Racing on MICHELIN Power Rain tires, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) dominated the 2023 Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina to take the lead of the MotoGPTM World Championship after two rounds. Prima Pramac Racing's Johann Zarco was also on form to earn second spot at wet Termas de Rio Hondo, ahead of pole-sitter Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP).
After getting his weekend off to a splendid start by qualifying second on MICHELIN Power Slicks despite damp conditions, Bezzecchi finished Saturday's dry sprint race in the same position.
Then, when rain swept over the Argentine track for the headlining clash the next day, the Valentino Rossi Academy graduate put his trust in medium-compound MICHELIN Power Rains which helped him get away to a perfect start and complete the first of the afternoon's 25 laps in front.
Visibly at home in the conditions thanks to his tires' outstanding grip, the Italian posted a sequence of quick, consistent laps that saw him pull comfortably clear of his chasers, clocking this year's fastest race lap in the process (1m45.510s). He went on to cross the line more than four seconds before Zarco to claim his maiden MotoGPTM victory and become the 60th rider to notch up a topflight grand prix win on Michelin rubber.
Zarco's reward for a remarkable comeback was second at the flag after passing Marquez (3rd) last time around.
Marquez boosted his chances of a strong result by securing his first-ever MotoGPTM pole, aided by his bold decision to fit MICHELIN Power Slicks as the track began to dry late in the session.
The day's top six was rounded out by Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), while Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) fought back to seventh after losing ground early on.
The sprint race was won by Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) after he had sliced his way up the order from 15th on the grid!
The conditions proved tricky over all three days. Friday's two free-practice runs took place in dry weather, allowing all the available MICHELIN Power Slick options to be evaluated at the notoriously challenging South American circuit, but the riders were forced to switch to rain tires for Saturday morning's FP3. Sunday saw the entire field start the grand prix itself on medium front and rear MICHELIN Power Rains which contributed to an entertaining race thanks to their confidence-enhancing grip.
Bezzecchi has emerged at the top of the provisional championship standings on 50 points, followed by Francesco Bagnaia (41, Ducati Lenovo Team) and Zarco (35).
Next round: Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, Austin, Texas, USA (April 14-16).