With the 2017 MotoGP season getting underway, Round 2 of the Championship took place this weekend at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina.
Pre-race speculation suggested that three-time World Champion, Marc Marquez, was the man to beat around the 2.98 mile circuit. Marquez looked as though he was going to do the business after he put his Repsol Honda on Pole Position after Saturday’s qualifying session.
British hopeful, Cal Crutchlow, also qualified strongly as he finished up third on the grid heading into Sunday’s race. Crutchlow had previously had a taste of success at this event as he was a podium finisher in Argentina back in 2015 and was surely aiming to repeat this feat two years on.
After a lacklustre qualifying session, many of the so-called front-runners failed to capitalise and make it onto the first few rows of the grid. Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and the eventual race winner, Maverick Viñales, struggled to come to grips with conditions in Argentina. A poor showing from the MotoGP stars resulted in them having to launch their attack from further down the field come Sunday’s race.
As the race got underway in dry conditions, Marquez looked like a man on a mission. He seemed to have re-gained his confidence after his spill in the morning warm-up. After 3 laps Marquez looked to be well away at the front after opening up a 2-second lead from Crutchlow in second.
Just when it looked like Marquez had it in the bag, disaster struck. The Spaniard crashed out of the lead at turn two leaving the door open for Crutchlow, Viñales and Rossi to battle it out for the podium positions. Honda team-mate and fellow countryman, Dani Pedrosa also crashed out of the race whilst in a steady fifth position. Both riders’ were critical of the new Michelin tyres indicating that a lack of temperature in the rear was the reason for them ending up in the gravel.
Some great battling between the front three saw Viñales make it two from two, to get his season off to the best possible start. Yamaha teammate, Valentino Rossi and Satellite Honda rider Cal Crutchlow completed the podium positions, finishing second and third respectively.
In a post race interview Viñales said, “It is great to get another win under my belt, my bike was working well and I hope this is a sign of things to come.”
Both Honda and Ducati struggled this weekend as Pedrosa, Marquez, Dovizioso and reigning world champion, Jorge Lorenzo all crashed out of the race.
At this early stage many people have indicated that the Yamaha boys will be hard to stop this season.
Round three of the Championship takes place in North America. Viñales will be searching for his hat-trick of wins in Texas.
However, the main question is, who can rain on his parade?
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