Marc Marquez took his revenge on MotoGP arch-rival Valentino Rossi with a dominant victory in Argentina, one year on from crashing out in battle with the seven-time premier class champion.
The shortened 20-lap race, punctuated by a mandatory mid-race bike swap after the weekend's tyre-related drama, was very much one of two halves, with Marquez and Rossi enjoying a tense scrap prior to the pitstops before the former streaked away in the latter half.
It was Jorge Lorenzo who got the holeshot at the start, but the reigning champion never looked particularly comfortable aboard the works Yamaha, conceding the lead to the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso by the time the field reached Turn 5.
As Lorenzo began to slip backwards, Marquez passed both Rossi and Dovizioso on the third lap to take the lead, him and Rossi starting to pull clear of the rest and engaging in a thrilling duel reminiscent of their battle of 2015.
On the sixth lap, Lorenzo crashed out of the race at Turn 1, joining Jack Miller and Yonny Hernandez on the retirement list, leaving Marquez out front from Rossi, Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone, Maverick Vinales and Dani Pedrosa.
Vinales made his way through on both Suzukis one lap prior to the start of the pit window, which saw the Spaniard dive for the pits, followed by Iannone and Pedrosa.
Marquez and Rossi continued their battle out front for one more lap before coming in to swap bikes, Rossi entering the pits right on Marquez's rear wheel.
But the Spaniard's bike change was much smoother, giving him a two second lead when the pair rejoined the circuit, and Marquez began to lap one second faster than Rossi to quickly establish a big lead - going on to take the chequered flag by 7.6 seconds.
It was at this stage Rossi was forced to turn his attentions to the bikes behind, as the Italian got drawn into a four-way scrap with Vinales, Dovizioso and Iannone for the runner-up spot.
Vinales was all over the back of Rossi before losing the front end of his Suzuki on a damp patch at Turn 1 on the ante-penultimate lap, distilling the battle to Rossi and the two works Ducatis.
Last lap madness
An attack by Iannone on Rossi at Turn 5 on the second-to-last lap allowed Dovizioso to sweep by the pair - and the Italian veteran seemed on course to replicate his Qatar result of second.
But, as Iannone managed to break clear of Rossi in the fight for third on the final lap, he dived up the inside of Dovizioso at the final corner, only to lose the front and take himself and his teammate out of the running.
Dovizioso did manage to pick up his bike and wheel it to the finish line, but that would only prove good enough for 13th and last.
That left Rossi to take second place ahead of Pedrosa, who was fortunate to get on the podium after Scott Redding's Pramac bike suffered mechanical failure shortly after having passed the Spaniard some laps earlier.
Fourth place fell to Eugene Laverty's Aspar Ducati, as the Ulsterman passed Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) and Pol Espargaro (Tech 3 Yamaha) on the final lap to win what had been the battle for sixth, Espargaro dropping two places with a lurid off-road excursion.
Behind, Stefan Bradl came through to take seventh for Aprilia, ahead of Bradley Smith on the second of the Tech 3 bikes, Tito Rabat on the sole surviving Marc VDS Honda and Alvaro Bautista, who recovered from a pitlane crash to get both Aprilias in the top 10.
Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki), who crashed at Turn 1 early on, Michele Pirro (Pramac Ducati) were the only other finishers bar Dovizioso, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) also retiring on the last lap - having previously fallen at the exact same time as Espargaro, albeit in a separate incident.
Loris Baz had been running as high as seventh before retiring his Avintia Ducati with mechanical failure.
|1||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||34:13.628|
|2||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha YZR-M1||+7.679|
|3||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||+28.100|
|4||Eugene Laverty||Aspar Racing Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||+36.542|
|5||Hector Barbera||Avintia Racing||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||+36.711|
|6||Pol Espargaro||Tech 3||Yamaha YZR-M1||+37.245|
|7||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia RS-GP||+41.353|
|8||Bradley Smith||Tech 3||Yamaha YZR-M1||+50.709|
|9||Tito Rabat||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda RC213V||+50.983|
|10||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia RS-GP||+1:01.388|
|11||Aleix Espargaro||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSX-RR||+1:08.868|
|12||Michele Pirro||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||+1:18.987|
|13||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||+1:33.419|
|R||Cal Crutchlow||Team LCR||Honda RC213V|
|R||Andrea Iannone||Ducati Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP16|
|R||Maverick Vinales||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSX-RR|
|R||Scott Redding||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati Desmosedici GP15|
|R||Loris Baz||Avintia Racing||Ducati Desmosedici GP14|
|R||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha YZR-M1|
|R||Jack Miller||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda RC213V|
|R||Yonny Hernandez||Aspar Racing Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP14|