Marc Marquez takes impressive Circuit of the Americas MotoGP win
Marc Marquez showed just how good he is by continuing his 100% record at the Circuit of The Americas, winning in Austin by more than 2.3 seconds.
The reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez sent a message out to the rest of the paddock that he was back after his mishap in Qatar, as he dominated the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, at one point leading by over 5 seconds.
Marc has won on all six occasions that he has raced in the MotoGP class in the USA, and Honda celebrate their 11th consecutive win on American soil. The last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the USA was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010.
Marc Marquez – Winner – “I am very happy with this victory! After yesterday, things looked positive for us, but the only doubt was about the weather. In the end, it turned out stranger than it had seemed. When I saw that it was going to be a dry race, I started out very focused – because I knew it was important to try to win today. However, right from the first lap I saw that the track was not like it had been before the rain of last night. There was less grip and it was harder to ride comfortably. I decided to keep calm in the early laps to try to understand the situation well, and when I started to find a feeling similar to practice, I decided to push the pace a bit. That was when I was able to open up a gap.”
After mixed weather over the course of the weekend, the sun came out and track temperatures rose to 35 degrees in time for the start of the MotoGP race.
Andrea Dovizioso led the field into turn 1, with Marquez happy to let the Ducati GP15 open up a 0.5s lead during the opening couple of laps. The Spaniard took the lead on lap 5, and didn’t look back as he went on to leave the rest of the field behind to maintain his 100% record at CoTA, before relaxing towards the end of the race.
A brilliant battle for second then ensued between the Italians Valentino Rossi, Dovizioso, and his Ducati teammate Andrea Iannone. “The Doctor” having to use all of his skill and experience to hold off the charge of the red machines as they tried to make their power advantage count. He would eventually lose out to Dovizioso, who made it another podium for the resurgent Ducati Team, although “The Doctor” maintains his lead in the Championship standings as he finished 3rd.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd – “Today was a superb race and I take enormous personal satisfaction from it because here at Austin the races are always special: on this circuit you have to administer your energy, your tyres and your pace, something that does not happen in other circuits. I am particularly pleased with the work of my team because on a completely different track from Losail we confirmed that the GP15 is competitive and we managed to improve during the weekend. This year we have already had two great races, but we must continue to work because we’re still lacking a bit of fine-tuning in braking and traction, small improvements that will make the difference when it comes to fighting for the top positions at every circuit.”
Valentino Rossi – 3rd / +3.120 / 21 laps – “I’m happy about the weekend, because getting onto the podium is a good objective when coming here. On paper this track is the worst for our bike. I am satisfied about the weekend as a whole because we were always in the top 4-5 and we also weren’t so bad on the wet. For it to be perfect I would have had to beat Dovizioso, but unfortunately he was a bit faster. I didn’t have a chance to try, also because after six or seven laps of pushing a lot, I had to ride very smooth. For some reason our bike destroyed the front tyre. It’s been like this in 2013 and last year, but this year, fortunately, Bridgestone brought a harder front. That helped me to arrive at the end of the race, but the tyre was still damaged. Dovi said to me that we risked a lot overtaking in turn 12. From the bike I didn’t feel it and I thought we had some margin. We passed each other very closely, but there was enough space.”
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo left it late, overtaking the Ducati GP15 of Andrea Iannone with only 3 laps to go to snatch 4th place from the Italian, with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith rounding out the top 6 as the leading Satellite rider.
Jorge Lorenzo – 4th / +6.682 / 21 laps – “It was a very tough race, because physically I wasn’t feeling good due to the bronchitis and the antibiotics. We finished the race in the best way possible given the circumstances. I wasn’t fit and the bike also needed some extra performance on some areas of the track, especially on the straight I lost a lot. Here and in Qatar two problems occurred that were difficult to overcome but we saved the situations the best we could. I will probably be fit in Argentina. Last year I rode a good race there while I wasn’t in the best condition. Now that the bike is working better, I hope I will be ready physically. I have high hopes for the race in Argentina and the track is fun to race at.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “It’s been a kind of unusual race for us because the morning conditions of the track didn’t allow us to check if the set up for the race would work. We started the race not exactly knowing what the tyre life was going to be like, which was a problem we had to deal with the whole weekend. The results of the race have been good, a podium is always a great result and compared to last year we made a big step forward. Today’s race was pretty tough for Jorge as he was not in full condition and his performances were affected by the bronchitis that has been with him since Friday. We are leaving this race leading the championship and this gives us great motivation for the next race. Now we look forward to the next round in Argentina.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 5th – “All things considered it was a positive weekend, even though I am not very happy with my fifth place. Today it was difficult to obtain anything more, because I lost a lot of time at the start when Redding crashed in front of me. Then I had to push hard to make up the four-second gap from the leaders and it was not very easy. I had to push a lot at the front and on the tyres in general, and inevitably I paid for that in the last five laps. It was a pity, but in any case I am happy to have a competitive bike that every Sunday can fight for the podium and which allows me to stay up at the front with the top riders, and I am bringing home some important results.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) – “For sure today was another great race for our team, and Dovizioso’s runner-up position is even sweeter than the one in Qatar. We made a courageous decision to use a softer front tyre than almost everyone else, convinced that the problem was not due to the tyre but to riding style. Dovi was really good and he was capable of managing the race intelligently by trying to spare the front tyre. He was then incisive at the right moment and managed to bring home a great result. Iannone also ran a good race and was very quick on the track. I think that he too could have fought for the podium had he not had to push hard in the opening laps, when he had to fight to pass several riders before catching the leading group, and towards the end of the race he then had problems with the front tyre. Now we are going to Argentina where we will try and confirm the good performances of the first two rounds of the championship at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.”
Bradley Smith – 6th / +10.557/ 21 laps – “It was a great race and I am pleased with the result. It began with a strong start and to jump from 10th up to 4th was pretty awesome. The risk I took to go around the outside of the pack at turn one paid off. I have been studying previous races and saw how other riders got pinched on the inside, so I decided to gamble and go around the outside. After that, I was running comfortably with the leaders for the first five laps, but when Marc went past Andrea I was just missing that extra bit of pace. At one point in the race, I was concentrating so much on staying with the group in front that I forgot to alter the traction control map and so I overheated the tyre and as a result, I lost some pace. Anyway, I am pleased with the outcome and to finish in 6th place, as the top satellite and only 10 seconds is definitely one of my best performances in my MotoGP career. Now I look ahead to Argentina and although I struggled a bit last year, with the new M1 and Bridgestone tyres, we should be competitive. It’s a Yamaha track so we need to try and continue this positive momentum from the first two races so far.”
Just as he did in the season’s opening race in Qatar, CWM LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow finished seventh at the Grand Prix of the Americas. The Briton was hampered by a first-lap collision which cost him valuable seconds at the start of the race and was not able to recover to challenge the leaders having departed from fifth on the grid.
Crutchlow eventually finished just under 17 seconds behind race winner Marc Marquez, but acknowledged he was frustrated with his final position having performed so well over the course of the weekend. However, he insisted he was looking forward to the opportunity to challenge again in Argentina next weekend.
Cal Crutchlow #35, 7th (44’04.117) – “Today I was really disappointed with the result, we had a good pace over the race weekend. In the race itself we had some problems, I got caught up in the crash on the first lap and lost nearly five seconds in one lap and from that point it was very difficult to catch up. The whole CWM LCR Honda team need to regroup now and come back to the next race stronger as we were too far behind the winner today. We need to discuss a plan for Argentina which is a track I have never raced at before, but I am looking forward to it.”
Aleix Espargaro was a further 2 seconds back in 8th, as he finished 19 seconds ahead of his rookie teammate Maverick Viñales on the second Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR in 9th.
Satoru Terada – Suzuki Team Director: “This weekend has been positive for us because we have got into the top 10 with both riders and we improved the performance that we had in Qatar. This means we are progressing well, although during this weekend we have experienced some issues that need to be investigated. Our bikes lack some power, as we already know, but at the moment we are experiencing also some chatter problems, especially at the rear. We have tried several improvements but for the moment we need to investigate still further, aided by the support of the factory in Japan. I want to thank the riders who made an excellent race and the whole team which is demonstrating to be both professional and well prepared.”
Aleix Espargaro: “I can’t say I’m totally satisfied with the final position, for sure we closed the gap to the winner and this means we did better than in Qatar, but I still believe that eighth place is not where this team and bike deserves to be. The weekend has been very variable and we experienced a lot of chattering at the rear of the bike, similar to what we had during the Qatar race. The team worked really hard to fix this problem; with both set-up, electronics and whatever could help, but we couldn’t find the proper solution. However the important thing is that we are constantly improving. I know I have support from the factory and the team and this finally led to an improvement compared to our first race, so we need to be patient and consistent and take as many points as we can in every race.”
Maverick Viñales: “Well I’m happy that I improved our position compared to Qatar, we are moving forward very quickly and also my confidence is improving. The weekend was not easy. Variable conditions are hard to deal with because you have to continuously adapt to the weather while being out on track as much as possible so you can learn as much as possible. Unfortunately the tyre choice for the race was maybe not the perfect one: I have always had a good feeling with the hard tyre, but at the end of the race I felt I could have performed better if I maybe had chosen the soft tyre. However it is important that I got well into the top 10, closing the gap with the top riders. We only need some more time to improve things and be even more competitive.”
Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci completed the top ten, ahead of the Repsol Honda of Hiroshi Aoyama and the leading Open class bike of Hector Barbera on the Avintia Ducati.
Hiroshi Aoyama – 11th – “It was an exciting race! It hasn’t been an easy week with the weather so unstable and the race was the first time we’ve had 100% dry conditions. I tried my best, the bike worked well and Dani’s team really helped me. I pushed to the last lap for the best position and I have learned a lot this weekend! Now I will try to build on this experience and improve in Argentina next week.”
CWM LCR Honda Team rider Jack Miller secured his first-ever points in the MotoGP class, finishing 14th in the Grand Prix of the Americas. The Australian made a superb start and climbed as high as 11th at one point during the race.
However, he was later involved in a collision that would ultimately cost him a couple of places in the final standings. Miller – who came home under a quarter of a second behind former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden – declared himself pleased with the result and insisted he had gathered crucial experience for the season ahead.
Jack Miller #43, 14th (44’43.881) – “I was really happy with the race, I learnt a lot fighting with the guys like Nicky (Hayden) and the rest of the group. I must improve the management of my tyres over the first few laps. I need to learn not to be so aggressive on the front tyre, and especially the rear, so that I have more possibilities at the end of the race. Overall, I am very happy to finish the race and finally get some points. But now we have to make the next step and look to try and finish inside the top ten.”
Loris Baz – 17th / +1’08.787 / 21 laps – “It was not the race I had imagined. I did not have a good start but I was immediately fast and I closed the gap with the group in front of me. I had a good pace and I did the whole first half of the race with them, before losing a bit of grip on the front. I struggled in the final laps, but I’m happy to have finished the race. The points-zone is close, we learned a lot this weekend and this is a good starting point in view of the race in Argentina.”
Stefan Bradl – DNF – “Too bad for how the race ended. I started well, I was fast and surely I could have fought for the head of my class. Immediately after the start I overtook Miller and we were fighting for the position. I passed him on the first corner but he touched me on the rear and I was forced to retire. It’s disappointing because we were really competitive. After Qatar we did a great job and an important step forward. We remain focused for the race in Argentina.”
Scott Redding earlier crashed at turn 11 taking out Pol Espargaro in the process, much to the chagrin of the Spanish rider, with a number of others also having to retire throughout the race.
Pol Espargaro – DNF – “Of course, I am disappointed as we definitely didn’t deserve this result. It was a tricky weekend but we were always inside the top seven and although qualifying unfortunately didn’t go to plan, I was confident of a good result. This was despite starting from the third row, which didn’t make it any easier. Regarding the incident, sadly there are still riders who think that they can win the race on the first lap even though there are 20 more to ride. It’s ridiculous but we can’t do anything about it now so we will continue working, yet we can’t hide our disappointment. Today could have been a good day but it turned out to be a disaster by something that wasn’t in our hands. I will now focus on Argentina next week where I intend to score a top finish.”
Redding remounted but a damaged left handlebar and footpeg forced him to retire from the race.
Scott Redding: DNF – “I’m really disappointed because I have been fast all weekend in wet and dry conditions. And after claiming my best ever qualifying result in MotoGP I was confident I could have been in that second group fighting for the top six. I had a good early battle with Lorenzo in the first three corners and in turn 11 he stopped mid-corner to pull it back round and I was in a little bit too hot and I think I clipped the back of him and went down. I got going again and wanted to stay out in case it rained but the left footpeg broke off, so I had no gears and had to retire. We can take a lot of positives from the weekend but it is disappointing not to get a good result at the end of it.”
Lowes claims heroic maiden Moto2 win for the UK
It was an incredible Moto2 race, with moments of drama throughout and a thrilling finish as a number of riders were in with a chance for the race win. Tito Rabat got the best start, leading the field into the first corner, but that would be as good as it got for the Spaniard. Johann Zarco took the lead on lap 1, and he and Lowes then started to gap the rest of the pack. Xavier Simeon and Alex Rins then set about hunting the front two down, catching them with 11 laps still to go.
British rider Lowes bided his time throughout the race, overtaking Ajo Motorsport’s Johann Zarco to lead with just 6 laps remaining. As Zarco and Xavier Simeon tried to reel him back in, they made contact, with the latter crashing out in an incident that was investigated by Race Direction but neither rider was found to be at fault.
This left Lowes to take the win, despite having to ride through the pain barrier after a number of huge crashes in Practice and Qualifying. Zarco regained his composure to finish in 2nd, ahead of the rookie Alex Rins on the Paginas Amarillas HP40 Kalex, who now leads the World Championship standings.
The reigning Moto2 Champion Tito Rabat finished in 4th on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing machine, ahead of the Italtrans Racing Team Kalex of Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syarin, who claimed a fantastic 6th place for his Petronas Raceline Malaysia Team.
Anthony West scored an encouraging seventh place result.
Imperious Kent takes Moto3 win
A drying track led to an incident packed Moto3 race, as Leopard Racing’s Danny Kent went on to take a faultless win at the Circuit of The Americas. The British rider, who was over half a second quicker than the rest of the field in Qualifying, got swallowed up by the pack at the start and dropped back to 5th.
He then set about making his way to the front, taking the lead on the 4th lap, before breaking away unchallenged for the rest of the race to win by over 8.5 seconds. It is unusual to see one rider dominate in a Moto3™ race, but no one had a response to the lap times that Kent was putting in, and for the rest of the riders it became a fight for the remaining spots on the podium.
15-year-old Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (+8.532s) on the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda own the battle for second place as Alexis Masbou crashed out on the last corner. Kent’s teammate Efren Vazquez took 3rd ahead of the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 bike of Enea Bastianini, with Honda securing a lock out of the top 4 places.
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder finished in 5th, with Scotsman John McPhee on the SAXOPRINT RTG Honda rounding out the top 6, after starting from 15th.
Remy Gardner finished the race in 18th position.
Remy Gardner (18th): “It has been a tough weekend for all of us. Track was not completely dry and it was very easy to make a mistake. I touched other rider at the start of the race and lost a lot of time. After the incident I’ve been trying to keep my concentration and recover positions but without making any mistakes. Finish the race was very important for me after Qatar crash and I’ve done it just three places behind Top 15”.
A number of riders crashed as they appeared to be caught out by track conditions, with Bagnaia, Loi, Oliveira, Ono, Antonelli and Navarro amongst those hitting the deck.