|Marc Marquez powers to his 4th straight win at COTA by over 6-seconds|
Marc Marquez took little notice of a number of falls behind, cruising to a fourth win in Texas ahead of Lorenzo and Iannone.
All eyes were on Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the MotoGP World Championship lined up at the head the grid for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas. The Spaniard went into the race with a perfect record on America soil; winning every MotoGP race he had started in the United States. While Marquez was quietly confident, there were a number of riders who were looking to return to the front once more.
Amongst them was Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), the 2015 MotoGP World Champion having suffered an uncharacteristic crash during Warm Up. Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) was another ready to make an impact, having qualified fourth; he started in seventh after his penalty from the Argentina GP.
All of the factory Yamaha and Ducati riders opted for medium tires front and rear while pole-man Marquez chose the soft front with medium rear. The Circuit of the Americas has always been a challenging circuit for tires and all who lined up knew that their choice on the grid would make a significant difference.
Roaring off the line, Lorenzo grabbed the lead into Turn 1 but ran wide on exit, allowing Marquez to move ahead. The field all made it through the opening corners safe, Lorenzo in second with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) hot on his tail. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) also made a good start and used the power of the Ducati to slide into second down the back straight.
As Dovizioso came through, so too did Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar), the Spaniard finding himself in fourth at the start of the second lap after starting in ninth. Espargaro had gone against the norm and opted for soft front and rear, the extra grip giving him a clear advantage in the opening laps.
For the third race in a row, Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) would crash at Turn 1.
The third lap began with Rossi crashing out of the race at Turn 2, losing the front mid corner. All the while Marquez and Dovizioso ran away at the front, Lorenzo defending his third place position. For the first time in 25 races, Rossi failed to finish in the top five.
Marquez continued to hammer home his advantage, leading Dovizioso by a second midway through the fourth lap of the race. Action intensified further down the field as Maverick Vinales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) attempted to make up for a poor start to the race, battling hard with Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich).
|Jorge Lorenzo had to settle for 2nd on Sunday|
Lap after lap, Marquez extended his lead and after only five laps his fourth straight win in Texas looked certain. But the remaining two spots on the podium were wide open, Lorenzo getting past Dovizioso with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) waiting patiently behind.
After a strong start, Aleix Espargaro began to drop back and soon Andrea Iannone passed him.
At the start of the seventh lap Pedrosa had a huge moment on the front end going into Turn 1, losing control of his Honda and ploughing into Dovizioso. For the second race in a row, another rider would take down Dovizioso. Pedrosa would be able to re-join, but Dovizioso’s race was over, the Italian leaving the circuit distraught but fortunately without major injury.
At Turn 11 on lap eight both Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) fell off as the crashing continued. Each was able to remount the race but the leading four now had huge gaps between them, separated by at least three seconds. All the falls had also promoted Iannone to a provisional podium in third place. The Team Suzuki Ecstar duo meanwhile continued to dice it out for fourth place, Vinales also running the softer rear but had opted for the medium front, which gave him increased braking stability.
Chaos unfolded behind, but Marquez remained cool, calm and collected as he upped his pace to the 2’04s, almost half a second faster than Lorenzo’s laps. Each lap saw Marquez set a new fastest lap of the race. None of the top three were able to make major progress on the rider ahead, unlike the Suzuki pair who continued to slug it out. Vinales would dive up the inside, only to have Espargaro come back past him soon after.
With ten laps to go, Dani Pedrosa would pull into the pits as his bike was too damaged to continue. In a true sign of sportsmanship, Pedrosa went to the box of Dovizioso to apologize for the incident and explain that it was not intentional.
The rhythm of the race continued, Vinales now a second clear of his teammate as all of the top seven riders were spread out on track. Even though he was now over six seconds ahead of Lorenzo, Marquez’s pace remained over half a second faster as he asserted his dominance at the Circuit of the Americas with each lap.
As many had predicated, Marquez walked to victory and crossed the line 6.107s ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. For just the second time in his career, Lorenzo takes to the podium at COTA as he ended the race second. Andrea Iannone rounded out the podium with a safe ride to third place.
Maverick Vinales secured his best ever premier class finish with fourth ahead of his teammate Aleix Espargaro, a great day for Suzuki with a double top five.
Scott Redding, Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Michele Pirro (Octo Pramac Yakhnich), Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Stefan Bradl (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
As the Championship returns to Europe, Marquez leads with 66 points a solid 21 points clear of Lorenzo in second. After failing to finish the Americas GP, Rossi slips to third with 33 championship points as clear gaps are already emerging.
Marc Marquez #93 1ST
I’m very happy with how the whole weekend has gone. This is a circuit that I like, one of my favorite, but there were some unknowns here because just before the race we decided to run the soft front tire. In the end the team advised me very well, because the change gave me the good feeling with the bike that I had partly lost in the warm-up. I have to thank them all, as well as the Michelin technician. When I asked, they told me that I would be okay for the first 12-15 laps, and then after that I would have to manage the situation more, which is exactly what happened. We’ve taken another victory here in Austin and are now on a run of four in a row, which is great. In addition, the joy of the team after we won illustrates everything we’re working on. In these first three races of the year, we’ve made good use of the situations that we’ve encountered.
Jorge Lorenzo #99 2nd +06.107
It was really important to finish the race and get 20 points after crashing at high speed in the morning, it was really difficult mentally to focus. I tried in warm up and through the few hours before the race to focus and convince myself for the race. It was a difficult beginning, the track was slippery and with the hard rear tire and the full tank it was difficult to stop especially on braking. I made some mistakes I don't normally do in the first lap. I couldn't keep the pace of Marc, he was making the difference this weekend and in the race. I was fast enough to stay in second place and finish the race. You could see it was difficult to stay on the bike with a lot of crashes. Today the important thing was to finish and I did it.
|1||25||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||43'57.945|
|2||20||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+6.107|
|3||16||29||Andrea IANNONE||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+10.947|
|4||13||25||Maverick VIÂ¥ALES||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+18.422|
|5||11||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+20.711|
|6||10||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati||+28.961|
|7||9||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+32.112|
|8||8||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||OCTO Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati||+32.757|
|9||7||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||+34.592|
|10||6||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+40.211|
|11||5||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+45.423|
|12||4||50||Eugene LAVERTY||IRL||Aspar Team MotoGP||Ducati||+47.127|
|13||3||53||Tito RABAT||SPA||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||+47.426|
|14||2||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Aspar Team MotoGP||Ducati||+51.190|
|15||1||76||Loris BAZ||FRA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||+1'12.929|
|16||0||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||+1'19.252|
|17||0||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+1'28.036|
|18||0||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||10 Laps|
|19||0||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||15 Laps|
|20||0||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||19 Laps|