Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez stormed to his third straight victory of the season with a hard-fought victory at the Argentine Grand Prix on Sunday.
Marquez dropped down the field despite starting in pole as three riders crashed out on the first lap. But despite briefly dropping down to third, the Spaniard fought his way back through the field to overtake Jorge Lorenzo and maintain his 100 percent start to the season.
Marquez had raced to his third straight pole position at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina on Saturday. The Repsol Honda rider recorded a time of 1 minute, 37.683 seconds to beat Yamaha's two-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo by 0.742 seconds in what was a masterful display.
|1.||Marc Marquez||Spain||Repsol Honda||41'39.821|
|2.||Dani Pedrosa||Spain||Repsol Honda||+1.837|
|3.||Jorge Lorenzo||Spain||Movistar Yamaha||+3.021|
|4.||Valentino Rossi||Italy||Movistar Yamaha||+4.898|
|5.||Stefan Bradl||Germany||LCR Honda||+15.029|
|6.||Andrea Iannone||Italy||Pramac Racing||+19.447|
|7.||Bradley Smith||Great Britain||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+24.192|
|8.||Pol Espargaro||Spain||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+29.118|
|10.||Hiroshi Aoyama||Japan||Drive M7 Aspar||+43.279|
Cal Crutchlow was out of the running after the British rider failed to recover from hand surgery following the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin Texas.
MotoGP's Twitter account posted this video of the dramatic start to the race:
But Marquez's chances of capitalising on that pole position were hit after a dramatic opening to the race that saw Alvaro Bautista and Danilo Petrucci crash out. Lorenzo capitalised in the mayhem as he passed Marquez, who dropped back into third. One lap later, Aleix Espargaro also dropped out following a crash.
|1.||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||Spain||75|
|2.||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||Spain||56|
|3.||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha||Italy||41|
|5.||Andrea Iannone||Pramac Racing||Italy||25|
Not to be deterred, Marquez regained second position despite briefly being overtaken by Yamaha's Valentino Rossi. The maverick Italian rarely fails to provide entertainment, and he was soon back down in seventh after running wide.
BT Sport tweeted this about the cat-and-mouse chase between Marquez and Lorenzo:
#MotoGP: Lorenzo leads, but Marquez is reeling him in. There's a certain inevitability about this.— BT Sport MotoGP (@btsportmotogp) April 27, 2014
The leading pair tussled for pole until Marquez finally passed his rival to take the lead with nine laps remaining. Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi trailed the leaders in third and fourth respectively.
From pole position, there was no danger of Marquez relinquishing his lead and recording a remarkable third straight win of the season. Indeed, Lorenzo dropped down the third after Pedrosa probed and found a gap to pass the Spanish Yamaha rider.
Here's a look at a video of the moment Marquez overtook Lorenzo, via MotoGP:
Marquez's dominance was confirmed as he charged across the line to take the chequered flag and establish a commanding lead in the MotoGP title race. The Spaniard now leads the title charge with a perfect 75 points from his three races.
MotoGP tweeted this following Marquez's victory:
Pedrosa sits 19 points adrift on 56 points heading into the European leg of the world tour. The riders will next head to Spain on May 4 where it is hoped Cal Crutchlow will return from his hand surgery.
And while Marquez's dominance this season has been phenomenal, the gap between him and Pedrosa remains patently close-able. Marquez's nerve will need to hold into the coming races; one slip in concentration could see Pedrosa take the lead in the championship.