Marc Marquez may have continued his Circuit of the Americas MotoGP winning streak in dominant style on Sunday, but who else shone in Texas? Jamie Klein surveys the field.
Jorge Lorenzo – 9
After crashing in warm-up on Sunday morning, the reigning champion spoke of the need to “convince himself” that a good result could still be in the offing at COTA. Given nobody was ever realistically going to topple Marquez, Lorenzo can be satisfied to bag second and head to Jerez only 21 points back in the title chase – eight fewer than this time last year.
Valentino Rossi – 5
Not since Aragon 2014 had Rossi crashed out of a MotoGP race, but that streak of 24 consecutive top-five finishes ground to a shuddering halt at Turn 2 on the third lap in Austin. A clutch problem had helped relegate Rossi from third to sixth at the time of the crash, but The Doctor admitted this was unrelated. A rare, and costly, unforced error.
Marc Marquez – 10
Two races and two perfect scores for Marquez – but whereas victory in Argentina came as a surprise, the Spaniard’s imperious record around COTA made him pre-event favourite even before he began to stamp his authority in practice. Wasn’t so much faster than the opposition over a single lap, but using the soft tyre in race trim, he was simply unstoppable.
Dani Pedrosa – 3
The good fortune that saw Pedrosa come third in Argentina deserted the Repsol Honda rider in America. Languished a full 1.2s behind Marquez in qualifying, complaining of being unable to generate enough tyre warm-up with the stiffer construction Michelin rear, but there was little excuse for his early exit in the race and skittling the luckless Dovizioso in the process.
Andrea Dovizioso – 8
If there was any justice in the world, ‘Desmodovi’ would be Marquez’s closest rival in the riders’ standings; instead, he’s stuck on just 23 thanks to another non-score through no fault of his own. Outpaced by Iannone in qualifying, Dovizioso made a flying start to briefly lead, and a solid third was on the cards before he was downed by Pedrosa’s errant RC213V.
Andrea Iannone – 7
With speculation mounting in Austin of an imminent switch to red overalls for Lorenzo, it was imperative for Iannone to banish the memories of Argentina at COTA. Didn’t look to have the race pace to threaten Dovizioso prior to his premature exit, but on a day where several more experienced men hit the deck, nabbing the final podium spot meant a job well done for ‘The Maniac.’
Maverick Vinales – 8
It says a lot about this young rider’s ambition that he was disappointed with his best ever finish in MotoGP. Qualifying on the second row, Vinales was one of the few frontrunners to go with the soft rear, but was surprised that his rubber suffered a major drop-off just after half-distance. At least by then he had dispatched Suzuki teammate Espargaro to take a distant fourth.
Aleix Espargaro – 7
Following from a disastrous opening two rounds of the season, the elder of the Espargaro brothers looked a lot more like his old self in Austin. Less than two tenths behind Vinales in qualifying, Aleix may have lost out to his rapid young teammate in the battle for fourth, but hung on to finish only two seconds back to get his best result on a Suzuki yet.
Scott Redding – 7
Did well to save what he described as the biggest front slide of his career that resulted in a chewed knee-slider, and was left ruing his choice of front tyre – as he believed he could have taken fifth had he opted for the medium. Still, a first top-six finish of his Ducati career was by no means a bad result for Redding, especially after the tribulations of Argentina.
Pol Espargaro – 7
That the younger Espargaro finds himself in a lofty fourth in the riders’ standings says more about others’ inconsistencies than anything else, but that shouldn’t detract from what has been an excellent start to 2016 for the young Spaniard. His ascent from 13th on the grid to seventh was helped by attrition, but Pol deserves credit for staying upright where teammate Smith failed to.
Bradley Smith – 4
Rossi wasn’t the only rider to break a lengthy streak of points finishes in Austin, as Smith suffered his first non-score since the 2014 British GP after losing the front-end at Turn 11, moments after compatriot Crutchlow. Prior to that, the Tech 3 rider deserves some credit for turning around an unpromising weekend by qualifying on the fourth row ahead of teammate Espargaro.
Cal Crutchlow – 4
Three races, three crashes – although Crutchlow could at least claim to have finished this time after remounting his stricken Honda and crossing the line 16th. Claims he is having to take risks under braking to compensate for his machine’s lack of competitiveness in a straight line, but after Qatar and Argentina staying on the bike should have surely been the primary focus in Texas.