Marc Marquez has become the youngest ever rider to take a victory in the MotoGP class with the 20-year-old taking his maiden race at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas ahead of his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa and their main rival Jorge Lorenzo taking third for the Yamaha Factory Racing team.
After taking my first podium in Qatar I was very happy, but I am even more so today after my first win!
The 21-lap race ran under blue skies throughout and it was the two factory Honda riders streaking out in front from the start with Lorenzo in hot pursuit. Go&Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista began hassling Rossi early on and was passed the Italian within a couple of laps and behind these two was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) leading Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) while Power Electronics Aspar CRT rider Aleix Espargaro was riding the wheels off his machine ahead of Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies.
Pedrosa wasn’t putting a wheel out of place head of his teammate but Marquez was comfortable to follow his countryman’s lines and they continued to stretch out a lead ahead of Lorenzo who was doing everything to bridge the gap to the top two riders. The fight for 4th place was being contested by Crutchlow and Bradl with Crutchlow losing out after running wide and letting Bradl get away and with it Bautista slipping under the British rider. Meanwhile at the rear of the field Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsports Team) was riding impressively and progressed through the filed from last place to 17th within the first half of the race
Lukas Pesek lost the front of his machine while battling it out at the rear of the field and there was also bad luck for Colin Edwards and the NGM Forward Racing team who retired with what appeared to be a mechanical fault. The fight for top CRT place continued to be led by Espargaro and was leading Monster Yamaha Tech rider Bradley Smith who was in front of Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies who wasn’t having a good day in front of his home fans. Back in the upper half of the race positions, Rossi continued in a lonely 6th place with the Italian not able to push any harder while Dovizioso led home Bautista, Hayden and Iannone to make up the top ten.
The final few laps of the race saw Marquez stretch his lead a little more and Lorenzo was starting to catch Pedrosa who had reduced his pace somewhat. Marquez was thrilled crossing the line for his first ever MotoGP race win and on the cool down lap he was given many warm congratulations by the rest of the riders and the warmest of all came from seven times MotoGP champion Rossi that thrilled Marquez even more.
Marquez was thrilled with his first win and he also now is joint championship leader with Jorge Lorenzo. He said, “After taking my first podium in Qatar I was very happy, but I am even more so today after my first win! It went better than I expected and I am very grateful to the team for their efforts over the preseason; we have worked very hard and, without this, the victory would not have been possible. The race was very intense and physical, as I followed Dani for many laps and then decided to launch an attack and try to open a gap with ten laps to go.
I could not pull the gap I wanted as some problems emerged that we’d experienced throughout the weekend. Despite all this, we were able to take the victory. The 25 points are important, but what is more important is to have achieved a win in my second race in MotoGP. We realize that more difficult circuits lie ahead for us, but we will try to give 100% at all of them. Our battle is not the one for the championship, but rather taking it race-by-race and enjoying every moment,” Marquez added.
Pedrosa was happy to secure another podium finish and 20 more championship points and said, “Today's race was good and I'm happy with this second place. We had great pace, even though we knew that Marc was very strong. I tried to ride my own race and in the end I was losing a lot of time on the chicanes. I was tiring physically and I could not handle the bike well - especially in the first part of the circuit. In the second section of the track I was recovering quite a lot of time, but it was not enough. Furthermore, in one of the three laps before the end I made a mistake, lost around 1.5 seconds and Marc was able to get away. That was the point at which the race was lost for me. Still, I'm happy, my riding was pretty good today and I have improved compared with Qatar. I have to congratulate Marc as well, because he did a great job! Now we need to focus on Jerez - a circuit I like a lot.”
It’s an important day for me; I never thought to get this unbelievable number of podiums so today is a magic day. Time flies very quickly, it seems like it was just yesterday that I got my first victory, which was my first podium in Brazil in 2003 ten years ago and now today my 100th,” Lorenzo added.