Santiago del Estero, Argentina – a MotoGP thriller at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo saw Honda’s Marc Marquez clinch his third win of the year, ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo.
The defending world champion got caught up in the crowd on lap one but played it patiently, picking off his opponents one by one to move up to second, and hunting down early leader Lorenzo to make the decisive pass eight laps from the end.
It was a good day at the office for the works Honda team as Pedrosa stayed in the frame throughout the race, eventually passing Lorenzo two laps from the end for second.
Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha team mate Valentino Rossi moved up into second early on, but ran wide twice and dropped to seventh before fighting his way back up to fourth.
Solid runs from Honda privateer Stefan Bradl and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Ducati) saw them finish fifth and sixth, 15 and 19 seconds respectively behind Marquez.
Yamaha Tech3 team-mates Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro were safely inside the top 10, which was completed by Ducati factory team leader Andrea Dovizioso and top Open Class rider Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) – just 0.073sec in front of Aspar team-mate Nicky Hayden.
Tito Rabat (Kalex) cruised to victory, taking the hole shot from pole and leading all the way from Xavier Simeon (Suter) and Luis Salom (Kalex). Rabat totally controlled the race to extend his championship lead to 28 points, crossing the line two seconds ahead of Simeon.
Salom got the best of a race-long battle for third, passing Simone Corsi (Forward KLX) in the final stages and putting in two fast laps to step onto the rostrum for the first time since his graduation from Moto3.
Corsi was in the frame in mid-race but dropped back after being mugged by Salom to finish behind Dominique Aegerter (Suter) for his third consecutive fifth place.
The top 10 was rounded out by Alex De Angelis (Suter), Mika Kallio (Kalex), Sam Lowes (Speed Up), Sandro Cortese (Kalex) and Jordi Torres (Suter).
A mistake from Johann Zarco (Caterham Suter) saw him drop second on the grid to ninth on the first lap and he ended up 18th.
Ricard Cardus (Tech 3) and Maverick Viñales (Kalex) crashed out early on; Viñales remounted, only to pull into the pits shortly afterwards, while Mattia Pasini (Forward KLX) retired with a technical problem in the early stages.
Romano Fenati (KTM) got the best of a nail-biting Moto3 contest, with Alex Marquez (Honda) and Jack Miller (KTM) joining him on the podium. The junior GP class produced another brilliant race with Fenati diving through at the final corner to take the win.
Marquez and Miller appeared to be unhappy with Fenati’s late move but the race result stood after it was reviewed by Race Direction, though the Italian was later given a one penalty point punishment for ‘irresponsible riding causing danger to other competitors’.
A brilliant ride from birthday boy Livio Loi (Kalex KTM) saw him clinch fourth from ninth on the grid on the day he turned 17.
Efren Vazquez held off an aggressive challenge for fifth from Alex Rins (each on a Honda) for most of the race, only to lose out at the line by just 0.123sec
The top 10 was completed by Isaac Viñales (KTM), Niklas Ajo (Husqvarna), Danny Kent (Husqvarna) and Enea Bastianini (KTM).