Spanish biker Marc Marquez rides his Honda during the Argentina Grand Prix at Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. (AFP)
Reuters/Termas de Río Hondo, Argentina
MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez won the Argentine Grand Prix yesterday to maintain his 100 percent record for the season with three wins in three races.
The 21-year-old Spaniard, who fought back from a poor start at the new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, became the first rider in 43 years to win all of the first three races in the premier category from pole position.
The last to be so dominant at the start of a year was Italian great Giacomo Agostini in 1971.
Marquez’s Repsol Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa finished second with Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo taking third place to complete a Spanish sweep of the podium places.
Italian Valentino Rossi, who won the opening three 500cc races of the 2001 season and also triumphed in the 250cc category in Argentina in 1998, was fourth.
Marquez, who now has a maximum 75 points with Pedrosa on 56 and Rossi third with 41, had slipped to seventh place after being swallowed up by the field at the start as Rossi and Lorenzo hit the front.
His progress back through the field was relentless, however, with the Spaniard roaring back and slotting into second place after four laps when Rossi ran wide.
Stalking Lorenzo, Marquez took the lead conclusively with nine of the 25 laps remaining and pulled away with a string of quick times.
“In the beginning it was a little bit difficult because many riders were in front, the start was not so good,” the champion told BT Sport.
“I started on a dirty place and spun the rear a little bit. But anyway it was fun.
“I saw Jorge opened some gap and thought ‘OK, stop playing’ and I tried to push a little bit to catch Jorge. Then I stayed there and when there were nine laps left I started to push a little bit more because I thought Dani was coming.”
Pedrosa, who had dropped from third to sixth on the opening lap, caught Lorenzo and passed him on the penultimate lap for second place.
The podium was still a first for 2014 for Lorenzo, the double world champion looking happier with his afternoon’s work.
“I didn’t expect to stay so many laps in first position,” he said. “I thought Marquez wanted to go away from the beginning but I made a good start.
“Then I made a mistake on the first lap and Valentino and Pedrosa passed me but I did not want to stay behind so I passed them very quickly and stayed very focused.
“I kept pushing and pushing to try and save the second place but it was impossible. Dani was half a second faster and when he passed me I couldn’t do so much,” he added.
The race was the first motorcycle grand prix in Argentina since 1999.
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