Big points for Jack in Argentina after a race that had controversy at every turn.
Jack has finished fourth in a crazy Argentinian Grand Prix held at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit on Sunday after starting from the first pole position of his premier-class career.
The result is Jack’s second-best finish in the top class on his 50th Grand Prix start, and sees him up to sixth place in the championship after the opening pair of races to start the season.
There was chaos at the start of the race, Jack heading to the grid on slick tyres on a drying track. With the threat of rain passing, the majority of his rivals headed back to the pits to change to bikes with a dry-weather set-up and tyres, leaving Jack on the grid by himself. In unprecedented scenes, the start was delayed by 15 minutes, and when the bikes eventually lined up on the grid, Jack had the first six rows to himself.
Jack made a solid start and led for the opening lap before being passed by Marc Marquez (Honda), but the Spaniard was penalised for riding his bike in the opposite direction in the race start procedure, Marquez stalling on the grid, re-starting and then re-taking his sixth place on the grid.
MORE DRAMA! Now for @marcmarquez93 on the grid! 😮
— MotoGP™🇦🇷🏁 (@MotoGP) April 8, 2018
Marquez pitted to serve his penalty on lap six, seeing Jack reclaim the lead, and with Alex Rins (Suzuki), Johann Zarco (Yamaha) and Cal Crutchlow (Honda) in pursuit.
By lap 13, it was clear Jack was struggling for grip, as Rins in particular made several attempts to pass. The Spaniard eventually made his way by on lap 16 only to run wide a lap later to hand the lead back to the Australian, with Crutchlow now in hot pursuit.
Jack’s grip issues became too much on lap 18, when he ran wide at the penultimate corner and fell to the back of the front-running quartet. He could never get back on terms with the first three, and eventually finished the 24-lap race 4.3secs behind winner Crutchlow, and 1.8secs behind Rins in third and a chance of his second MotoGP podium result.
“I have to admit that I am a bit disappointed because I wasn’t able to fight for the podium after leading the race for a long time,” Jack said.
“I made a mistake that cost me a lot. But to be honest I’m very happy for this weekend and we’ve done an incredible job with the team. The decision of Race Direction on the grid? I think they had to make a difficult decision in a moment of great stress.”
Crutchlow’s third career win sees the Briton lead the series for the first time, while Zarco equalled his best MotoGP result with second, Rins taking his maiden premier-class podium.
With 19 points to his name, Jack heads to the next round at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin in a fortnight’s time.
Full race results from Argentina can be found on motogp.com here.
Photos courtesy of Alma Pramac Racing.