today was my first race at Moto2 category after the problem in Qatar. I am super happy to finish in 10th position! In the first part of the race I felt very good and I pushed fighting with many riders but in the last 10 laps I felt my arm getting very tight and I had to change my riding style to be more smooth. In the end it was very good. This could not be possible without my team that always worked hard for me. Thanks to my fans, thanks to the sponsors and Honda!”
Dimas Ekky Pratama, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 23rd
“I cannot be happy with this position, because I was fighting in 18th position. If I didn't crash I was sure I could have fought for the points. I changed my mind for the race, my motivation was high and I made a good start. I was pushing so hard to be with the group but I lost the front in corner 13. Thanks to my team they repaired the bike so I could go on track again. I would like to give thanks to all my fans for his support, sponsors and team. See you in next race at Americas GP.”
Tony Arbolino, Snipers Team: 3rd
“I am very happy for this podium, I have been waiting it for a long time and today I was feeling good. We worked well for the whole weekend and after Qatar, which was a difficult race for me, I worked hard. At the last lap when I have been overtaken, I thought for a moment that everything was lost but then I braked hard, opened the gas and got the podium,. I thank the team for the work done and even Romano as, after Qatar, he helped me a lot.”
Niccolo Antonelli, Sic58 Squadra Corse: 4th
“It's been a tough race. At the beginning [Aron] Canet and I had a good pace and we could have tried to take some advantage over the others but then I got stuck into the group. Due to the many contacts I had with other riders it was hard to stay calm but I managed not to lose many positions and I fished in a good fourth position. I am happy with the job done and we have to keep it going this way.”
Ayumu Sasaki, Petronas Sprinta Racing: 5th
“The weekend had been hard. On the first day I struggled a lot, especially because this circuit is not one of my favorites. We had to adapt the bike and change many aspects of the setup, something that meant we found it difficult to be up at the front. Both my crew chief and the entire team worked very well, never giving up and supporting me a lot. At this circuit you have to ride very smoothly, which is not my style, so we have had to improve in that aspect. After the warm up we made some changes that allowed us to start the race with much more confidence. In the race I focused on staying inside the Top 5 for as long as possible, because if you don't do that, you can get left behind in races which run in groups. I'm very happy to have been fighting at the front and I enjoyed the battle. On the last lap I made a small mistake that took me away from the podium, but overall the result is very positive. Now we are going to Texas, to a circuit that is better suited to my riding and where we hope to place on the podium.”
Kaito Toba, Honda Team Asia: 10th
“Finally, it was not bad because I continue as the championship leader but I was a little bit unlucky in today's race. At the beginning I was with the group fighting with many riders. I tried to push but conditions were not the best so I kept calm. At ten laps to go one rider crashed in front of me and I lost too much time to the group. I pushed so much and I caught them just with two laps to go. I passed some riders and finished 10th. I am a little disappointed but I have to learn for the next races.”
Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 17th
“I did a good start and I was with leading group. I was comfortable in the group as I expected. I am disappointed because one rider hit me. I didn't crash but my bike was damaged. I continued to push from the back, and I caught them but I was not able to fight to go in a better position. The good point is my motivation is high because I know I can be in the front group in a normal situation.”
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|4||Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)|
|5||Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|6||Danilo PETRUCCI (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|7||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)|
|8||Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|9||Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|10||Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|11||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|12||Jorge LORENZO (Repsol Honda Team)|
|13||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)|
|14||Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)|
|15||Johann ZARCO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|16||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|17||Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|RT||Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|RT||Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|RT||Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|RT||Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|RT||Karel ABRAHAM (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|1||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)|
|2||Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|3||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|4||Iker LECUONA (American Racing KTM)|
|5||Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|6||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|7||Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|8||Jorge NAVARRO (Beta Tools Speed Up)|
|9||Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|10||Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|11||Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|12||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|13||Khairul Idham PAWI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|14||Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|15||Jesko RAFFIN (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|16||Marco BEZZECCHI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|17||Jake DIXON (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|18||Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing)|
|19||Philipp OETTL (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|20||Dominique AEGERTER (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)|
|21||Xavi CARDELUS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|22||Joe ROBERTS (American Racing KTM)|
|23||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|RT||Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)|
|RT||Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|RT||Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|RT||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Beta Tools Speed Up)|
|RT||Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|RT||Thomas LUTHI (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|RT||Stefano MANZI (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)|
|RT||Xavi VIERGE (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|1||Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|2||Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)|
|3||Tony ARBOLINO (VNE Snipers)|
|4||Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|5||Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|6||Gabriel RODRIGO (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)|
|7||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)|
|8||Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|9||Marcos RAMIREZ (Leopard Racing)|
|10||Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)|
|11||Andrea MIGNO (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|12||Aron CANET (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)|
|13||Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|14||Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|15||Raul FERNANDEZ (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|16||Romano FENATI (VNE Snipers)|
|17||Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)|
|18||Tom BOOTH-AMOS (CIP Green Power)|
|19||Aleix VIU (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|20||Makar YURCHENKO (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)|
|21||John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|22||Riccardo ROSSI (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)|
|23||Kazuki MASAKI (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)|
|24||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)|
|25||Filip SALAC (Redox PruestelGP)|
|26||Can ONCU (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|RT||Vicente PEREZ (Reale Avintia Arizona 77)|
|RT||Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|