Europe 1 with AFP 21:39 p.m., April 02, 2023

Italian Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) won the Argentine Grand Prix on Sunday. Second on the grid, the Italian driver took the lead of the race on the first lap before relegating the competition to more than five seconds.

Bezzecchi smiles, Bagnaia falls: Italian Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati-VR46) won his first MotoGP Grand Prix on Sunday in Argentina, round 2 of the championship, ahead of Frenchman Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac), and recovers the lead of the world championship at the expense of Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), victim of a fall. With this victory on a track wet by the spit, Bezzecchi also offers the young VR46 team, created by the legend Valentino Rossi, its first triumph in the premier class.

"Normally, I'm not very good when it rains (...) but there, the sensations were incredible, "responded the 24-year-old pilot, from the VR46 academy also founded by Rossi. Until then leader in the general, Francesco Bagnaia, second in the GP with eight laps to go, fell while a place on the podium seemed promised to him.

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"Quite satisfied"

If he was able to leave... In last position, the reigning Italian world champion finished 16th in the race and therefore out of the points. In the championship, he is now nine points behind new leader Bezzecchi, followed by Zarco on 15 points. The 32-year-old from Cannes, 2nd in the race, scored his 16th podium in MotoGP in Argentina.

"I'm quite satisfied (...), it's a circuit where we have good grip in the wet, the others can go super fast at the beginning, but then the tyres get used to it, and I was able to play my card (...) In the second part of the race, I was able to free up my style," he explained. Starting 6th, the Frenchman snatched second place from Spaniard Alex Marquez (Ducati-Gresini) in the final lap on the Argentinian track.

Quartararo 7th

Starting from pole position, Marquez finished 3rd. Marc's younger brother, a six-time MotoGP world champion, did not resist the onslaught of Marco Bezzecchi, who dominated the GP from start to finish at the first corner. Tenth on the grid, Frenchman Fabio Quartararo finished in a good 7th place after a difficult weekend, during which the reigning runner-up did not consistently manage to keep pace with the competition with his Yamaha.

"In the rain, I never did well but here we still saved the furniture," he said on Canal +. At the beginning of the race, the 23-year-old from Nice had quite a scare by hooking the Japanese Takaaki Nakagami (Honda-LCR), an incident not serious, but which cost him up to six positions.

Quartararo is currently in 10th place overall. With 38 races still to go this season (19 GPs and 19 sprints that bring more points), I don't want to think about the championship. The day before, South African Brad Binder (KTM) had won the sprint – a new, shorter race format contested on the sidelines of the traditional Sunday meeting – after an impressive comeback from 15th place on the grid. He finished 17th and last on Sunday after crashing in the 1st lap.

Mir absent, Honda without representative

Earlier in the day, Spaniard Joan Mir withdrew from the race after suffering head and neck trauma caused by a violent fall during the sprint the day before. This forfeit is a blow for Honda who had already lost Marc Marquez, victim of a crash during the GP of Portugal last Sunday. Suffering from a fractured hand, the Spaniard was absent in Argentina, as was the Portuguese Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia-RNF), caught in this fall and still convalescent.

The Japanese manufacturer's factory team therefore had no representatives on the grid on Sunday. Also absent from the Termas de Rio Hondo track, Italian Enea Bastianini (Ducati) suffered a fractured shoulder blade after his crash during the sprint in Portugal.

Finally, Pol Espargaro (GasGas-Tech3), the first victim of the Portimao track last Friday, is probably the one whose convalescence will be the longest after his accident on the Portimao circuit. The Spaniard suffered a pulmonary contusion and fractures of the jaw and vertebra. Only 17 riders out of 22 entered this season in the premier class took the start of the GP on Sunday, the smallest grid that MotoGP has seen since 2011.