Marc Marquez showed just why he is the reigning MotoGP World Champion today with his 6th successive COTA masterclass and his 10th MotoGP win in a row on US soil, With a welcome return to the podium for Maverick Vinales and Andrea Iannone.
Today’s race started in perfect weather conditions with track temperatures being the hottest they had been all weekend, Iannone took the hole-shot into COTA’s infamous Turn 1 with Marc Marquez wasting no time disposing of Johann Zarco and Maverick Vinales. As the field headed down towards turn 12 at the end of the 210 MPH straight Marc Marquez made his move on Iannone to take the lead, not a sight that any of the title contenders had hoped to see so early on in the race.
Early on Iannone had the pace to stay with Marquez, even putting a move on the Spaniard into turn 13 but unfortunately running in a little bit deep meaning Marquez had the drive on the long back straight, just behind the battle for the lead were the Movistar Yamaha pair of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi who seemingly looked locked together. Rossi looked to have very good pace early on as his team-mate seemed to struggle in the early laps. It didn’t take long for Vinales to get up to speed though as he started to catch Ecstar Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone making a move on him into turn 1 on the start of lap 6.
Further back championship leader Cal Crutchlow looked to be struggling as he was battling with also struggling Andrea Doviziozo and Zarco for fifth place, The LCR Honda looked a lot more unstable than it had in the previous races with Crutchlow falling off at turn 20, he remounted and continued the race and we saw him settle into a rhythm that was faster than both Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone.
Jorge Lorenzo’s torrid troubles at Ducati do not seem to be getting any better for the five time world champion, placing well back in 10th position fighting with Avintia Ducati’s and Pramac Ducati’s Tito Rabat and Jack Miller who are both riding last year’s Ducati GP17, showing just how much the Spaniard is struggling to get to grips with his GP18 machine. He wasn’t the only one to have issues today with Argentina podium man Alex Rins crashing out of 8th position, this being his second DNF in 3 races.
Dani Pedrosa put together nothing short of a heroic performance, barely one week after having surgery on his right wrist he was right in the mix battling for fifth with Dovizioso and Zarco. A lot of people had doubts whether Dani would continue riding after FP1 with world feed images showing him in agony through the snake section of the course, but Dani ended up finishing in seventh which is an excellent performance considering his fragile physical condition.
Meanwhile Lorenzo had run wide into turn one and Alma Pramac Ducati man Jack Miller darted down the inside, sitting the Factory Ducati Team man up, with Lorenzo visibly shaking his head at Miller. Lorenzo’s team-mate Dovizioso rode a brilliant damage limitation ride, finishing fifth and heading back into Europe with a single point championship lead over Marquez after a difficult two rounds in the American stint of the championship.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez came across the line to win his sixth consecutive race at COTA sporting a wonderful tribute to the late great Nicky Hayden, by carrying the USA flag with Hayden’s number and design around the circuit, as this celebrated the first American Grand Prix since the tragic passing of Nicky last May.
You can find today’s race results here.
You can find the championship standings here.
Next up we are back in Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez De La Frontera from the 4th – 6th May where we expect more great racing and drama to unfold finding full qualifying and race reports here in two weeks time.