MotoGP 2018: Victory at Argentina gives Cal Crutchlow championship lead

Team OD Published: April 09, 2018, 02:18 PM IST

Victory at a somewhat bizarre Argentina MotoGP race has ensured that Cal Crutchlow now leads the 2018 MotoGP championship. This makes him the first British rider to get to the head of the MotoGP championship standings since Barry Sheene in 1979. Finishing in second place behind the LCR Honda rider was Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Johann Zarco, while Alex Rins took third place for Ecstar Suzuki.

LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow notched his third MotoGP win, with victory at the Argentina MotoGP round

The Argentina MotoGP race was an unusual race to say the least. The start of the race was delayed because of safety conditions. Jack Miller lined up on the grid on slick tyres, while the rest of the grid was on wet weather tyres. The rest of the grid then decided to go into the pits and change tyres, because the circuit was drying up. This meant that Miller was at the head of the grid, having qualified on pole, while the rest of the riders started nine rows behind him, but in qualifying order.

There was further drama even before the race started, as Marc Marquez stalled his motorcycle on the grid, and then rode the wrong way down the track to resume his starting position on the grid. It would earn him a ride-through penalty, and would trigger a series of strange, some would say dangerous moves from the Spanish rider who seemed to be in a hurry to catch up. It would begin with a clash with Aleix Espargaro, that would result in a one-place penalty for Marquez.

There was a battle raging on at the front of the order though, with Crutchlow, Zarco, Rins and pole-man Miller scrapping for first place. While behind them Marquez was once again carving through the pack. However a move that saw him collide with Valentino Rossi at Turn 13 of the track, with just four laps left in the race, earned him a 30-second penalty. Marquez would end the race 18th, while Valentino Rossi, would remount his motorcycle and finish the race 19th.

Crutchlow's move into the lead of the race happened at the penultimate corner of the penultimate lap. Then it was up to Zarco, who'd been pushed down into second position, to try and recover the lead. But the British rider was fast enough to keep the Frenchman at bay. Crutchlow, on the LCR Honda, had the measure of Zarco, taking victory at the Termas de Rio Hondo. The win sees him go down in history as the rider who was responsible for Honda's 750th grand prix success. It was Crutchlow's third MotoGP win.

Crutchlow now heads the MotoGP standings with 38 points, while Andrea Dovizioso is second with 35 points, and Johann Zarco, with 28 points is third. LCR Honda moves to the head of the constructor's standings with 41 points, while Monster Yamaha Tech 3 is second with 37 points, and Movistar Yamaha ties with them with 37 points too.

MotoGP Argentina Results:

1. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda
2. Johann Zarco FRA Monster Yamaha Tech3
3. Alex Rins ESP Suzuki Ecstar
4. Jack Miller AUS Pramac Ducati
5. Maverick Viñales ESP Movistar Yamaha 
6. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team
7. Tito Rabat ESP Reale Avintia
8. Andrea Iannone ITA Suzuki Ecstar
9. Hafizh Syahrin MAL Monster Yamaha Tech3
10. Danilo Petrucci ITA Pramac Ducati
11. Pol Espargaro ESP Red Bull KTM Factory
12. Scott Redding GBR Factory Aprilia Gresini
13. Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda
14. Franco Morbidelli ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS
15. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Ducati Team
16. Alvaro Bautista ESP Angel Nieto Team
17. Thomas Luthi SWI EG 0,0 Marc VDS
18. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda
19. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha
20. Karel Abraham CZE Angel Nieto Team
21. Xavier Simeon ESP Reale Avintia
DNF Bradley Smith GBR Red Bull KTM Factory
DNF Aleix Espargaro ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini
DNF Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda


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