Marc Marquez has become the youngest ever race winner in MotoGP™, triumphing in Sunday’s inaugural Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas from teammate Dani Pedrosa. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo completed the podium, but it is Marquez who heads the standings after just two races in the top class.
On Saturday, 20-year-old Marquez took over from former double title winner Freddie Spencer as the youngest ever pole-sitter in the premier class. He now becomes the youngest race winner, having seen off a challenge from Pedrosa on the other Repsol Honda Team machine. Although he is now level on points with Lorenzo in the championship, Marquez holds the lead as he is the most recent Grand Prix winner.
“If I’m honest…no,” Marquez admitted when asked whether he expected the victory so early in his MotoGP career. “To be third in my first race in Qatar was a dream and now, to take the victory in the second race…that’s even better!
“The race was quite hard, especially in terms of physical condition towards the end – with corners like turn one. I had some problems with the front that I hadn’t had in practice, but even with that I was able to push and keep up a constant rhythm – not so fast, but enough.
“So I’m very happy with that and I want to say thanks to all of my team. Without them this would not have been possible.”
Pedrosa was pleased with his first rostrum of the season.
“No tactics, really: just to go out there and do the fastest possible laps all the time,” Pedrosa said after the race. “I know I wasn’t going super quick in the first section, so towards the end I was struggling there with some pain in my (left) arm; I couldn’t really flick the bike in the way I had been. I lost some ground there, but was making up in the second part of the track. Then I made a mistake and lost one and a half seconds, so that was it, but I’m really happy with the bike this time and I’m glad for the team.”
Although he had to settle for the final step on the podium, Lorenzo admitted his satisfaction at a circuit on which Honda bikes dominated the weekend. Furthermore, the reigning world champion had just notched up his 100th career podium across the three classes of MotoGP™.
“Winning is winning and third position is third position,” Lorenzo said after the race. “This track is probably the worst for us, so finishing third and being so close to the winner is something we didn’t expect yesterday.
“In the warm-up we found something, changing to second gear for the hairpins and slow corners. That made it much better but unfortunately we didn’t set up the best gear ratios for the best acceleration, so we just needed two tenths that we didn’t have.”
As the red lights went out at the new Circuit of the Americas – located on the outskirts of Austin, Tex. – it was Pedrosa who seized the lead, while Lorenzo headed backwards courtesy of a poor getaway. A lightning start for LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl allowed the German to go second but he was soon overhauled by Marquez, Lorenzo and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow.
Following Pedrosa and waiting patiently for his moment, Marquez courageously dived up the inside of turn seven on the 13th of the 21 laps. Pedrosa would hang onto the back of his teammate, but lost ground courtesy of a small error six laps later.
To the delight of his crew, Marquez would take the chequered flag by one and a half seconds, with Lorenzo just over the same margin behind Pedrosa.
Having not tested at the venue a month ago, Crutchlow was more than pleased with fourth – having hoped for a top six result this weekend – as Bradl and Rossi completed that particular group, with the multiple title winner having overhauled GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. The latter would also fall behind Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who progressed to seventh on the final lap and then avoided a last-corner lunge from his rival.
Leading American rider Nicky Hayden and Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone rounded out the top 10.
Extending his lead in the CRT ranks, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro enjoyed a strong ride to 11th place ahead of two prototype riders – English rookie Bradley Smith (Tech 3) and American Ben Spies (Ignite Pramac Racing) – as well as French teammate Randy de Puniet.
Colin Edwards was on the sidelines, as the local Texan hero racked up the unenviable fact of becoming the race’s first of three retirements.
Nico Terol won in Moto2™ for the first time. Esteve Rabat narrowly beat Mika Kallio and Dominique Aegerter to second place as erstwhile championship leader Pol Espargaro crashed out. Scott Redding fell to fifth from pole position but now heads to the next round at Jerez as the new leader in the standings.
Marc VDS Racing Team’s Redding came from a career-first pole, but had lost his lead by as early as lap five when starting to struggle with tires.
Perhaps the biggest drama of the race came on the previous tour, when Tuenti HP 40’s Espargaro lost control and retired from the race; with his left boot having come off his foot during the accident, the Spaniard could be seen limping upon his return to the paddock.
From third on the grid, Terol avoided any trouble at turn one to seize second place – then taking advantage of Redding as the Englishman began to drop off the pace. The Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 rider proceeded to stretch out a healthy lead of 3.5 seconds, only backing off as his comfortable position became more apparent in the second half of the race.
Behind, a fierce battle roared as Espargaro’s teammate Rabat went head-to-head with Marc VDS’ Kallio and Technomag carXpert’s Aegerter. The Spaniard would come out on top from the Finn, with the Swiss escaping a lurid last-lap wobble.
Barcelona’s Alex Rins has triumphed for the first time, winning Sunday’s opening Moto3™ Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. At the end of a dramatic five-lap sprint following a red flag, the 17-year-old battled with championship leader Luis Salom, who lost second place to Maverick Viñales at the final corner.
The weekend was controlled by Rins, who on Saturday sealed his second pole position by a comfortable margin. At the start of Sunday’s race, the Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider seized the advantage after being momentarily overhauled by Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom at the uphill first corner.
On lap 12, the action was broken up courtesy of a race stoppage after Dutchman Jasper Iwema suffered a heavy accident. The RW Racing GP rider lost control of his bike on the exit of turn 17, flying into the air. The 23-year-old was treated in the circuit Medical Centre before being transported to hospital in Austin.
On the restart, Salom had learned from his first experience and slowed on the apex of turn one in order to seize the lead and keep it. After several changes for position, it was Salom who took control at the start of the final lap. Rins retook the advantage at the end of the back straight, sealing the win when Salom ran wide at the final corner – thus allowing Viñales into second.
Salom and Rins now share the championship lead with 41 points apiece, with Viñales just a further one in arrears.
The story continues in Jerez with the Gran Premio bwin de España in two weeks’ time.
MotoGP Race Results (courtesy Repsol Honda)
- 1 Marc Marquez 43’42.123 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
- 2 Dani Pedrosa +1.534 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
- 3 Jorge Lorenzo +3.381 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
- 4 Cal Crutchlow +6.616 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- 5 Stefan Bradl +12.674 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
- 6 Valentino Rossi +16.615 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
- 7 Andrea Dovizioso +22.374 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
- 8 Alvaro Bautista +22.854 SPA HONDA & FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
- 9 Nicky Hayden +33.773 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
- 10 Andrea Iannone +42.112 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
- 11 Aleix Espargaro +48.837 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
- 12 Bradley Smith +50.705 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- 13 Ben Spies +1’14.132 USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
- 14 Randy De Puniet +1’15.651 FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
- 15 Yonny Hernandez +1’19.591 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
- 16 Michael Laverty +1’34.391 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
- 17 Hiroshi Aoyama +1’39.823 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
- 18 Hector Barbera +1’39.952 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
- 19 Claudio Corti +1’46.773 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
- 20 Bryan Staring +1’48.084 AUS HONDA & FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
- 21 Blake Young +1 lap USA APR CRT Attack Performance
- 22 Danilo Petrucci DNF ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
- 23 Lukas Pesek DNF CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
- 24 Colin Edwards DNF USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
MotoGP Standings (courtesy Repsol Honda)
- 1 Marc Marquez 41 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
- 2 Jorge Lorenzo 41 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
- 3 Dani Pedrosa 33 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
- 4 Valentino Rossi 30 pts ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
- 5 Cal Crutchlow 24 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- 6 Alvaro Bautista 18 pts SPA HONDA & FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
- 7 Andrea Dovizioso 18 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
- 8 Nicky Hayden 15 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
- 9 Andrea Iannone 13 pts ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
- 10 Stefan Bradl 11 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
- 11 Aleix Espargaro 10 pts SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
- 12 Ben Spies 9 pts USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
- 13 Randy De Puniet 6 pts FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
- 14 Bradley Smith 4 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- 15 Yonny Hernandez 3 pts COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
- 16 Hector Barbera 3 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
- 17 Hiroshi Aoyama 1 pts JAP FTR Avintia Blusens