2018 Argentina MotoGP Race: Winning La Carrera Loca

Cal Crutchlow won what likely will go down as one of the most bizarre MotoGP races in recent history, a contest complete with a last-second reset of nearly the entire field of riders, the pole-sitter starting alone at the front of the grid, three in-race penalties for the race favorite and an outcome not seen in the top class since 1979.

Crutchlow's win, coupled with a no-points finish by Marc Marquez and a sixth-place by Andrea Dovizioso, put him in the points lead, the first time a British rider has led the championship since Barry Sheene in 1979.

Johann Zarco grabbed second place at Argentina's Termas de Rio Hondo track and briefly led the contest headed into the penultimate lap. Alex Rins, who also led the contest late, took the final podium spot, his best finish in MotoGP. And Jack Miller, the pole sitter who gambled twice with slicks, finished fourth after leading the race early on.

Maverick Vinales (5th) improved what had started as a dismal weekend for the Yamaha factory rider. The same could be said for Andrea Dovizioso (6th) who was well off the pace in the dry and only somewhat better in the wet. Tito Rabat had his best-ever MotoGP finish after a strong weekend for the satellite Ducati rider. Andrea Iannone took eighth, just in front of MotoGP rookie Hafzih Syahrin (9th) who had the best weekend of his early, top-division career.

Danilo Petrucci completed the top 10.

Pre-race confusion

The race hadn't even begun when it took a turn for the weird. Initially, all of the riders -- except one -- entered the grid with rain tires mounted. That single exception? Jack Miller, of course, the rider who took a risk with slicks on a damp track to claim pole position on Saturday. But as the grid waited, the track dried. Riders began returning their bikes to the garage for the switch to slicks.

Soon, only Miller remained on the grid. Under standard race rules, riders who return to the pits after gridding must start the race from pit row. But this left race direction with a problem: How do you safely start 23 bikes from the pits?

The answer is you don't, race direction decided. To give Miller the benefit of his early gamble to fit the bike with slicks, race direction elected to start Miller alone on the front row and move the entire grid of riders five rows back, giving the Australian the potential for an easy holeshot and early lead.

So, the grid was set. The start was mere seconds away when Marc Marquez stalled his bike. The Spaniard and reigning world champion leaped off his bike, pushed and (remarkably) bump-started it on his own. He u-turned the RC213V, regridded the bike and started with the pack.

The race

Miller, now with a five-row head start, grabbed the lead immediately. Dani Pedrosa took second followed by Zarco and Marquez. Marquez made quick work of the pair of riders in front of him and seized second within half a lap.

At Turn 13, Zarco dove inside Dani Pedrosa who was holding third at the time. But there was precious little room for the Frenchman to make the inside move. He forced Pedrosa wide and onto a wet patch of track. The veteran Honda rider high-sided immediately, his race ended on the first lap.

Zarco now was in third with Marquez already closing on Miller. Marquez grabbed the lead on the second lap.

But race direction was already huddled to discuss Marquez's start. When he stalled the bike, race direction had yelled at him to start from pit lane. Marquez either ignored or didn't hear the order. But in u-turning the bike, the world champion violated a rule so basic it is standard in club-racing: You cannot ride a bike against the established course direction. 

Out front and with 20 laps remaining, Marquez was riding away from the field with a 1.5-second advantage. That ended a lap later when race direction assessed him a ride-through penalty for the grid violation. Miller returned to the top spot. Marquez re-entered the race at 19th.

With 18 laps to go, Miller, Rins, Zarco, championship-leader Dovizioso and Crutchlow made up the top five.  At the rear of the pack, Marquez was on a tear, setting the fastest laps in the field. Then Marquez again earned the attention of race direction. He dove inside Aleix Espargaro, bumped and forced the rider wide. Race direction forced Marquez to give up the position and return to 19th. 

He did. And then Marquez began his second charge through both the field and race-direction's sensibilities.

Third time is the charm

With 12 laps to go, the front four of Miller, Rins, Zarco and Crutchlow had gapped the field. Rins passed Miller for the lead and then lost it again to the Pramac Ducati rider. With nine laps remaining, Rins seized the lead again. In the middle of the pack, Marquez passed Andrea Iannone for 10th. Two laps later, Marquez took eighth. 

Rins then ran wide allowing both Miller, Crutchlow and Zarco through. The front of the race now was Miller, Crutchlow Zarco and Rins. With six laps remaining, Crutchlow took the lead after Miller drifted wide. Miller faded into fourth, a position he would hold until the race's end. Marquez, with a shot at fifth place, locked onto sixth-place Valentino Rossi's tail with five laps remaining.

Then at turn 13, Marquez ended Rossi's day along with any chance for points by either rider.

Running laps significantly faster than the rider in front of him, Marquez suddenly charged inside as Rossi headed to the corner's apex. The bikes collided with Rossi getting forced wide. But because Marquez seemingly had overcooked the corner, he too drifted wide on Rossi’s inside flank forcing the Italian onto the wet grass where he low-sided immediately. 

Marquez now held sixth. Race direction (again) began to examine Marquez-inspired video.

At the front, the pace heated up into a three-rider war. Zarco passed Crutchlow for the lead. Then Rins passed Crutchlow. Crutchlow returned the favor half a lap later and set his sights on Zarco. With less than two laps remaining, Crutchlow put together two of his fastest laps of the race, repassing the Tech III Yamaha rider at Turn 4 and taking the lead for good. 

Marquez pipped Vinales on the second-to-last corner for fifth, initially. But after race direction examined the incident with Rossi, they docked the Marquez 30 seconds, putting him in 18th. Rossi remounted and finished 19th.


Pos. No. Rider Bike Time / Diff. 
1 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 40'36.342  
2 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha 0.251
3 42 Alex RINS Suzuki 2.501
4 43 Jack MILLER Ducati 4.39
5 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 14.941
6 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 22.533
7 53 Tito RABAT Ducati 23.026
8 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki 23.921
9 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha 24.311
10 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 26.003
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 31.022
12 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia 31.891
13 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 32.452
14 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda 42.061
15 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 42.274
16 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati 42.625
17 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda 43.35
18 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 43.86
19 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 52.082
20 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +1'03.944
21 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati +1'10.144
Not Classified      
  38 Bradley SMITH KTM 7 Laps
  41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 11 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap    
  26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 0 Lap
Round Number: 
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This was one for the ages. I don't know of any rider getting three penalties in one race.

What a weird race! very happy for crutchlow, mixed feelings for zarco (sad but happy enough still), totally bummed for miller!
happy for Rins, totally feeling it for vale, bit angry with marquez, seemed like the pre-20 years old MM was back from never being away... the way he barged passed aleix, taka, vale,... classic MM, not a fan for this exact reason, just to be clear...
poor old danny and what happened to george?
a shame for dovi but in the end... not so bad.
good luck David!

CC JZ AR JM really gave a great great race to watch

to bad MM was over agressive, he was fast enough to wait 1 corner for more riders 



While I greatly respect Marc's riding skill, his NASCAR-esque treatment of fellow riders today was as bad a show as we've seen in some time ...  a rider's desire to win should not overcome some basic decorum and regard for a fellow rider's safety.  I'm thinking that a 30 second penalty is not sufficient for this.

Well ... that was fun. The bikes are back!
Marquez' 30 second penalty should be applied to the next race, not this one.
In fairness, they both have a bit of history of rubbing people up on track, this is not exactly undeserved on Rossi's part, he's done plenty of things at least that bad, but ... he was the innocent party this time.
Stop (breathe) - First, congratulations to Cal. He did well.
Second, great job by Jack. He had a monumental moment there and backed off a touch, so he didn't throw it all down the road. 4th under those circumstances is nothing to be ashamed of at all.
Zarco & Rins both doing excellent work.
Rossi ... on this occasion, didn't deserve to have that done to him.
Uccio, for once, I rather think the fat mate did the right thing. I'd have told Marc to fkcu off too.
Marquez ... go back to when he was racing moto2 and he used to do this kind of shit all the time. There's no question, he is the best and fastest rider in the world at the moment, but you can't just bulldoze people like that! If he was racing British superbikes, they'd have tarred & feathered him by now, torn up his visa & told him to fkcu off back to Spain. I raced at D grade beginner level, and I know full well if I started banging into people like that I'd a been told to fkcu off and don't come back!
Carl Foggarty was a bit of a bastard for this kind of thing, but Foggy wasn't as bad as Marquez is. Trying to find words... You don't bite the other man's ear off, no matter how much you think he's a cheat. You don't carry a knife or half a bottle into the boxing ring, because that's just now how the game is played. And it doesn't matter if you're 57 times world champion, you do stuff like that you should be banned from the next couple of races.
Rossi is no saint either, he's done a few things like this in the past. Up to a point, I guess it's karma, but ... shouldn't happen to anybody.

in advance and unchangable short of anything but devine intervention, but if I was Yamaha management, I would tell Uccio to stay out of sight of the cameras - he just made the Rossi camp look churlish - after all, Stoner accepted Rossi's apology after Jerez in 2011.

Lin Jarvis should have (literally) stepped forward in front of Uccio and accepted the apology, since it would have been the "cricket" thing to do.

Even as a VR fanboy I’ll agree he’s dished it out himself in years gone by (I’m sure Sete would back me up) but somehow with more justification, if that’s possible. The Jerez incident was for a race win on the last corner, and somehow more understandable. But I digress - he still ought to have been the bigger person and allowed Márquez to atone. While I didn’t like stoners retort, it sure as hell took vale down a peg or two.

Many keep speaking about Rossi's past misbehaviour, but come to cite they always recall the last curve in 2005 with Sete Gibernau. In fact, Rossi has been a pitiless rider but not an incorrect one, while Marc's career has seen plenty of barbarities. By the way: the famous Rossi's kick to Marc in Sepang in 2015 never happened: not my words but Lorenzo's father.

Many keep speaking about Rossi's past misbehaviour, but come to cite they always recall the last curve in 2005 with Sete Gibernau. In fact, Rossi has been a pitiless rider but not an incorrect one, while Marc's career has seen plenty of barbarities. By the way: the famous Rossi's kick to Marc in Sepang in 2015 never happened: not my words but Lorenzo's father.

Dani Pedrosa drew the short straw again. By the end of the race I'd forgotten it was Zarco that pushed him out.

It's strange I feel, you have MM punting and barging at riders, getting some penalties. You then have JZ do it right at the start to Pedrosa, but nothing happens, not even a drop place penalty. Short straw again for DP

Putting aside the shenanigans, if everyone had started on slicks I think this is more or less what we’d have got anyway and the racing at the front was fantastic. When did we last see three satellites fighting for the win? However...

Miller was probably robbed of at least a podium and possibly a win. I don’t know what everyone else starting from pit lane would have been worth but it must be more than the couple of seconds he was given.  No account was taken of a ‘normal’ pit lane start scenario, where the riders have to wait until all the bikes on the grid have gone by. Ordinarily that must give the front row 10 or 20 seconds head start.

I say possibly because Márquez would have probably caught him anyway, though may have binned it en route.

As for Márquez, a 30 second penalty doesn’t really cut it for me. I don’t know what the right, but fair, penalty would be but this wasn’t one moment of madness or misjudgement, it was one rider showing an almost total disregard for the harm that might come to others. It isn’t even as though that would have been his only opportunity to pass these riders.


that if racedirection had decided to penalize Marquez with a last starting position for next race (like they did with Vale two years ago, when it was an intentional obstruction), they should face the same Marquez soap next race :-)

Still a bit sour to let Marquez end the race justnone spot before Rossi... even if it does not matter pointswise

With race direction making it up as they went along, and creating a z-grade script out of it, Miller should have received a way larger advantage.  Five grid levels doesn't cut it and seems to have been to facilitate gridding up every other rider who made the wrong tyre choice, rather than dispensing the proper reward to the sole rider who did.


Shambolic and disgraceful, and in the end, much of the events that followed evolved out of those shambolic decisions.  Race Direction should be under review ASAP.

Firstly, Marquez took no points from this race, which I think is the correct result. Secondly, he should probably start from the back of the grid for next race for multiple offenses. This of course puts him in the same situation of trying to rush through the field, so he should also be advised in advance he'll be black flagged for his next illegal pass. That puts race direction in an uncomfortable position of calling hard vs illegal passes, but it seems appropriate to the situation. 

Secondly, it seemed like Puig was leading the way to Rossi's garage and that makes me wonder if that was his initiative, and what he thinks about the whole matter. He seems like the sort to have a... definite opinion about things.

Lastly, how incredibly self-destructive of Marc to do all of this in a race he was clearly favorited to win, and at the beginning of a championship where he is (was) probably the strongest contender. I had started to think there was "old Marc" and "new Marc" but maybe not.

The net effect is that it overshadows what had been a very good race at the front, with unexpectedly outstanding results from Rins and Miller not to mention other satellite riders like Rabat and Syarhin. 

will be much happier with Puig doing the right thing (whatever his internal motives) than Important Yamaha People in Japan will be with Jarvis not doing the right thing at the moment.

Does make one wonder if Honda saw a silver lining in Rossi leaving for Yamaha, in that the "circus" was no longer their problem, and if there are some regrets at Yamaha for having the "circus" back as a condition of the Movistar sponsorship?

But how is his competitivness an excuse for that kind of behavior? 

it's even worse than that. Rossi was actually the fastest rider this weekend. He was sandbagging through the practice sessions and Qualifying so that he would be mid pack during the race. Then he bribed God to make it rain, bribed Honda to rig Marq's bike to stall on the grid, bribed the marshals to give Marquez mixed instructions, bribed race direction to give him a ride through, and bribed the grass to still be wet so he would have an excuse for his deliberate crash... which definitely wasn't caused by Marquez. Take Rossi's advice: Stay of the grass. 

Wow.. That's very convincing theory. I think you are right. I mean, when you look at the replay, you can see rossi's front tyre touch wet grass. Everyone knows wet grass gives you more grip than the asphalt right? Yeah, i think rossi do it deliberately 

The grid decision, while warped, was the only practical (read safe) solution. You cannot have 23 riders start from the pit lane, and for the same reason each row of the grid doesn't line them up 12 abreast...no elbow room (these beasties do jump around sideways a bit). Add to that the fact that pit exits are usually lined by very hard, unpleasant objects not designed for fairing-banging competition use. Sorry for Miller, but the race isn't supposed to be decided by the rider who picks the lucky number. A good team call should be rewarded, but a smart grid decision is, at best, the tail...not the dog. And we should always be mindful of who is wagging what when it cmes to racing. When conditions change rapidly enough to call safety into question...then doing the bleeding obvious is always the right decision, even if it looks weird and a bit unfair to Happy Jack. In the end, I am more glad that Jack seems at ease on a bike he can show his talents with, rather than his remarkable abillity to pick the right tire selection 20 minutes into the future.

MM - Two grid penalties. The first, for pushing backwards to his grid slot, should have resulted in the pit lane start. Never going counter to traffic is so inviolable a racing requirement that its original source is probably some Burning Bush. The second, ignoring Race Direction, should always be an automatic Black Flag (Marc does claim that he was given contradicting directions from two different marshals on the grid, and I believe him. One said "get off the grid" and the other said "get the fuck off the grid"). It's a good deal they scrapped the old penalty points system, as I would have MM at +1 for ramming Espargaro, +2 for ramming and unhorsing Vale, another +1 for proceeding counter to traffic, and another +2 for ignoring race direction = 6. Four used to get you a back of the grid penalty at the next go, so that is what I think should happen in Austin. What actually happens is anyone's guess.

Glad Dani is OK, that Dovi is clever, lucky, and good, that Vinales escaped (or at least temporarily postpones) his date with a medically supervised dose of "charging rhino" strength tranquilizers, and that the four at the front were entertaining as all get out. And hats off to Tito and Hafizh for a pair of great rides, well done lads.

PS - Uccio should just shut the fuck up. It is a rider's quarrel, and last I checked Uccio didn't race today. The character of Iago is never a heroic one, but even Iago didn't charge about smacking people with his handbag to compound his sins.

PPS -Rossi swears more in English than his native Italian. Proof again that there are far too many Ozzies and Kiwis hanging around the paddock. And neither Vale nor MM covered themselves in glory at their post-race performances. Vale seemed to enjoy twisting the knife just a bit too much, and Marc sounded like the man who murdered both his parents and then asked for our understanding...and sympathy...because he is now an orphan.


Uccio didn't race today, and neither did it Marc's father and Emilio Alzamora who accompanied Marc to box 46. 

In addition to the ones you mentioned (riding in the opposite direction of the track and not obeying instructions) you have MotoGP regulations 1.18, item 13 - "Any rider who stalls his engine on the grid or who has other diffculties must remain on the motorcycle and raise an arm. It is not permitted to attempt to delay the start by any other means."

more deserving of a penalty than Canet's on Yurchenko?

(Not an argument for Márquez not being penalized, but rather that race direction needs to be more consistent, or at least explain their decisions.)

That was crazy. Happy for the top three and definitely disappointed in Marc. David I wish you the best of luck on this one. It's going to be tricky working through all this crazyness. I'll save my comments for your roundup :-) 

Firstly, not defending Marquez at all, but he is a clever fellow. Given he knew that the end of the grid was effectively 'pit lane' is it possible he ignored officials because technically he is already starting from pit lane?

Zero points after a weekend in which Marquez had half a second over the field should be enough to make him calm down. Especially when he should have left with a huge points lead over Dovizioso and all other rivals. I hope I somehow filter the rants though. Rossi and his fans have a very curious selective memory. I would not be surprised if Marquez were slapped with a grid penalty before COTA.

Cal had a near perfect race. His most impressive win so far. Fast mature and contained, kudos. Zarco can't be faulted either, it was a Honda track afterall. I hope he gets his first win soon enough. Rins, welcome to the champagne club. It all seems to be going in the right direction with him. Fourth might not be what Miller wanted, but this was still his best weekend all the way since Assen 2016.

What a weekend. Hard to organize it all to write about it.

David will have to split his write up and podcast in two.

if during his press conference Rossi wasn’t offering an implied threat to Dorna. When he said ‘I am not having fun, I am scared’ I think he was telling Dorna to take action or else. He has said he will ride up until he no longer enjoys it. 


The big winner today? Dovizioso. Only three points behind Crutchlow while rivals Marquez, Rossi and Pedrosa went home with zero points.

Weirdest single GP I can remember.
Antiipation of Italian - Spanish blood curdling shite renewing (look at the one star gem above for instance) a-la late 2015/early 2016 has me wincing.

This brings out the worst in fans. Let's take the high road. Perhaps start by applauding Cal, Zarco, Rins, Suzuki, and Miller. That was a great show!

Eh, good luck David as well! And all of us really.

What an incredible race is all I can say. So much drama and being on the edge of my seat until the finish made it even better. My poor dog was in a tizzy not having any idea why I was screaming at my computer (I was wearing headphones). As to MM93. What an idiot. He needs a good smack in the head and I wish Rossi had come out and given him one rather than sending Ucci to tell him to piss off. That was pretty sad. Can’t wait to read David’s behind the scenes report!!!

I honestly feel terrible for Cal, Zarco, Rins, and Miller. They all rode incredible races in incredibly difficult conditions, and it's all overshadowed by Marquez. What can be done about MM93? He could have very easily killed someone today. Some are saying Rossi dug too deep in the presser, but people have died in MotoGP as a result of far less reckless behavior than what Marquez exhibited today over the course of the race. Never mind the points, the championship. Is it even safe to have him on track anymore? I thought after years and multiple championships he would calm down a bit. Apparently not. If I were any rider on that grid, any rider at all, I'd be furious with him. He's taking their lives in his hands and he has no regard for the safety of others. Something must be done. I'm glad it's not my job to figure out what it is, but the penalties in the race weren't sufficient. He will do it again.

Cal Crutchlow calling the media members not present at the post-race conference "disrespectful".

Appears he thinks the riders finishing on the podium should have more attention than those finishing in 18th and 19th positions.

their heads off.  Using another bike as a mobile berm, tick.  Knocking another rider off and going to apologise afterwards but bringing along the media scrum, tick.  While they may appreciate the irony I am pretty sure they would have to agree with VR that MM needs to reign it in.

The irony would only be greater if Marquez were given penalty points for his actions instead of drop back and ride through penalties.

I must say, there's a big difference between clocking a controversial "racing incident" every couple of seasons versus 3 penalties in one race and ramming multiple riders. I'd love to see a list of Rossi's transgressions versus Marc's. I'm pretty confident of which one is longer, even given the different lengths of their careers. 

Can't help but feel Miller was ripped off big time, the race should have started & others made to pit for slicks. He would have won if that was the case, even if the rules were followed with all other riders starting from pit lane he would have prob won. The forward grid position was prob only worth 1sec advantage.

MM vs VR what fun.

Well as a race this was good but for quite a few wrong reasons.  I'm glad that the 3 riders on the podium weren't the usual suspects.  But Mike Webb et al must really think long and hard about how they reprimand riders who behave dangerously.  I watch this sport simply because it's gladitorial, you see the riders working, doing some of their magic, falling down then getting up remounting and continuing on.  Something which F1 and BTCC cannot deliver.  The grid debacle (I'd use other words but not here) simply should not have happened.  Some other way of lining up the riders in the pit could've been done relating to the point where they wheeled their bike of the grid maybe?  And have them leave line astern, this way Miller would have had the correct result his choice/gamble deserved.  Then Marquez, to see a rider ignore the rules at the start, delay the start and ride the wrong way down the grid and get away with it, a ride through was simply not enough.  You could see the way he was riding before the penalty, he was faster than everyone else, maybe trying to pre-empt the inevitable penalty?  Then the red mist descended and the banger racing started.  I only saw the Espargaro and Rossi shouldering, but the behaviour wasn't acceptable.  An black flag should've been issued after the Rossi incident, although to knock Rossi off was maybe payback.   His riding was of another world until he encountered another rider and then it was amateur time.  

I was lucky enough to be at Indy in 2005, shit race but so memorable.  This race was different as it was a race, Cal, Zarco, Rins, Miller and the other riders saw to that, except Marquez, he was agressive and arrogant.  He's over stepped the mark now and needs pulling back before someone is seriously hurt or worse.  

I think the thing that stood out most for me was the total disregard that MM showed to pretty much everyone on the track. The dismissive "sorry" hand wave as he forced people off line into the wet with no concern as to whether they crashed or not was salt in the wounds. His riding was beyond what is acceptable - it was clear that all he was concerned about was getting to the front no matter the cost. If it had been one rider, then that would have been one thing, to do it more than once was pretty shocking.

As for the apology, in English, you "offer an apology" - meaning it doesn't have to be accepted, and considering the past history between the two, it was not a surprise that it was robustly declined (and with Puig there, it did feel like it was more for the camera's benefit than anything else). A public arguement with the possibility of an all in fist fight between teams, is not what the sport needs and if Rossi didn't want to look at Marquez at that moment - then that's his prerogative, he was the wounded party.

That said, the inflammatory remarks afterwards didn't help. As dangerous as Marquez was/is, I don't honestly believe he intended to make Rossi (or anyone else) crash. We can now look forwards to a lot of booing, bad feeling and complaints about just about everything. Rossi's hardcore fans are devoted boardering on cult-like - and you can bet they'll let Marquez know exactly what they think of him at every possible opportunity.

Was there an option there for the riders to start the sighting lap from pit lane, but then form up in their grid positions for the actual start? Or if they had done that, would they all have had to start from the back of the grid? 

Nevermind. Explained by David in the next post.

Very light penalties, I think, the ones handed out to the child.

During a time like this, and for the good of the sport, it is crucial for the governing body to strike with stern authority.  Apparently, it is becoming harder and harder for this DISgoverning body to mask its tight relationship with some of the more prominent protagonists.

Shame, really.

Very light penalties, I think, the ones handed out to the child.

During a time like this, and for the good of the sport, it is crucial for the governing body to strike with stern authority.  Apparently, it is becoming harder and harder for this DISgoverning body to mask its tight relationship with some of the more prominent protagonists.

Shame, really.

I think his fear threshold is incredibly high. When it's high for his own safety it's not such an issue but it seems to translate into a lack of consideration for the safety of others.