Bezzecchi wins maiden MotoGP race in Argentina

Bezzecchi wins maiden MotoGP race in Argentina

Marco Bezzecchi was the rider to break the record in a wet Argentina Grand Prix, giving Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP team its first-ever premier-class victory.

Pecco Bagnaia, the reigning MotoGP champion for Ducati, fell out of a nearly guaranteed second place and ended 16th, ruining the day for Rossi’s VR46 organization.

Bezzecchi, a prospective favorite in the dry, may have been excused for being shocked to see such severe rain, with Sunday’s race taking place on the day with the weekend’s worst track conditions.

Franco Morbidelli, who started on the second row, attempted to win out on the brakes but fell short, preserving the Ducati 1-2-3 from qualifying. However, Bezzecchi was already fastest in the rainy Sunday morning warm-up, and he took the lead from there coming into Turn 1.

Bezzecchi initially appeared to be under siege from poleman Alex Marquez after establishing an early six-tenths of a second lead, but that particular suspense was ephemeral. He had a two-second lead after five laps, which increased to two seconds after less than two laps, and eventually reached four seconds on the fourteenth of the 25th lap race.

The battle for second place quickly changed as Bagnaia attacked Marquez at Turn 9 the following lap. Marquez responded at Turn 11 but ultimately lost the position for good at Turn 13.

Yet only two laps later, Bagnaia, who appeared to have effectively consolidated second place, slid out of the race at the very same corner where he had past Marquez. Due to Bagnaia’s withdrawal, Marquez was once again in second place and had successfully closed the margin to third-placed Morbidelli.

Nevertheless, after Morbidelli strayed wide on the third-to-last lap, allowing Johann Zarco to pass, the Frenchman needed just one more lap to catch up to his fellow Ducati rider. This set up a dramatic last-lap battle that Zarco won under braking into Turn 5.

Zarco finished in second position, earning his 16th MotoGP podium while still searching for his first victory. Marquez settled for third, earning his first podium as a Gresini rider and completing a Ducati 1-2-3.

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Morbidelli finished the race in fourth place, followed by Jorge Martin of Zarco’s Pramac squad, who won a contentious early-race battle with KTM’s Jack Miller.

After being knocked from 10th place to the back by a Takaaki Nakagami divebomb at Turn 7 on the first lap, Fabio Quartararo rode an incredible comeback race to seventh place, cutting his way back through the pack.

The final three riders—Alex Rins (LCR Honda), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Ducati), and Luca Marini (VR46 Ducati)—had both previously finished in the top five. Rins and Di Giannantonio both battled early on in the top five.

Augusto Fernandez, a rookie with Tech3 Gas Gas, finished the race in 11th place and had a strong performance, taking advantage of the Aprilias’ disastrous performance after being the bikes to beat in dry practice.

Maverick Vinales finished the race in 12th after a shaky start, while Aleix Espargaro gradually collapsed to a miserable 15th, sandwiched behind Nakagami and Raul Fernandez (RNF Aprilia). RS-GP failed to display any notable performance in the race.

The 17-rider field was reduced by Joan Mir’s absence following his sprint race disaster, although Bagnaia wasn’t the only crasher; there were also other riders who failed to finish.

Brad Binder (KTM), who finished 15th to win the sprint, was knocked out of the race in the first lap after colliding with Vinales. He finished the race in last place.

The stewards looked into the Binder/Vinales crash and the Nakagami lunge on Quartararo during the race, however neither investigation led to any further action.

With Bagnaia’s crash, Bezzecchi now has a nine-point lead over Zarco and Marquez in the standings, making it a Ducati 1-2-3-4.

1Marco BezzecchiITAMooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)44m 28.518s
2Johann ZarcoFRAPramac Ducati (GP22)+4.085s
3Alex MarquezSPAGresini Ducati (GP22)+4.681s
4Franco MorbidelliITAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+7.581s
5Jorge MartinSPAPramac Ducati (GP23)+9.746s
6Jack MillerAUSRed Bull KTM (RC16)+10.562s
7Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Yamaha (YZR-M1)+11.095s
8Luca MariniITAMooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)+13.694s
9Alex RinsSPALCR Honda (RC213V)+14.327s
10Fabio Di GiannantonioITAGresini Ducati (GP22)+18.515s
11Augusto FernandezSPATech3 GASGAS (RC16)*+19.380s
12Maverick ViñalesSPAAprilia Racing (RS-GP23)+26.091s
13Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda (RC213V)+28.394s
14Raul FernandezSPARNF Aprilia (RS-GP22)+29.894s
15Aleix EspargaroSPAAprilia Racing (RS-GP23)+36.183s
16Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo (GP23)+47.753s
17Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM (RC16)+48.106s

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