In a stunning 5th consecutive win on Texan soil, Marc Marquez has once again proven he deserves the title of ‘King of COTA’, pulling out a textbook victory in Sunday’s MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas. Meanwhile, championship favourite and winner of the previous two races, Maverick Viñales slid out in his first DNF of the season, leaving it up to his second-placed teammate Valentino Rossi to take the championship points lead.
Pole-sitter Marquez kicked off the race with a strong early battle against teammate Pedrosa, with the latter able to pull away to take a quick lead. Close behind, Rossi’s Yamaha slotted in to watch the action unfold.
A dramatic second lap for championship leader Maverick Viñales, as he low-sided into a frustrating DNF, his first since Argentina last year. Another blow to his COTA weekend that had already seen him miss out on pole due to a fantastic final run from Marquez.
It was a race of controversy in the first half with Lorenzo, Zarco and Rossi tangling for the lower section of the top 6 positions. Zarco was ahead of Rossi with the inside line into the chicanes starting at turn 3, with Zarco pushing Rossi wide and off-track to avoid collision, the Italian running straight to re-join the track at entry of turn 4. With race direction, commentators and keyboard warriors left questioning if the small advantage Rossi gained by skipping the corner was worthy of the 0.3 second penalty, to be applied at the end of the race.
The battle between the Repsol Hondas grew more heated, with Pedrosa and Marquez fighting for the top step, with Marquez’s chance coming on lap 8 to take the lead. Crutchlow made his move on Zarco to take home top independent in 4th, as Pedrosa and Rossi had one final fight for 2nd, with the Italian coming out on top. Lorenzo making it to 9th as a last push saw Andrea Iannone and Danilo Petrucci into 7th and 8th respectively as the Mallorcan struggled with grip. Australian Jack Miller rounding out the top 10.
A handful of other incidences saw Bautista (crash, rejoin and finish 15th) Karel Abraham (crash), Pol Espargaro (technical issue), Sam Lowes (crash), Loris Baz (crash), and Aleix Espargaro (technical issue, rejoin two laps down, and finish 17th). Suzuki Ecstar Rookie Alex Rins did not compete after a fall in FP3 saw him fracture his wrist.
It’s reasonably early in the season to be talking championship points, but with Maverick out at COTA with a DNF, it does make for an interesting – and close – read. Valentino Rossi is now sitting pretty in first on 56 points, with his teammate falling (literally) into second with 50. Carry-over champ Marquez rounds out the top three on 38.
Time will tell how things with play out at round 4 at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España in Jerez.
Grand Prix of the Americas Race Results
1. Marc Marquez
2. Valentino Rossi
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Cal Crutchlow
5. Johann Zarco
6. Andrea Dovizioso
7. Andrea Iannone
8. Danilo Petrucci
9. Jorge Lorenzo
10. Jack Miller
11. Jonas Folger
12. Scott Redding
13. Tito Rabat
14. Hector Barbera
15. Alvaro Bautista
16. Bradley Smith
17. Aleix Espargaro
DNF. Sam Lowes
DNF. Pol Espargaro
DNF. Loris Baz
DNF. Maverick Viñales
DNF. Karel Abraham
Header Image Credit: Repsol Honda Press Release
Image Credit: Movistar Yamaha Press Release, Repsol Honda Press Release