Cal Crutchlow wins in Argentina to lead MotoGP championship
MOTOGP Argentinian Grand Prix

Cal Crutchlow wins in Argentina to lead MotoGP championship

09/04/2018

Cal Crutchlow triumphed in a crazy MotoGP race in Argentina, which featured a bizarre start delay and a collision between rivals Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi.

LCR Honda rider Crutchlow prevailed over Johann Zarco, Alex Rins and polesitter Jack Miller in a breathless four-bike battle for victory.

The finish was set up when a rampant Marquez was forced to serve a ride-through from the lead after stalling on the grid and then riding back to his grid spot when he restarted his bike.

Marquez was charging through the pack following his penalty when he came up on Rossi.

He divebombed the Italian down the inside of the Turn 13 right-hander, barging the Yamaha out of the way and leaving Rossi to fall over on the wet grass on the outside of the circuit.

Earlier, the MotoGP warm-up and the support races had taken place on a gradually drying track, but it was soaked again ahead of the main event, with all riders - except for Miller - lining up on wets on the grid.

But with the track surface drying quickly and the scheduled race start time edging ever closer, riders began to pull into the pitlane en masse to switch to dry tyres.

As more and more abandoned their grid slots and began to queue up at pitlane exit, Miller was soon left as the only rider on the grid.

The organisers delayed the start, citing safety concerns, and following an impromptu team boss meeting, all riders but Miller were moved several rows back, leaving the Australian sitting solo at the sharp end of the grid.

The start was then briefly held up further by Marquez's issues, but the buffer allowed Miller to keep the lead on the opening lap.

He was then quickly reeled in and passed by the charging Marquez - who was two seconds clear when he was given the ride-through on lap five of 24, which dropped him down to 19th.

With Marquez out of the way, the top four of Miller, Rins, Zarco and Crutchlow broke away out front, escaping into the distance from the chasing pack that was led by Andrea Dovizioso.

The quartet ran in formation until Rins began to attack Miller - the pair trading places on several occasions before Rins made a move stick with nine laps to go - only to run wide one tour later and drop to fourth.

With six laps to go, Miller had a major moment at Turn 13 and gave up the lead to Crutchlow and dropped back from the lead battle.

Zarco soon overtook Crutchlow, but the Briton returned the favour with a slipstream pass on the penultimate lap - and held on to claim his third MotoGP win.

Rins celebrated his maiden MotoGP podium in third behind Zarco, while Miller settled for fourth.

Marquez passed Maverick Vinales on the final lap to take fifth, but was hit with a 30-second penalty that dropped him down to 18th.

Dovizioso, Avintia Ducati's Tito Rabat, Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone, Tech3 rookie Hafizh Syahrin and Danilo Petrucci (Pramac) made up the rest of the top 10 behind Vinales.

Rossi took the chequered flag in 19th, four places behind a struggling Jorge Lorenzo.

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