If it’s entertainment you want then Sunday’s Argentine MotoGP provided it in spades and had the bonus of a British winner prompting the playing of our national anthem on what was once enemy soil. And a British name heading the world championship table for the first time in 40 years.
Cal Crutchlow’s win was well deserved, worthy of the highest praise and massively entertaining in itself. But it was the chaotic start – evidence the lunatics really are running the asylum – plus the on-track antics of the current world champion which made it one of the more bizarre, dramatic and farcical world championship races in recent times.
As farces go it was certainly of the Tom Sharpe variety but Jack Miller did not find it amusing. He made a tyre choice, slicks, which turned out to be the right one, occupied his position on pole and waited for the race to start at the appointed time. Behind him chaos reigned as realisation dawned that the track was drying, most teams were on the wrong tyres and they wanted to change.
Heated argument ensued, the organisers looked flustered but the majority prevailed and, amid a flurry of activity, all the bikes except one were wheeled off the grid. The ‘flag-to-flag’ rule, designed for such an eventuality by allowing riders to change bikes during a race, was conveniently parked, the race was shortened and Jack Miller was allowed to start some 50 metres ahead of the pack. Big deal.
But that was not all. Order was restored, the grid reassembled, all bikes equipped with shiny new slick tyres and the starter put his finger on the button. Then Marquez stalled his bike. Eager to get going, he bump started it, turned it round and rode it back to his grid position. All against the rules for which he was given a ride-through penalty during the race which relegated him 19th.
Even that was not all. Two further penalties came his way. He was ordered to lose a place after barging into another rider and then to cap it all, had a 30 second penalty applied for making an impossible move inside his old adversary Valentino Rossi, dumping him on the grass.
Not surprisingly, the Rossi camp were not prepared to give him an audience when the young Spaniard tried to visit after the race, presumably with something like an apology in mind.
None of this was, presumably, at all funny to the participants but it did fall into the 'you couldn’t make it up' category. It should not, however, detract from the two heroes of the day – Aussie Miller and our own Crutchlow. Miller looks, at last, to have a team and the potential to be a winner with one pole position and, almost, a podium place.
We should celebrate Crutchlow more than we do. He maybe not to almost anyone's liking but he is a winner and now that he and his team have the big ear of HRC he can win again. Certainly, he is the best rider we have had in MotoGP for a very long time.