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Bezzecchi claims maiden MotoGP win at rain-lashed Argentina Grand Prix

Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi celebrates his first win, on the podium of the Argentina MotoGP. Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP

Marco Bezzecchi claimed a maiden MotoGP win at the rain-lashed Argentina Grand Prix on Sunday, also delivering a first victory for a Ducati team owned by motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi.

Italian rider Bezzecchi finished ahead of Frenchman Johann Zarco with Alex Marquez, who started on pole position, rounding out an all-Ducati podium.

Bezzecchi, 24, also took the lead in the overall standings after world champion Francesco Bagnaia, the winner of last weekend’s season-opener in Portugal, crashed off the circuit while running in second place before recovering to finish in 16th.

Bezzecchi had started in second place on the grid but swept past Marquez on the opening lap and was rarely troubled to take the chequered flag by 4.085sec.

“Normally I’m not very good when it rains, but today the sensations were incredible,” said the Italian who now has a nine-point lead in the championship.

South African KTM rider Brad Binder, who won the sprint race on Saturday after starting from 15th place on the grid, was 17th and last on Sunday after a fall on the opening lap.

Former MotoGP world champion Joan Mir missed Sunday’s race due to injuries suffered in the sprint, his Honda team announced.

“After a morning medical check, Joan Mir was declared unfit for the Argentina GP by MotoGP and circuit medical staff due to cranial and cervical trauma,” Honda said.

The Spaniard, who won the MotoGP title in 2020, crashed in the opening lap of Saturday’s sprint. 

During the medical tests he experienced feelings of nausea and dizziness, and will now return to Europe and prepare for the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin.

Honda were already missing six-time world champion Marc Marquez, injured in the season-opener in Portugal.

Mir’s absence reduced the usual 22-rider grid on Sunday to 17 with Marquez, Enea Bastianini, Spanish veteran Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira all nursing injuries from Portimao.

Sunday’s Moto2 race in Argentina was won by Tony Arbolino with Alonso Lopez and Jake Dixon filling out the podium.

Moto 3 honours went to Japan’s Tatsuki Suzuki with Diogo Moreira fending off Andrea Migno at the line for second place.

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