Championship leader grabs race win after battling with Rossi and Lorenzo
Marc Marquez has become the first rider to win ten consecutive victories in the premier class of MotoGP since Mick Doohan in 1997 with the Repsol Honda rider securing the historic race win at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix following a great battle with Movistar Yamaha teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
The 27-lap race got underway with Rossi making a masterful start from 5th place to take the lead ahead of Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso who also got off to a good start while Marquez got demoted to 5th place ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo. The twisty opening section of the Indy Motor Speedway also caught out GO&Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Pramac Racing rider Yonny Hernandez with both riders crashing out on the first lap.
Rossi and Dovizioso had pulled a short lead on the rest of the field after the first few laps while Marquez had to push hard to get past his teammate before setting his sights the leaders as was the case for Lorenzo who was also quickly up to speed and pushing Marquez for the podium position. The battle for the lead then took another turn at the start of lap 5 when Dovizioso made a move on Rossi who countered immediately but both riders nearly touched and Marquez pushed through with Lorenzo.
After the summer break it was important to start with another victory.
The change at the front was short lived and Rossi moved back into first place when Marquez went wide and Lorenzo also moving past Dovizioso into third place. The lead was to change again though with Marquez making the decisive move entering lap 11 with the championship leader passing both Yamaha riders in one corner and he immediately built up a short lead leaving Rossi and Lorenzo to battle for the remaining two podium positions.
There was an unusually high number of retirements during this year’s race with Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) retiring after Stefan Bradl crashed into the Spaniard with his LCR Honda machine and both riders unable to continue in the race with Bradl’s bike destroyed in the process. The final third of the race also saw further retirements for Danilo Petrucci (IodaRacing team) and Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and another agonizing retirement for Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone with the Italian’s bike cutting out while circulating in 7th place.
The remaining laps saw Marquez continuing to push at the front to take the historic victory while Lorenzo managed to stay ahead of Rossi who was unable to push any further after leading for the first third of the race. Taking fourth place was Dani Pedrosa who failed to bridge the gap to the leaders while Pol Espargaro took fifth ahead of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Bradley Smith who led home Dovizioso in 7th. Fellow countrymen Scott Redding (GO&Fun Honda Gresini) and Ducati Team rider Cal Crutchlow had a great race-long battle and it was Crutchlow who managed to come out on top.
Hiroshi Aoyama secured the final place in the top ten for the Drive M7 Aspar team ahead of Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham in 11th and Avintia Racing’s Mike Di Meglio and finishing his last ever home race in 13th was NGM Forward Racing rider Colin Edwards who retires at the end of this season. The final two places in the points were taken by Paul Bird Motorsport teammates Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes.
Marquez was delighted taking his second victory in the MotoGP class and said, “I am really happy to have taken this win! After the summer break it was important to start with another victory. Yesterday it seemed like it may be a straightforward race, but it ended up being quite the opposite. We suffered a lot and physically it was hard, there was a lot of humidity and I was sweating a lot. The track temperature rose by 10 degrees today and this made the tires behave differently. It was hard for me to have the same level of confidence. I was patient at the beginning and when I regained the good feeling I had in practice I decided to push, opening that two-second gap which in the end was enough for the win.”
Lorenzo was thrilled with his podium finish and getting the second half of the season off to a great start. He said, “The beginning of the championship was a little bit of a disaster for me. I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike and made many mistakes. Now I feel a lot better on the bike and I improved my physical condition. I rode well and consistently and I feel very fit on the bike. I ride against very strong riders now; Valentino improved his form this year. He is faster so it is not easy to overtake him and Marc is no longer the rookie rider he was last year. He has a very strong bike and he has more experience and is really fit and riding well. Despite this we are very focused on improving the bike.
Yamaha is working very hard, so I am confident that we will get a better bike hopefully for this year, but if not for next season. Maybe on one of the next tracks that suits my riding style we can challenge Marc, but if we want to be a consistent threat to him in every race, we have to improve a bit more and that’s what we are trying to do,” Rossi added.
Speaking about securing another podium finish this year Rossi said, “I am satisfied because this is a good third place after a good battle with Jorge and Marc. I led the race, stayed in front and rode well. I’m happy because usually this is a difficult track for me. We worked well with the team and the bike was good for the race. We were able to achieve a good pace, but now we have to make another step to arrive in front of Jorge and Marc.”
Round 11 of this year’s MotoGP World Championship continues next week (15-17th August) at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic.