Honda’s Marc Marquez scored his fourth consecutive MotoGP victory at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas to convincingly beat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, whose teammate Valentino Rossi crashed out.
Despite early challenges from Lorenzo and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso – who both led briefly – Marquez stamped his authority on the race and pulled inexorably away to his second win of the season.
Rossi crashed out of the race early on at Turn 2, having complained of a clutch problem hampering his progress soon after the start. It was his first retirement since Aragon in 2014.
In another big shunt, Dani Pedrosa took out Dovizioso after dropping his Honda at Turn 1 – all riders were unhurt.
Story of the race
Lorenzo made the best start, leading Marquez and Rossi into Turn 1 but ran wide, with Marquez and Rossi taking the lead but almost touching at Turn 2.
Lorenzo regained second from Rossi, just cutting in front of the Italian on the approach to Turn 3, and then attacked Marquez at Turn 11, but overshot again – allowing Marquez back in front. Rossi briefly got back into second, but soon dropped back.
Marquez led an aggressive Dovizioso at the end of lap one, with the Ducati powering past on the start/finish straight only for Marquez to retake the lead at Turn 1 under braking. Behind them, Lorenzo held third from Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki), Pedrosa and Rossi.
Rossi reported that he’d been struggling with his clutch spinning in the early laps. He and Pedrosa swapped fifth place, but Rossi crashed out of the race at the Turn 2 sweeper while chasing the Spaniard’s Honda. He was unhurt, but his race was over.
Lorenzo passed Dovizioso for second on lap five, but Marquez was already two seconds clear of him.
Fourth-placed Pedrosa was hanging with Lorenzo and Dovizioso, helped by his soft rear tyre. But Pedrosa dropped his bucking Honda spectacularly at Turn 1, and slammed into the unfortunate Dovizioso, taking him out. The winded Italian had to be assisted from trackside by medics after taking an almighty hit – albeit just behind his left leg.
Pedrosa, who retired after rejoining for a few laps, took the trouble to visit Dovizioso in the pits to apologise.
Aleix Espargaro dropped away from the leaders, with Ducati’s Andrea Iannone (who started with a three-place grid penalty) right with him by lap six, the Ducati man passing him – the duo now running third and fourth after the collision ahead of them.
Seventh-placed Cal Crutchlow, who made a poor start from the second row, dropped his LCR Honda at Turn 1 while chasing Scott Redding’s Pramac Ducati, and was then almost hit by Bradley Smith’s sliding Tech 3 Yamaha – which appeared to crash behind him in sympathy.
That promoted Michele Pirro’s Pramac Ducati up to seventh, ahead of Pol Espargaro.
Marquez stamps his authority
By half distance, Marquez held a 5s lead over Lorenzo, with Iannone a further 4s back. That lead simply extended with almost every lap, Marquez scoring the win by 6s – although it was 8s going into the final lap – with Iannone 4s behind runner-up Lorenzo.
The Suzukis became locked in battle over fourth, with Aleix Espargaro holding sway from Vinales, the latter taking the place after a frantic series of opening corners on lap 11.
Behind them, Redding finished sixth, comfortably clear of Pol Espargaro. Hector Barbera’s Avintia Ducati was eighth, getting ahead of Pirro, with Stefan Bradl’s Aprilia also embroiled in the combat.
Pirro regained his eighth place from Barbera in the closing stages, with Bradl rounding out the top 10.
|1||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||43:57.945|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha YZR-M1||+6.107|
|3||Andrea Iannone||Ducati Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||+10.947|
|4||Maverick Viñales||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSX-RR||+18.422|
|5||Aleix Espargaro||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||Suzuki GSX-RR||+20.711|
|6||Scott Redding||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||+28.961|
|7||Pol Espargaro||Tech 3||Yamaha YZR-M1||+32.112|
|8||Michele Pirro||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati Desmosedici GP15||+32.757|
|9||Hector Barbera||Avintia Racing||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||+34.592|
|10||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia RS-GP||+40.211|
|11||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia RS-GP||+45.423|
|12||Eugene Laverty||Aspar Racing Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||+47.127|
|13||Tito Rabat||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda RC213V||+47.426|
|14||Yonny Hernandez||Aspar Racing Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||+51.190|
|15||Loris Baz||Avintia Racing||Ducati Desmosedici GP14||+1:12.929|
|16||Cal Crutchlow||Team LCR||Honda RC213V||+1:19.252|
|17||Bradley Smith||Tech 3||Yamaha YZR-M1||+1:28.036|
|R||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda Team||Honda RC213V||Crash|
|R||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||Ducati Desmosedici GP16||Crash|
|R||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha YZR-M1||Crash|
|W||Jack Miller||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda RC213V||Crash|