Vinales takes third MotoGP win in Argentina as Marquez crashes out

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Maverick Viñales continued his perfect start to life with Yamaha in the 2017 MotoGP season by taking his second straight victory – and the third of his career – in Sunday’s race in Argentina.

Viñales took a stunning victory on his Yamaha debut in Qatar two weeks ago, but looked set to struggle in Argentina as Honda’s Marc Marquez set the pace in qualifying, taking his fourth straight pole at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo.

Marquez made a clean getaway from pole to lead the early part of the race from LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, only to crash out at Turn 2 on Lap 3 when pulling away from the field at over two seconds per lap.

This mistake handed Viñales a lead that he would not relinquish, cruising to his second win of the year by 2.9 seconds to give himself a perfect score of 50 from the opening two rounds.

Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi battled through to finish second, passing Crutchlow late on to complete a one-two for the Japanese manufacturer, leaving the Briton to complete the podium in third place.

Alvaro Bautista scored a huge result for the satellite Pull and Bear Aspar Ducati team, finishing fourth ahead of rookies Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger in P5 and P6.

Danilo Petrucci ended up seventh for Octo Pramac Racing ahead of teammate Scott Redding, while Jack Miller and Karel Abraham rounded out the top 10 positions.

To compound matters for Honda, Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa also crashed out of the race while running inside the top five, while Jorge Lorenzo’s rough start to life with Ducati continue has he fell at the first corner, ending a rough weekend at the first corner.

MotoGP returns in two weeks’ time at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas for the sole U.S. round of the 2017 season.

MotoGP Argentine Grand Prix – Full Results

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”