Argentina MotoGP Race Results | Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia land long-awaited win

Aleix Espargaro ends his long, long wait for a maiden MotoGP victory at his 200th attempt with a steely victory over Jorge Martin in the Argentina MotoGP

Aleix Espargaro - Aprilia

Aleix Espargaro can call himself a MotoGP race winner at last after prevailing in a monumental scrap with Jorge Martin to secure victory in the Argentina MotoGP at his 200th attempt.

On a weekend that has seen the Spaniard on fine form around the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, his victory also marks the first success for Aprilia in the four-stroke MotoGP era in what is only its second-ever podium at this level.

A remarkable result for one of the longest-serving riders to have ever competed in motorcycle Grand Prix racing, only one other rider on the grid today - Andrea Dovizioso - has started more races than he has.

Indeed, as well as a poignant way to mark a double ton in MotoGP, it is also his first ever victory in GP across all three classes, in his 284th attempt.

Coming 24 hours after securing Aprilia’s first MotoGP pole position, Espargaro started as the favourite for victory despite his lack of race-winning credentials. 

It was a weight of pressure that told at times during the race as he attempted to keep up with long-time leader Jorge Martin, but while the Pramac Ducati man’s defence of the top spot was stiff, it was clear throughout the Aprilia was the quicker bike.

Indeed, it was Martin that got away best from the front row, repelling an initial bid by Pol Espargaro on the Repsol Honda to get the hole-shot, with Aleix squeezing beneath his brother to hold onto second place.

With Luca Marini retaking third from Pol, the Italian’s dogged defence through the first turns immediately allowed a gap to open towards Martin and Aleix. As such, though Pol made it through on lap two, he faced a task in bridging the gap to the leaders.

It would prove elementary anyway as - after losing third to Alex Rins with a wide moment on lap seven - he crashed out of fourth on lap 15.

With Rins more than a second behind, it was left to Martin and (Aleix) Espargaro to contest victory, with the metronomically consistent Ducati rider doing a stellar job of keeping the friskier looking Aprilia behind.

Indeed, Espargaro always looked the faster of the two, but didn’t help his cause with a couple of leery moments on the brakes, including two passes for the lead at the end of the back straight with eight and six laps to go, only to run out wide and gift the position back.

Nevertheless, the measure of the performance differential was demonstrated by Espargaro needing just a few corners to get back onto the Ducati’s tail, before nailing the same passing attempt with five to go.

Despite visibly stiffening up on the RS-GP as the gravity of his situation dawned on him, a breakaway push on the penultimate lap would put enough air between himself and Martin to bring it to the chequered flag comfortably.

A landmark day for the Aprilia Racing team, it also means Espargaro becomes the new leader in the overall standings.

In second place, Martin got some much needed points on the board following DNFs in the first two races, while Rins returned to the podium with a gritty ride, even if he couldn’t quite penetrate the rapid pace of the two ahead.

Joan Mir ensured a strong points’ haul for Suzuki in fourth place, with Pecco Bagnaia getting his head down to claw his way from 13th to fifth on the best of the factory Ducatis. 

Brad Binder secured more good points for KTM in sixth place, ahead of Maverick Vinales, who consolidated Aprilia’s fine day with his best result since joining the Italian squad.

Another race that demonstrated Yamaha’s vulnerability when stuck in the pack, Fabio Quartararo spent an afternoon being out-dragged down the back straights with minimal opportunity to fight back in the corners. Slipping to a low of 13th at one point, only the reigning champion’s ability to conserve the tyres allowed him the chance to make gains in the closing stages, crossing the line eighth.

After Marini’s bright start from the front row, by the chequered flag it was rookie team-mate Marco Bezzecchi flying the flag for VR46 Racing in ninth, leading home Enea Bastianini, the erstwhile championship leader hampering his hopes with a wide moment that dropped him from ninth to 13th before recovering to tenth.

Marini ended his race a disappointing 11th, ahead of top Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami, Indonesia MotoGP winner Miguel Oliveira and Jack Miller, who never got going from his penalty-determined 14th on the grid to finish in that position. The 15th and final points’ slot went to Alex Marquez.

Beyond Espargaro, Johann Zarco slipped out of ninth place early on at Turn 2, while Fabio di Giannantonio was another to take a tumble and Franco Morbidelli retired with technical issues.

2022 Argentina MotoGP | Termas de Rio Hondo | Race RESULTS | Round 3 / 21

2022 Argentina MotoGP | Termas de Rio Hondo | Race RESULTS | Round 3 / 21
PosRiderNat.MotoGP TeamMotoGP BikeTiming
1Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP26 Laps
2Jorge MartinESPPramac RacingDucati GP22+0.807
3Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR+1.330
4Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR+1.831
5Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP22+5.840
6Brad BinderRSARed Bull KTM RacingKTM RC16+6.192
7Maverick VinalesESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprila RS-GP+6.540
8Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M1+10.215
9Marco BezzecchiITAVR46 RacingDucati GP21+12.622
10Enea BastianiniITAGresini RacingDucati GP21+12.987
11Luca MariniITAVR46 RacingDucati GP21+13.962
12Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda Honda RC213V+14.002
13Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM RacingKTM RC16+14.556
14Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP22+14.898
15Alex MarquezESPLCR Honda Honda RC213V+23.472
16Raul FernandezESPTech3 KTM RacingKTM RC16+25.862
17Remy GardnerAUSTech3 KTM RacingKTM RC16+28.711
18Darryn BinderRSAWithU RNF Racing YamahaYamaha YZF-M1+28.784
19Stefan BradlGERRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+31.943
20Andrea DoviziosoITAWithU RNF Racing YamahaYamaha YZF-M1+3 Laps
DNFFabio di GiannantonioITAGresini RacingDucati GP21 
DNFPol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V 
DNFFranco MorbidelliITAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M1 
DNFJohann ZarcoFRAPramac RacingDucati GP22