Cal Crutchlow says the only rider who could have stopped him from clinching victory at the Argentina MotoGP was Marc Marquez due to his free practice pace in the dry at Termas de Rio Hondo.

The LCR Honda rider stormed to victory having been part of the four-bike breakaway in a wild Argentina race and bided his time at the back of the front-runners before plotting his moves.

Having climbed to second place, on the penultimate lap the British rider darted up the inside of Tech3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco at the Turn 13 and was able to power away from the French rider using Honda’s updated engine.

With Crutchlow securing his third career MotoGP race win the LCR Honda rider now leads the championship by three points from Qatar race winner Andrea Dovizioso.

Crutchlow says he always felt confident of fighting for victory in Argentina having favoured the circuit in recent seasons, taking two podium results in 2015 and 2017, and felt with Marquez out of the battle for the win he could pick his moment to charge.

“If it was a normal race Marc would have been very, very strong as we were the second-fastest this weekend apart from Marc in the dry conditions,” Crutchlow said. “We had a terrible qualifying but we are very happy to leave here with a victory.

“These guys ran very well and full credit to them. I won at the slowest possible speed because I didn’t need to take any risks for the championship.”

Crutchlow says he had concerns with his front tyre on the drying circuit in Argentina with a heavy fuel load on his LCR Honda but after the early issues and carving up the order on the opening laps he was confident of victory.

“My front tyre was way too soft for me, too steps softer than what we ran here last year, and I was having a lot of movement at the start of the race with a full tank in the braking zones,” he said. “I tried to save that and I stayed at a decent gap. I also chose a lot of different lines in the wet to them because in case one of them crashed I didn’t want to be taken out of the race through someone else crashing.

“I knew in the end I could pick them off and I knew that I could be there at the end of the race, first and foremost, and I knew where I could pass and where I couldn’t pass.

“We did a good job, my team has done a fantastic job all winter in the pre-season and Honda have done a fantastic job with the engine over the winter so we have to give credit to my team and to them for this victory.”

Crutchlow becomes the first British rider since Barry Sheene in 1979 to lead the premier class championship of motorcycle Grand Prix racing.

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