Austin MotoGP: Marquez stays unbeaten at COTA, Vinales crashes

Austin MotoGP: Marquez stays unbeaten at COTA, Vinales crashes
Apr 23, 2017, 7:51 PM

Honda's Marc Marquez claimed a fifth successive MotoGP victory at the Circuit of the Americas, as points leader Maverick Vinales crashed out early on.

It was Dani Pedrosa who commanded the early stages after a lightning getaway from fourth on the grid, with Marquez slotting into second ahead of the two factory Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Vinales.

But Vinales fell out of contention on the second lap of 21 with a low-side crash at Turn 18, ending the Spaniard's winning streak after his victories in Qatar and Argentina.

That left Rossi alone against the Repsol Honda duo at the head of the field, with Pedrosa keeping Marquez bottled up until the eighth lap, when Marquez made an unsuccessful attempt to pass Pedrosa at Turn 11.

The following lap Marquez was able to make the move stick, with Pedrosa - who unlike Marquez opted for a medium front tyre instead of a hard - initially staying close to his teammate.

But by the end of the 14th lap, Marquez had pulled a second clear, and from there he steadily increased the gap out front to win by 3.069s - scoring his first win of the year, his 30th in the premier class, and keeping his perfect record of MotoGP wins in the USA intact.

Behind, Pedrosa soon came under pressure from Rossi in the battle for second, with the Italian having earlier been handed a 0.3s time penalty for cutting the track and gaining an advantage on Lap 7.

The sanction came when Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco tried to force his way by Rossi at Turn 4, which resulted in the seven-time premier class champion gaining ground on Marquez ahead.

Rossi's penalty didn't affect his result though, as he passed Pedrosa at Turn 19 with three laps remaining and pulled away from the Honda rider to the tune of two seconds.

With 56 points from the first three races, Rossi now leads the championship by six from Vinales, with Marquez moving up to third on 38 points.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) passed Zarco on the penultimate lap to claim fourth, a further 2.5s back, while Andrea Dovizioso was the top Ducati rider in sixth.

His teammate Jorge Lorenzo ran seventh for much of the race, but faded to ninth behind Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) and Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) in the closing stages.

Jack Miller (Marc VDS Honda) completed the top 10 ahead of the second Tech 3 Yamaha of Jonas Folger and Scott Redding's Pramac Ducati.

Besides Vinales, Karel Abraham (Aspar Ducati), Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati), Sam Lowes (Aprilia) and Alvaro Bautista (Aspar Ducati) all crashed, although the last-named was able to remount to beat Bradley Smith's KTM to the final point.

The sister KTM of Pol Espargaro was an early retirement with a clutch problem.

Aleix Espargaro's Aprilia also made a mid-race visit to the pits with an apparent front tyre problem, and resumed to come home 17th and last of the finishers.

Race results:

1 93 spain Marc Marquez  Honda 43'58.770
2 46 italy Valentino Rossi  Yamaha 3.069
3 26 spain Dani Pedrosa  Honda 5.112
4 35 united_kingdom Cal Crutchlow  Honda 7.638
5 5 france Johann Zarco  Yamaha 7.957
6 4 italy Andrea Dovizioso  Ducati 14.058
7 29 italy Andrea Iannone  Suzuki 15.491
8 9 italy Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 16.772
9 99 spain Jorge Lorenzo  Ducati 17.979
10 43 australia Jack Miller  Honda 18.494
11 94 germany Jonas Folger  Yamaha 18.903
12 45 united_kingdom Scott Redding  Ducati 28.735
13 53 spain Tito Rabat  Honda 30.041
14 8 spain Hector Barbera  Ducati 31.364
15 19 spain Alvaro Bautista  Ducati 1'06.547
16 38 united_kingdom Bradley Smith  KTM 1'22.090
17 41 spain Aleix Espargaro  Aprilia 2 laps
Ret 22 united_kingdom Sam Lowes  Aprilia 10 laps
Ret  44 spain Pol Espargaro  KTM 12 laps
Ret  76 france Loris Baz  Ducati 13 laps
Ret  25 spain Maverick Viñales  Yamaha 20 laps
Ret  17 czech_republic Karel Abraham  Ducati 20 laps
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