The sun had come out and track temperatures had risen to 37 degrees for the start of the MotoGP™ race at the Termas de Rio Hondo. The reigning MotoGP™ World Champion Marquez, along with CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, decided to switch to the hard rear tyre on the grid, unlike Rossi and Lorenzo who both decided to use the extra hard compound rear.
This would prove crucial later on in the race, but it was Aleix Espargaro who led the pack into turn one on the Team Suzuki Ecstar, but it didn’t take long for Marc Marquez to make his move for the lead. The Spaniard was able to make a break at the front almost immediately to lead by 0.8s at the end of the first lap.
Marquez took advantage of his hard tyres extra grip early on in the race to extend his lead to over 4 seconds, all the while though Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi was making his move through the field. “The Doctor” moved into 2nd place at the expense of Dovizioso on the Ducati Team GP15 with 15 laps to go.
Rossi then set about hunting down Marquez, as the Spaniard’s tyre performance started to fall away, and it suddenly became apparent he would be able to catch the Honda.
It was like watching a ticking time bomb as Rossi made huge in-roads into Marquez’s lead, finally catching him with just 2 laps to go. Marquez was not going to let the Italian pass him without a fight though, and in the ensuing battle the riders touched a couple of times, before Marquez clipped the back of Rossi’s bike and crashed out of the race. Although Marquez was not best pleased, Race Direction ruled it as a “racing incident” and took no further action.
This left Rossi on his own to take the victory by over five-seconds, with Andrea Dovizioso taking advantage of Marquez’s crash to claim 2nd. CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow left it until the very last corner to pass Andrea Iannone to claim the final podium place, managing to hold off the Ducati Team GP15 on the run to the line to take 3rd and finish as the leading satellite rider.
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo had no answer to the pace of the guys at the front, and finished in rather a lonely fifth place, over 9 seconds ahead of the Satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike of Bradley Smith in 6th.
Aleix Espargaro ended the race in 7th, ahead of his brother Pol, with Scott Redding and Maverick Viñales completing the top ten.
Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci finished in 11th, but was later given one penalty point by Race Direction for irresponsible riding that led Hiroshi Aoyama to crash.
CWM LCR Honda’s Jack Miller took the Open class victory as he finished in 12th, just 0.075s ahead of Hector Barbera on the Avintia Ducati and Athina Forward Racing’s Loris Baz, with his teammate Stefan Bradl in 15th.
Rossi now has a six-point lead over Dovizioso in the Championship standings, and is 30 points ahead of Marquez.