Aleix Espargaro wins first MotoGP in Argentina in 200th start; Cameron Beaubier 11th in Moto2

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In his 200th start, Aleix Espargaro scored his first MotoGP victory in the Argentina Grand Prix and did so in style after leading the field to green from the pole. The victory was also the first for Aprilla Racing.

With his win, Espargaro leads the championship by seven points over Red Bull KTM Racing’s Brad Binder, who finished sixth in the Argentina GP. Espargaro beat Jorge Martin to the checkers by less than one second as the top four were separated by less than two seconds.

It was an emotional victory in front of a crowd that has not seen an Argentina Grand Prix since 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions and the field was ready to put on a show. Martin earned the holeshot with Aleix slotting into second just in front of his younger brother Pol Espargaro, who would retire from the race 11 laps from the end after crashing.

More: How to Watch MotoGP in 2022

After being denied victory in 199 starts, Aleix may have felt as if the race was slipping away when he ran wide in Turn 1 and again in Turn 5 on Lap 10 of 25. Instead of settling in to protect his second-place position and scoring a solid points’ day, Espargaro hit his lines perfectly on the next trip around the track and set the fastest lap.

With eight laps remaining, Espargaro made a pass for the lead in Turn 5, but held it only briefly as Martin crossed over and retook the top spot. The same move one lap later ended in the same result but, as the old adage goes, the third time was the charm. With four and half laps remaining, Espargaro successfully held onto the lead to become the third winner in three MotoGP rounds this year.

The race was a victory of sorts for Martin, who stopped a two-race slide of DNFs suffered in the Grand Prixs of Qatar and Indonesia. The 20 points earned for his second-place finish moved Martin into ninth in the standings.

Third-place Alex Rins and fourth-place Joan Mir made it a near-perfect day for Spaniards at the front of the pack.

Italy’s Francesco Bagnaia rounded out the top five.

Click here for complete results and standings

In the Moto2 class, Bagnaia’s countryman Celestino Vietti scored a 1.5-second win over Thailand’s Somkiat Chantra. It was the second win of the season for Vietti and his third consecutive podium. Chantra won in Indonesia.

Americans Cameron Beaubier in 11th and Joe Roberts in 13th hope to turn their fortunes around in Round 4 when the MotoGP series heads to the Circuit of the Americas this weekend.

Moto2 results and standings

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III