The second race of the 2019 Moto GP was just a weekend cruise for Marc Marquez, who effortlessly led the Argentina GP from lap 1 to 22. But that was not the case for Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi, with both the veterans fiercely fighting for the second spot in the Termas de Rio Hondo.
Marc completely dominated the weekend, leading the times in practice and qualifying, landing on pole on Saturday. But he was joined by Andrea and Vinales to make for an interesting start for the second race of the season. Right behind the trio were Rossi, Ducati’s Jack Miller and Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli. Jack miller too was impressive through the weekend and made it to the fifth line on the grid with last year’s winner, Carl Crutchlow. The track temperature was soaring beyond 40 degrees in what was one of the hottest races of the season.
As soon as the lights went out, Marc was leading the pack, while Vinales had yet another bad start to the race. Rossi was feisty right from the start unlike last time and it didn’t take him long to take on his team mate. Two laps into the race, Marc was gunning it, steering 2.5 second ahead of the pack. Trying hard to catch him up was Qatar GP’s winner, Dovi and followed by Rossi. Unfortunately, Crutchlow’s zealous start cost him a run-through penalty, bringing an end to his podium aspirations for the race.
Marc meanwhile, was three seconds ahead of Dovi, followed by Miller, Morbidelli, Rossi and Crutchlow for a brief period. Marc’s teammate, Lorenzo, was at the 19th position after a poor start from the 12th position on the grid. Rossi was fighting it out with Miller and in a quick move; the Doctor caught the Australian by surprise, snatching the third spot in the race. What started now was an epic battle between the Ducati of Dovizioso and Vale for the second place on the podium. Rossi, who did not have any podium finishes after July 2017, was not going to settle for a third position.
Rossi’s attempts to keep Dovi at bay cost him when he went too aggressive on a turn, and went wide, inviting Dovi for the second spot in this dramatic race. This sweet moment of glory did not last for long though, and the Doctor took back his position at turn 13. The aggressive fight continued and the Doctor snatched the second spot from Dovi, making the Ducati run wide at turn 7. His protégé, Franco Morbidelli too got on the better side of Miller, pushing him to the fifth spot.
Eight laps into the race, Marc was easily leading the race, followed by Rossi at second and Dovi at a close third. 24-year old Morbidelli was at the fourth while Miller was trying his best to rise up from his fifth spot. Marquez was blazing fast and had already taken a 6.4 second lead and shockingly clocked the fastest lap time of 1:40.026. Alex Rins, in the meanwhile had gained eight spots in the race so far, but was not in the top group.
Reale Avintia Racing’s Karel Abraham high sided on turn 1, bringing an end to the Czech racer’s run. The fight for the second spot was getting aggressive by the minute, with Rossi, Morbidelli, Petrucci, Miller, Vinales and Rins right behind Dovi. Marquez, was breezing in the hot Argentinean weather with a 10 second lead. By this time, the Dovi’s chances in this race were looking really bleak. It turned out to be a nightmare for the Reale Avintia Racing team when Karel’s team mate Tito Rabat also went down. Yamaha’s Vinales went aggressive on a turn and dropped down to the ninth, losing it out on the battle for the podium.
In this feisty battle, Miller forced Morbidelli to go wider, giving an inviting fifth spot for Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins. With just five laps to go, Dovi and Rossi began pulling away from the pack, ensuring an exhilarating end for the second race of the season. The Ducatis were feeling the pressure in the race, with Rossi right behind Dovi, and Petrucci trying his best to keep Rins and Miller at bay. Petrucci gave in to the pressure and dropped down two positions. Now Miller was at fourth and Rins followed for a close fifth spot. With just two laps for the checkered flag, Rossi is close to Dovi, but the Ducat’s healthy top end was giving the doctor a hard time. Though, podium for both the racers was now guaranteed, neither of them was going to settle for a third spot.
With just one lap to go, the Doctor only had the T13 to take on Dovi, or so we thought. The 40-year old Italian didn’t not wait and the Ducati rider tasted the Doctor’s medicine on the seventh turn itself. The riders at the back of the pack were aggressive too, a bit too aggressive in fact. In a desperate move, Morbidelli rear-ended Vinales, putting both of them out of the race in the final moments.
Untouchable Marc bagged the victory at the Termas de Rio Hondo by a 9.8 second lead. He was followed by Rossi, who ended on the podium after 11 races! The Qatar GP winner fought great but had to settle for a third spot.