Spain’s Marc Marquez has won the Argentine MotoGP for Honda to take the overall lead in the championship standings after a shortened race overshadowed by concerns about tyre safety.
Marquez’s first win of 2016, after taking the lead on the second lap, came after riders had made a compulsory stop at half distance to change bikes in a shortened 20 lap race instead of the scheduled 25.
Italian Valentino Rossi finished second for Yamaha after the two Ducatis of compatriots Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso took each other out at the final corner while fighting for position at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
Iannone, who had been chasing Dovizioso, was handed a grid penalty of three places for the next race in Austin, Texas, for causing the collision. Dovizioso pushed his bike across the line for 13th place.
“It’s a special win, not only because it’s the first one of the year but also because with the team, we managed the situation very well,” said Marquez.
Honda’s Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was third, with Ireland’s Eugene Laverty a surprise fourth on a Ducati.
After two races, Marquez has 41 points and an eight point advantage over second placed Rossi.
Yamaha’s defending champion Jorge Lorenzo, who had led the championship after winning in Qatar, crashed out on the sixth lap after briefly leading at the start.
The tyre issues emerged in Saturday practice after British rider Scott Redding suffered a rear failure.
Supplier Michelin, who have replaced Bridgestone this season, withdrew the rear tyres they had planned to use and instead introduced an emergency specification for the race.
Riders were told to come in on their ninth, 10th or 11th laps and switch to spare bikes.