(CNN)Valentino Rossi's dream start to the 2015 season continued in Argentina on Sunday after he clinched a dramatic MotoGP victory at the expense of world champion Marc Marquez.
Starting from eighth place on the grid, the wily veteran picked his way methodically through the field, eventually catching Marquez, who was slowing to conserve his tires.
With just two laps remaining, Rossi lunged past the young Spaniard, who immediately counter attacked to regain the lead. But as the two dueled at speeds close to 200 kilometers per hour, Marquez clipped the Movistar Yamaha's back wheel, sending the Repsol Honda rider sprawling to the ground in a hail of sparks.
Rossi crossed the line to claim his 110th victory -- his 51st with Yamaha. At the finish he was wide-eyed with excitement at hauling down Marquez's lead.
"I knew the race was long, so I knew he could have some difficulty," Rossi told reporters.
"Catching him lap by lap, I could see him far away but coming closer and closer, it was a great taste."
He put the crash down to an error by his Catalan rival.
"I overtook him in braking, but he is a rider who is all or nothing, he touched me in the corner, then he touched me again as I was accelerating, I think he made a mistake and he crashed," Rossi said.
MotoGP's Race Direction reviewed the incident, but concluded nothing untoward had taken place.
"It's a shame what happened, because we were having a good race," said a sanguine Marquez.
"When he caught me, we fought for a few corners and unfortunately we touched and I crashed. I've always said that he's my idol and my reference, so you always learn things from him."
Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso continued his impressive start to the season with a strong second place, while LCR/CWM Honda's Cal Crutchlow captured third -- his first podium for his new team -- with a thrilling pass under Andrea Iannone's Ducati on the final corner.
The result puts Rossi top of the rider standings on 66 points, six clear of Dovizioso in second, and 30 ahead of Marquez, in fifth.
Movistar Yamaha leads the team standings on 103 points.