MotoGP Argentina GP: Bezzecchi takes maiden win for Valentino Rossi’s team

Marco Bezzecchi claimed a maiden MotoGP victory for himself and Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP team after dominating a wet Argentina Grand Prix, while reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia crashed.

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

VR46 Ducati rider Bezzecchi made an immediate impression on the MotoGP paddock in his debut season in 2022 when he scored a podium at Assen.

Riding the championship-winning 2022-spec Ducati for his sophomore campaign with Valentino Rossi’s team, Bezzecchi eased to a maiden grand prix victory at a wet Rio Hondo to add to the second he claimed in Saturday’s sprint.

Nailing his launch off the line from second on the grid, Bezzecchi went unbothered throughout the 25-lap grand prix to lead a Ducati 1-2-3 from a hard-charging Johann Zarco and poleman Alex Marquez.

Bezzecchi’s first grand prix win puts him nine points clear in the championship after factory Ducati counterpart Bagnaia crashed out of second in the race late on.

Persistent rain all day in at Rio Hondo led to MotoGP’s first wet start since last year’s Thailand GP, with the entire field unanimous in its decision to run medium front and rear wet Michelins.

Bezzecchi got the best start from the front row to snatch the lead from Marquez, as Bagnaia slotted into third after the opening few corners.

Franco Morbidelli was able to latch onto the back of that leading trio, with the top four quickly breaking away from the rest of the pack.

Behind, there was heartbreak for sprint winner Brad Binder, who crashed out at Turn 5 on the first lap after Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales made slight contact as he overtook the KTM.

At Turn 7, Morbidelli’s Yamaha team-mate Fabio Quartararo was knocked down the order from 10th to 16th after Takaaki Nakagami forced him onto the slick painted run-off.

Both the Binder/Vinales and Quartararo/Nakagami incidents were placed under investigation, but no further action was taken by the stewards.

By the end of the first lap, Bezzecchi was already seven tenths clear of Marquez on the Gresini Ducati and would continue to extend that advantage.

Come the end of lap 13, Bezzecchi was 3.6s clear and would open that gap out to over five seconds when Bagnaia and Marquez engaged over second.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bagnaia made his first move for second on lap 15, the factory Ducati rider steaming up the inside of Marquez at Turn 9.

Marquez retaliated with a great move on the inside of the fast Turn 11 left-hander, but Bagnaia made a decisive pass at the penultimate turn.

Second looked like it would be nailed on for Bagnaia, but the world champion crashed at the penultimate corner two tours later.

Bagnaia re-joined, but comes away from the grand prix without points in 16th ahead of Binder after his lap-one crash.

At the head of the pack, Bezzecchi kept everything tidy through to the chequered flag to score Ducati’s first win at Rio Hondo.

The battle for second raged to the final lap, as Pramac’s Zarco – who was at one stage six seconds behind the podium – charged through to overhaul Morbidelli on lap 23, before taking second from Marquez at Turn 5 on the last tour.

Zarco headed Marquez to the chequered flag to complete an all-satellite Ducati top three.

Morbidelli enjoyed his best grand prix result since 2021 in fourth, 2.1s clear of the sister Pramac Ducati of Jorge Martin and KTM’s Jack Miller – who started 16th.

Quartararo made a solid recovery to seventh in the end from VR46’s Luca Marini, LCR Honda’s Alex Rins and the Gresini Ducati of Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Augusto Fernandez scored the best result of his rookie season so far in 11th on the Tech3 GASGAS, with Vinales the leading Aprilia in 12th at the end of a tough race for the Italian manufacturer.

Nakagami was 13th from RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez, while 2022 Argentina race winner Aleix Espargaro scored the final point in 15th on his factory Aprilia as he appeared to have battled vision problems with his helmet visor.

Joan Mir withdrew from the grand prix on Sunday morning following his sprint crash, meaning no Repsol Honda team rider was present on the grid for the first time since the 2021 Valencia GP.

MotoGP Argentina GP - race results (25 laps)

Cla Rider Bike Gap Interval
1 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati    
2 France Johann Zarco Ducati 4.085 4.085
3 Spain Alex Marquez Ducati 4.681 0.596
4 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 7.581 2.900
5 Spain Jorge Martin Ducati 9.746 2.165
6 Australia Jack Miller KTM 10.562 0.816
7 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 11.095 0.533
8 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 13.694 2.599
9 Spain Alex Rins Honda 14.327 0.633
10 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 18.515 4.188
11 Spain Augusto Fernandez KTM 19.380 0.865
12 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 26.091 6.711
13 Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda 28.394 2.303
14 Spain Raúl Fernández Aprilia 29.894 1.500
15 Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 36.183 6.289
16 Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 47.753 11.570
17 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 48.106 0.353
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