Belfast Telegraph

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Crutchlow wins crazy MotoGP race as Marquez hits Rossi in MNOto GP

By Roy Harris

An astonishing MotoGP race in Argentina yesterday was won after 24 dramatic laps by Briton Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) by a bike length from Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Alex Rins (Ecstar Suzuki) to lead the world championship by three points from Andrea Dovizioso.

Crutchlow is the first British rider to lead the championship since Barry Sheene almost 40 years ago.

He also gave Honda their 750th Grand Prix victory.

Dramatically, prior to the race start, a light shower had dampened the track and all the riders took their machines off the grid to change to slick tyres, except pole position man Jack Miller (Pramac Almac Ducati), who was already on slicks.

A delayed start was announced and Miller was given a five row start on the rest of the field, then as the field up after the sighting lap Marc Marquez staled his Honda and push started it and inexplicably rode against the circuit to take his place on the grid, a move that saw him suffer a pit lane ride through penalty dropping him from first to almost last.

The World Champion started to scythe his way through the field, as Miller, Zarco, Rins and Crutchlow pulled away at the front of the field.

Then in his haste to gain places Marquez knocked Aleix Espagaro wide on his Aprilia incurring a penalty of dropping one position.

Then Marquez tried the same manoeuvre on Valentino Rossi forcing him wide with the Italian slipping off on the wet grass incurring the wrath of Race Direction again and received a 30 second penalty placing him in 18 position.

Crutchlow bided his time in the race to the closing stages before taking the lead only for Zarco to re-pass him before Cal got back underneath the Frenchman to win the race.

He commented afterwards, "It's nice to win, no doubt about that.

"I was raging after qualifying tenth but have calmed down now.

"I felt I could have ridden away from the rest but wanted to take no risks and save the tyres.

"To win and lead the ­championship is great for me and the LCR independent team and to Honda for all their assistance."

On all the shenanigans prior to the start of the race Cal said, "They made the right decisions; I won the race!"

Meanwhile, Hitachi KTM ASA rider Conrad Mewse finished 11th overall in the Italian MX2 world championship round at Trentino and currently lies fifth in the series while team-mate Graeme Irwin finished 21st and 19th in MX1 to finish 22nd overall.

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