MotoGP: Crutchlow takes surprise win in Argentina


Michelin tyres performed well today during one of the most incident – packed races in MotoGP ™ history as Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL) took victory at Termas do Rio Hondo in the Gran Premio de la República Argentina. Crutchlow kept his nerve and used his MICHELIN Power Slicks superbly on the difficult track today and produced a stunning victory which saw him take first place in the race, the first Independent Team Rider and lift himself to the top of the riders’ championship and his LCR Honda team to the head of the Team Championship.


He produced a well – timed assault at the front of the leadin g pack to push his Michelin tyres on to success and score his third MotoGP victory, a result which also meant he became the first British rider to head the World Championship since another Michelin great, Barry Sheene led the standing in 1979. The result a lso saw Honda take its 750 th Grand Prix victory, with many of those achieved on Michelin tyres. Today’s winner started from 10 th on the grid, as Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) was the man on pole after a brave gamble in yesterday’s qualifying saw the Aus tralian switch to slick tyres on a wet, but drying track. Despite a few moments that saw him slip and slide through the puddles, his courageous move produced an impressive lap on the MICHELIN Power Slick tyres in the damp conditions.

His valiant effort yes terday nearly doubled – up today, as rain started to fall just before the scheduled start. Miller was one of only a few riders that lined up on slick tyres in the changeable conditions, with the others on wets. As the start grew closer, it was deemed dangero us to start as many riders reported they would go to pit – lane after the warm – up lap and change to their bike equipped with MICHELIN Power Slicks. This forced Race Direction to delay the off and reward Miller with a start on the front row alone, whilst the rest of the grid lined up from the fifth row. Controversy soon followed as reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) stalled his bike on the grid, he managed to re – start it, begin the race and storm to the front in the early stages, this was quickly halted as again Race Direction intervened and gave him a ride – through penalty, which saw him demoted to 19 th , but the excitement with the Spaniard didn’t end there.

He made many passes, including one that saw him receive a penalty to drop one plac e, after it was deemed dangerous and another in the closing stages on Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), which saw the Italian fall and Race Direction again take the decision to award another ride – through penalty to Marquez, which was too late in th e race to enforce so it was commuted to a 30 – second penalty, meaning Marquez was relegated from fifth to eighteenth. He did have one consolation, in that he used his Michelin tyres to set the fastest lap of the race and become the only rider to complete a 1’39 circulation of the 4,806m Argentinian track. The recently resurfaced Termas circuit held many challenges for all concerned this weekend and Michelin’s decision to bring four variations of front and rear slick tyres was justified, as it gave all ride rs the opportunity to select a tyre that suited their needs, despite the lack of dry track time. With very changeable conditions on race day – following heavy overnight rain and short shower before the start – the race finally began on a damp, but almost dry track, with a definite dry line.

This time though – unlike yesterday’s qualifying – the whole field decided to use MICHELIN Power Slick tyres, which turned out to be the correct decision, although the lack of dry track time, allied to the new surface o f the track – for which the teams had very little data – the choice of all concerned was not as comprehensive as if all the riders had had more time for set – up. This led to every rider starting the 24 – lap race on a medium compound rear slick and all but fo ur – who chose the soft option – on the medium front.

The tyres performed superbly and the four – rider break at the front gave a thrilling race for the fans. Crutchlow, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) and Miller, led th e way and changed places throughout the race. Crutchlow timed his run to the front to perfection and took victory from Zarco and Rins, the Suzuki man taking his first MotoGP podium. Miller was fourth, with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in fifth .

Sixth went to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), followed by Tito Rabat (Real Avintia Racing) in seventh. Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) took eighth, with Hafiizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) scoring his best result so far in his rookie season with ninth, w ith Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Ducati) rounded out the top – ten. Michelin’s next action will be when the MotoGP Championship moves from south to north America as the paddock heads to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas for the third round of the season on Sunday 22nd April and a date with a track that has very recently undergone some intensive work to smooth out its infamous bumps, which will provide a step into the unknown for riders, teams and Michelin.

Cal Crutchlow – LCR Honda CASTROL: “I think we managed the situation well, although it was very difficult for all the riders and Michelin as well. We asked for Michelin’s advice and they gave us the correct one about the tyre choice. I am not sure if the front was the right one for me, I t hink I should have chosen the harder one, but at the start of the race I didn’t want to take too much of a risk , so went with the medium. Overall we are happy, the rear tyre worked well and performed very well, especially considering the track conditions T he track was very dirty and we were constantly going on and off the wet parts, which is not very good for the tyre, but we were still able to be fast and competitive at the end of the race with the lap – times , so overall we are very pleased.”