The second race weekend of the season did take place in Argentina, at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit. John McPhee, Nicolo Bulega and Jorge Martín were starting from the front row. Aron Canet, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Romano Fenati were in the second row. In the third row there were Juanfran Guevara, Andrea Migno and Tatsuki Suzuki.
The Qatar GP winner Joan Mir was starting only from P16 which meant row 6.
Gabriel Rodrigo, who was forced to skip the opening round of the Championship after his crash in the free practise, was back just for his home Grand Prix.
Manuel Pagliani got 12 places grid penalty for dangerous riding during qualification. Twelve places is really a lot. That’s 4 rows on the starting grid!
After the race was started it was Jorge Martín who went into the lead. John McPhee, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Aron Canet, Juanfran Guevara followed him.
Just in the first stage of the race Niccoló Antonelli crashed. But it was Romano Fenati who hit him. The incident was under investigation then but Fenati escaped without any penalty.
Meanwhile, the order was changing quite often on the front of the racing field. There was a group of many riders, Martín was there, also Oettl, Canet, Di Giannantonio, McPhee and some others. Also Joan Mir already went there.
Despite the fact Mir started from P16, he already went into the lead in the 7th lap (from 21).
With 10 laps to go Gabriel Rodrigo crashed. The race was over for the local boy (although he is not literally local but he is racing with an argentinian licence).
Later also Fabio Di Giannantonio crashed (but there was some contact with Nicolo Bulega). A few moments later also Enea Bastianini crashed. He re-joined the race but was racing on the last position.
After the race the FIM stewards gave 2 penalty points to Bulega due to irresponsible riding.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta retired from the race too then.
A group of 5 – Joan Mir, John McPhee, Philipp Oettl, Andrea Migno – managed to build some gap to the others and it looked like the podium battle would be among these riders.
And that was really like that. Joan Mir was able to escape a little bit in the last few corners of the race and he came to win his second race of the season. John McPhee finished second, Jorge Martín was third. It was exactly the same podium as two weeks ago in Qatar. In the same order.
Philipp Oettl was 4th which is great result for him for sure. Andrea Migno finished on the 5th place.
Mir’s team mate Livio Loi was 6th so it was great race for Leopard Team. Romano Fenati finished 7th, Tatsuki Suzuki was 8th and he took some great points for the SIC58 Squadra Corse. Juanfran Guevara was 9th and the rookie Kaito Toba finished 10th.
Aron Canet was 11th, Darryn Binder 12th, Marco Ramírez 13th, Tony Arbolino (another SIC58 rider) 14th and María Herrera 15th so she took 1 valuable point.
Nicolo Bulega was only 16th so without any point.
The whole race results are here at the official MotoGP sites.
Joan Mir leads the Championship standing with 50 points, John McPhee is 2nd with 40 points, Jorge Martín has 32 points and he is 3rd.
The next race weekend will be in two weeks at the COTA, Texas, United States.