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Marquez continues American domination with exciting Indianapolis MotoGP win
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez made it five wins in a row (2x Moto2, 3x MotoGP) at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway after an epic race long duel with Jorge Lorenzo (+0.688s) on the Movistar Yamaha. Championship leader Valentino Rossi (+5.278s) maintained his 100% podium record this season to finish in third, and remain on top of the standings by nine points.
After the Moto3 and Moto2 races were declared wet earlier in the day, conditions had improved by the time the MotoGP riders took to the grid and luckily, apart from a few spots of rain, it remained dry throughout the race. It was Lorenzo who would lead into the first corner from pole man Marquez, and it wouldn’t take long for these two to break away at the front of the field, opening up a second gap by the end of lap 8. The 68,000 fans present at the ‘Brickyard’ then bore witness to some incredible riding between the two Spaniards, as lap after lap Marquez ominously stalked Lorenzo.
The reigning MotoGP World Champion Marquez bided his time, sitting behind Lorenzo and studying his strengths and weaknesses before finally making his move with just three laps to go into turn 1. Lorenzo had no response and Marquez pulled the pin to cross the line over half a second ahead of his compatriot, taking Honda’s 700th GP victory in the process. It was also the 9th race in a row that Marquez has won on US Soil and the first time he has achieved back-to-back victories this season.
Marc Marquez – P1 – “The race went very well, but we were pretty much on the limit. The truth is that Jorge improved a lot during the race, and I didn’t think there would be so many laps in the 1’32s. Even towards the end of the race we did a 1’32.6, which is very fast! We used the strategy of attacking at the end, when there were three laps remaining, and I think it was ideal for taking victory at this circuit. I’m also very proud to have taken Honda’s 700th victory! This is a very special moment for all the team and I dedicate it to all of Honda.”
Rossi started from 8th on the grid but after a sensational opening lap he was up into fourth and hunting down Pedrosa for the final podium spot. The Italian was made to rue his poor Qualifying performance, as while he could match the pace of Marquez and Lorenzo at the front, he could not make any meaningful dent in the gap to the leaders. Rossi finally managed to overtake Pedrosa into turn 1 on lap 18, although the diminutive Spaniard was having none of it and after recovering he managed to re-take third, setting up a dramatic last lap showdown. On the last lap Pedrosa overtook Rossi into turn 1, but ‘The Doctor’ fought back immediately and made it stick, managing to hold on to cross the line 0.181s ahead of Pedrosa (+6.147s).
Jorge Lorenzo – P2 – “It could have been worse and it could have been better. Second place in MotoGP is always a very good result because these are the best riders in the world, so to fight for the win and lead for so many laps during the race is difficult. I pushed a lot from the start in every corner and I probably lost more energy than Marc, who was following me. When he attacked I really didn‘t have enough energy and I wasn‘t fresh enough to make an attack on him, so I recovered four points on Vale and lost five points to Marc, but he‘s still quite far behind in the championship. I think we should celebrate this result after a difficult weekend and my crash from this morning. I am satisfied, let‘s see what happens in the next race.”
Valentino Rossi – P3 – “At one moment Jorge was in front and I was fourth so I would have lost twelve points. I had to try at the maximum because these points for third are more important for me than for Dani. I gave my all and it was very difficult because this track, with this temperature and humidity is very demanding, but I‘m happy at the end because it was a good race and I had a good pace. The problem is the qualifying, we struggle too much in the practice and we arrive with a little bit too much of a delay before finding a good setting. Starting from the third row is always difficult. I started well and I was fast on the first laps so, if I would have been able to start from the second row, I would have been able to stay with Marc and Jorge until the end of the race. We have to work hard on this, starting from Brno.”
Dani Pedrosa – P4 – “It was a very physical race. We had to fight a lot with the bike because the grip was difficult. The surprise was Valentino. I knew my pace was a little slower than Marc and Jorge’s, but after practice I thought I might be a little closer. However, Valentino made a big step forward as usual and we had to fight for the podium; on the last lap he overtook me on the second corner and I couldn’t return the pass. I’m happy for Honda to have achieved the 700th victory, it’s an honour to have played a part in this impressive statistic!”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+21.528s) was a further 15 seconds back in fifth as he managed to hold off a hard-charging Bradley Smith (+21.751s) on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 towards the end of the race. The Italian, celebrating his 26th Birthday, eventually crossed the line just 0.223s ahead of the Brit.
Andrea Iannone – P5 – “I got a really good start, but unfortunately I didn’t have the pace to stay with the leading group. I tried everything I could to push hard right from the start, but I wasn’t as quick as the top 4, so I did my own race and it was not easy to keep Smith behind until the end. With the harder tyre we knew that the leading four were a bit quicker, but in any case we held our own and I think that we took home the best result that we could obtain today. Now we have to respond to get out of this period in which we don’t seem to be going anywhere and get back to fighting for the podium like we were doing at the start of the season.”
Smith, starting from 9th on the grid, once again enjoyed a brilliant start and found himself as high as 5th after the first few corners. Unfortunately he would run wide at turn 10 on the first lap and be forced to fight his way back through the field. He had to settle for sixth. His teammate Pol Espargaro was a further 8.627s further back in seventh.
Bradley Smith – P6 – “I have to be happy with the result today as it was another step forward. My most important objective was to start the second half of the season strong and keep the same level of performance from the beginning of the year, which I have been able to do. This weekend, the team always remained focused on the job ahead and it was capped by a strong result today making it a great weekend. However, I made a mistake at the start and I actually began the race with no launch control in first gear as I had changed to second just before the lights went out. Yet despite that, it was better than I expected and I won’t be making that mistake again in Brno! After the warm up this morning, I was a bit worried that we could struggle as it seemed that we did not have the pace at the beginning of the race but the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team and Bridgestone worked their magic for me and gave me a fantastic package. I must admit that I am a little disappointed that I couldn’t get past Iannone for 5th position but I was closer than I was in Sachsenring, so lets try and make another step in Brno.”
Pol Espargaro – P7 – “Of course I can’t be completely satisfied with today’s result. Unfortunately I had to face the same issue which I have experienced some other times which is concerning the handling of the bike on new tyres and on full fuel load because it changes a lot. Therefore, I’m struggling to put my M1 into the positions I would like to do because it feels really heavy. Later at the midpoint of the race my rhythm became stronger and I could make up some time, but not as much as I lost at the beginning and when I started to get tired towards the end of the race, because I’m fighting with the bike, things didn’t get easier. Yet, we have to take some positives from today as I was able to pass Cal in the final stages of the race and reach the chequered flag in 7th position. Now we will keep working on trying to improve this circumstance for the next round which is right around the corner.”
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow had an eventful race, dropping down to 11th after almost clipping the back of Smith at the start of the race. He had to fight his way back into the top ten, before eventually crossing the line in eighth.
Cal Crutchlow – P8 – “I’m disappointed with today’s race result. The race itself wasn’t too bad, I just had a very bad start. I lost so many places at the second corner, because when I grabbed the brake lever there wasn’t enough heat in the brakes to stop. It didn’t bite, so I ran wide and it lost me seven places or so. This track is really difficult to regain time and regain positions, but of course I did my best to recover. More than anything we needed to finish the race, and we achieved that but the setting wasn’t perfect for me today. We go to Brno now and we have to regroup and hope for a better race there.”
Andrea Dovizioso also ran wide on the first lap (turn 2) first lap and found himself down in very last place. The Italian recovered brilliantly and fought back to finish in ninth ahead of the Factory Octo Pramac Racing Ducati of Danilo Petrucci, who completed the top ten.
Andrea Dovizioso – P9 – “At the start of the race I was unlucky to find myself in the wrong place at the wrong time at Turn 2. After a bad start I had to change my line to the outside of the corner: Crutchlow, in trying to avoid making contact with Smith, had to sit up and that forced me to go off the track in order to avoid him. It was a real pity because on this track in particular, starting from behind and recovering through the field is really difficult, because you cannot afford to be too aggressive. All things considered, my lap times in the race were not bad, but obviously we could have done better. I’ve had a lot of things happening to me over the last few races, so sooner or later the situation will have to change!”
The Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR’s of Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro were 11th and 14th respectively.
Maverick Viñales – P10 – “My start was not brilliant, it’s not the first time and we definitely need to work on this and train to be more effective because my pace could have been very good but I had to fight again in the middle of the pack. When I got past Yonny Hernandez I did some consistent laps in the 1’33s and was aiming to catch up to 10th or ninth place, but at the end of the race I had a little problem with the gearbox and lost some time. Despite the result I am very happy with the weekend because we could be very consistent and move forward. The new approach to the race proved to give us payback and in every race we get closer to the top. The positives are also that we are getting confirmation on the things we tested in Misano. I think we probably need another test to better understand some more things about my GSX-RR. My machine is very competitive, the lack of the seamless gearbox and some more horsepower are preventing us getting better results but I feel very confident with the team and the factory. They all are as disappointed as I am for the missing results because we all feel we can get better, but they are working very hard and I must thank them for all their support. ”
Aleix Espargaro – P12 – “The whole weekend has been very hard for me, I couldn’t find proper confidence with the bike and this affected me in the race. I made a good start and I suddenly recovered some positions, but then from lap two or three something went wrong with the rear-end of the bike; it locked-up a lot when entering the corners. I also tried to take away all the engine braking but couldn’t solve the problem that way. Also when I finished the race, the tyre was destroyed and this means something went wrong. It was impossible to keep-up good lap times, I wanted to end the race as respect for the team but it was pretty dangerous. I am disappointed, but now I will reset my mind and think ahead to Brno. We will fly directly there and this will help to give us focus.”
Scott Redding finished in 13th after the 21-year-old engaged in an exciting early battle with compatriot Cal Crutchlow and looked well set to challenge for just a second top 10 finish of 2015. But once his Honda RC213V lost optimum grip on new tyres, Redding was unable to maintain his fast early speed, as he lost the front and rear numerous times while trying to hold station inside the top 10.
Scott Redding – P13 – “At the start I took a lot of risks to get into the top 10 and it paid off. But when the pace went up I just couldn’t go with the group in front. Each time I tried to push I kept having a big moment and nearly crashing. I was closing the front or losing the rear. I am quite disappointed because it turned out to be another tough race and I don’t know where to go with the setting. The set-up was quite similar to Sachsenring where I felt strong. But here the bike felt heavy and it was physically demanding for 27-laps in that heat.”
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera took the Open class victory in 15th ahead of local Hero Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP Team) in 16th and his teammate Eugene Laverty in 19th.
Nicky Hayden – P16 – “We knew that today was going to be a tough race, but despite everything I got a pretty decent start. With the chaos of the first laps I wasn’t able to ride with the pace we wanted, but at the end of the race I finished quite satisfied with our pace. I was able to ride at 1’34 pace towards the end of the race. The team has greatly improved the bike today, compared with the rest of the weekend. I’m not happy with the result, but we did not give up and we have tried to fight all the way through. It would have been good to beat Barbera at the end, I got in front of him at times, but he fought back getting Di Meglio in between us. I got a few meters on him here and there, but in the end he was faster than me.”
Eugene Laverty – P19 – “I had started the race quite well, recovering positions, and hoped to get into the fight to be the best Open rider but I had pain in the left shoulder which affected me. I had to ride a lot of the race practically with one arm. After the race I went to the Clinica Mobile and they said the pain may be originating from the neck. I am disappointed because today the team had prepared a good bike and we had the right pace. I hope to recover this week and be ready for Brno.”
The characteristics of the Indy track penalised the Aprilia RS-GP, especially in the second half of the race when tyre wear kept Alvaro Bautista from battling for a finish in a position that would have earned him championship points, where he had been hanging on, and it kept Stefan Bradl from holding onto the positions he had gained after a good start. The German rider also had to deal with pain in his recently operated right wrist, but he is leaving the United States with good sensations after his debut on the Aprilia.
Alvaro Bautista – P18 – “This was a really hard race. We had the same difficulties that had come up in practice. At the start I struggled because on the first turn I found myself stuck in a group of a lot of riders and wasn’t about to gain any positions. From there on I tried to set my pace and I was in the zone to be able to battle for fifteenth place and a points finish, but I had trouble keeping up with the others. This track posed some difficulty for us, especially when we started feeling the tyre war. In right-handers I was losing a lot of time. In any case, we finished the race and collected some more fundamental information for 2016. I’d like to thank the team for their hard work this weekend.”
Stefan Bradl – P20 – “After spending three days on the track I expected to have problems with my right wrist today. Already this morning in the Warm Up session I started feeling some pain and after the midway point of the race I wasn’t able to control the bike as I would have liked at a lot of places on the track. In any case, we gave it our all and I consider this first weekend for me on the RS-GP as a positive one. I learned a lot about the bike and together with the team we made a lot of changes in the little time we had available, doing a good job. I wasn’t used to riding the entire race distance on this bike and if you add my injury to that obviously I wasn’t able to be as fast as I would have liked. For the moment we are satisfied anyway and we are looking forward to Brno where we’ll try to take a step forward.”
CWM LCR Honda’s Jack Miller was the only rider to crash out of the race as he fell foul of turn 6 on lap 9.
Jack Miller – DNF – “It was a disappointing way to end a reasonable weekend, because we were pretty happy with how the bike was working but I ended up having a few problems during the race. It wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. We can’t do anything about it now though, we just need to look forward to getting to Brno and working through the problems that we had in the race here.”
All of this means that Rossi (195pts) remains on top of the MotoGP World Championship standings, although his lead over second placed Jorge Lorenzo (+186pts) has been cut to just 9 points, with Marquez (139pts) a further 56 points back in third.
Rins claims sensational Moto2 victory
Paginas Amarillas HP40’s rookie Alex Rins took his first Moto2 race win ahead of Ajo Motorsports Johann Zarco (+0.482s) and Franco Morbidelli (+0.888s) on the Italtrans Racing Kalex in what was one of the most exciting races of the season.
The race was declared wet but with the track drying, the majority of riders decided to start on slicks and it was a fascinating first few laps as they tried to adjust to the conditions. Once things had settled down there was an incredible battle at the front between Rins, Rabat, Zarco and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag Racing Interwetten).
Each rider took turns at the front of the field as fans were treated to a spectacular display of aggressive overtaking in what was more reminiscent of a Moto3™ race. It would take until the penultimate lap for Rins to secure the win after Zarco had ran wide, taking Aegerter with him, to give the Spaniard some breathing space at the front.
Rins eventually crossed the line almost half a second ahead of championship leader Zarco to take his 9th career GP victory (8xMoto3, 1xMoto2), with Morbidelli coming on strong towards the end of the race and taking advantage of Aegerter running wide to steal third and secure his first career Moto2 podium.
Aegerter, fresh from his podium at the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race, was battling at the front for long parts of the race before missing out on the podium by 0.406s as he had to settle for fourth. Rabat (+2.963) took a battling fifth after a duel with Morbidelli that must have brought back memories of their last corner crash at the German GP last time out.
Thomas Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten) was sixth, with AGR Teams Axel Pons recovering from an earlier crash in Warm Up to take seventh. Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Alex Marquez (Paginas Amarillas HP40) completed the top ten.
Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes crashed out while in 6th at Turn 15 with just 5 laps to go, after the British rider had fought his way back into contention for the podium. Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) was also in contention for a top 6 finish when he crashed out on the final lap, while Mika Kallio, who had started from the front row, also went down after contact with Lowes on lap 11.
There were also DNF’s for Tech 3’s debutant Xavi Vierge, Randy Krummenacher, Ratthapark Wilairot, Sandro Cortese and Julian Simon who had actually led the race at the start.
All this means that Zarco (199pts) has extended his lead in the Moto2 World to 71 points, with Rins (128pts) leapfrogging Rabat (125pts) into second.
Loi takes maiden Moto3 victory
RW Racing GP’s Livio Loi made history as he became the first Belgian rider to win in the lightweight class after taking victory in a rain-affected race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Loi finished 38.860s ahead of second placed John McPhee on the SAXOPRINT RTG Honda, with Schedl GP Racing’s Phillip Oettl (+0.57.781s) claiming the last podium spot a further 17-seconds back. Championship leader Danny Kent was caught out by the weather conditions and eventually crossed the line in 21st.
The formbook was thrown out of the window before the race began as a heavy shower meant that it was declared wet. All of the riders lined up on the grid on wet tyres before Livio Loi, Jules Danilo, Andrea Migno and McPhee decided to switch to slicks before the race, with Loi the only rider to make the decision in time to start from his original grid position while the others had to start from Pit Lane.
This proved a masterstroke as the rain stopped as the lights went out and the track dried rapidly, with riders pouring into the pits to change to slicks from the end of the very first lap. Loi managed to take the lead on lap four and never looked back, managing his lead perfectly. McPhee and Oettl also rapidly made their way through the field and for the majority of the race they were the only two riders not to be a lap down on the leader Loi.
While the rain returned with a few laps to go, it was not heavy enough to make a difference to the result, and Loi went on to take his first career Moto3™ victory by a massive margin. The victory would have been made even sweeter by the fact that the Belgian was forced to miss the race at Indianapolis last year after he had been released from his contract with the Marc VDS team at the German GP.
McPhee’s second placed finish came after he had qualified down 18th place and it was his first career Moto3 podium, in a season that has proven rather tricky for the Scotsman. It was also Phillip Oettl’s first Moto3 podium finish too, just 19 years and 2 months after his father Peter Oettl’s last GP win at Mugello in 1996.
Sky Racing Team VR46’s Romano Fenati (+1’15.296) finished in fourth, 17 seconds further back from Oettl, with Isaac Viñales filling in for the injured Ana Carrasco on the RBA Racing Team KTM taking fifth spot.
Enea Bastianini managed to close the gap on leader Kent in the standings by 10 points to 56 after he crossed the line in 6th on the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 Honda. The Italian coming out on top of an excellent battle with Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) in seventh, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in eighth and Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) who finished in ninth.
Mapfre Team Mahindra’s Jorge Martin completed the top ten in a race that saw his teammate Francesco Bagnaia given a ride through penalty for a jump start before crashing out at turn 4 on lap 14. Efren Vazquez had earlier topped Warm Up on his Leopard racing Honda, but also crashed out at turn 9 on lap 16.
The result means the Danny Kent (190) still leads the Moto3 World Championship standings despite his first non-points scoring finish of the season, but his advantage has been cut to 56 points by second-placed Enea Bastianini.