Crazy Rio Hondo we should say! Everything and more went down during a Grand Prix that is likely to leave an indelible mark on the season. What with the start, and Marquez heading the wrong way on the grid, before hitting Rossi during the race, there was no shortage of controversy. Fortunately, Argentina was also about a win for Cal Crutchlow, who has quietly moved into the lead in the championship standings. Here's the lowdown on South America according to Carlo Pernat.
“It was insane - the Grand Prix of unprofessionalism, in terms of both the regulation and the riders. I'd say zero points for race direction because they took unbelievable action. They left Miller on the grid alone, when all they needed to do was delay the start by five minutes and it would have been sorted. It was ridiculous to see Jack starting alone with a group of possessed riders 30 metres back”.
Then there's the Marquez episode: “Marc takes it upon himself to push the bike, going in the opposite direction, when he should have moved it to the pitwall. Really shameful. If he had started from the pits none of it would have happened.” And then what about Zarco's move on Pedrosa: “We saw Johann make a less than correct move to pass Dani, pushing him aside. Race direction didn't even investigate it”.
Pernat then returns to #93: “Marquez was possessed, you couldn't understand what he was trying to do. He hit Aleix Espargarò and only had to drop one position. Then the icing on the cake was his insane and incorrect move on Rossi, one which caused the latter to crash. They penalised him with a 30 second time penalty but who gives the points to Valentino?”
The manager doesn't hold back when it comes to the Honda rider: “A really dishonourable thing. Now Marc has everyone against him and they are scared to be hit by him. He can no longer do what he likes. Dorna should disqualify him for one race and if it doesn't it will cast a shadow over the whole championship. i remember when Capirossi was disqualified from the Barcelona race after the incident with Lucchi at Mugello, but things were worse at Rio Hondo. Marc should sort himself out, he can't do as he likes, because this is wrong”.
Race direction is at least partly to blame “Decisions are taken during the race. Marc shouldn't have started. The start was ridiculous, all they needed was a card to delay the start by five minutes. Something needs to change within race direction, they need capable people. This was already an issue in Malaysia in 2015, as I've said before. Race direction are slaves to Rossi and Marquez, particularly Marc. He should be disqualified for what he did, because what happened between him and Vale was out of this world”.
Despite all the controversy, there's also room for Crutchlow's win: “Aside from Cal and Zarco, the second tier were running up front. An excellent Suzuki that earned a well-deserved podium, but a Ducati in crisis, despite Dovi doing his best to remedy the situation. The situation is not a good one, because Lorenzo sank too”.