MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez won the Argentine Grand Prix on Sunday 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 Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, became the first rider in 43 years to win the first three races in the premier category from pole position. The last racer to be so dominant at the start of a year was Italian Giacomo Agostini in 1971.
Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate 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.
However, his progress back through the field was relentless and he roared back 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.
“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,” Marquez said.
Pedrosa, who dropped from third to sixth on the opening lap, caught Lorenzo and passed him on the penultimate lap for second place.
The podium was Lorenzo’s first of the year and the double world champion looked happy afterward.
“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.”
“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,” Lorenzo said.
The race was the first MotoGP in Argentina since 1999 and first ever at the circuit.