Americas MotoGP: Marquez dominates, Quartararo extends points lead
Honda’s Marc Marquez cruised to his second win of the 2021 MotoGP season at the Grand Prix of the Americas, as Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo strengthened his championship lead.
Having ended his six-year Circuit of the Americas victory streak with a crash in 2019, Marquez made amends for this in Sunday’s 2021 edition of the Austin race and led every lap to take a commanding win.
The Honda rider leapt from third to the lead on the run up the hill into the first corner at the start, with Quartararo edging ahead of poleman Francesco Bagnaia.
In the opening laps, Marquez was kept in touch by the chasing Quartararo, while Bagnaia slid to sixth and Alex Rins jumped from seventh to third on lap one.
By lap six of 20 Marquez began to stretch his lead at the front of the field, his advantage opening up to seven tenths and continuing to climb to 1.5s come the following tour.
By now Pramac rookie Jorge Martin was the one chasing Quartararo in third, with the Yamaha rider fending off the Ducati and eventually pulling away from him.
Marquez was over four seconds clear of Quartararo by the time he started his final lap and came under no threat through to the chequered flag.
Quartararo took a comfortable second to strengthen his championship lead and head to the next round at Misano with his first opportunity at wrapping up the 2021 title.
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
However, his lead has only grown to 52 points after Bagnaia overturned his early struggles to fight back through to the podium places.
After Ducati teammate Jack Miller allowed him through at Turn 6 on lap 14 for fourth, Bagnaia began to eat into Martin’s gap ahead of him for third.
When the Pramac rider made a mistake through Turn 4 and was forced to shortcut the corner, Bagnaia found himself right on the tail of the rookie.
Though Martin was given a long lap penalty for cutting the track, it proved immaterial as Bagnaia eased through into third at Turn 12 to score his third-successive podium.
Martin served his long lap penalty on the final tour, which allowed Rins to take fourth at the chequered flag ahead of the Pramac rider.
Avintia rookie Enea Bastianini continued his purple patch to snatch sixth on the final lap on his two-year-old Ducati, beating reigning world champion Joan Mir by 0.137s.
Suzuki’s Mir now officially cannot retain his crown after a difficult race at COTA, the Spaniard seventh ahead of Miller – who couldn’t convert his gamble of being the only rider to run the hard tyre into anything more than eighth.
Joan Mir, Team Suzuki MotoGP
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Mir made contact with Miller into Turn 15 on the final lap, which allowed Bastianini to move into sixth.
Brad Binder on the factory KTM headed Honda’s Pol Espargaro to round out the top 10, with Miguel Oliveira recovering from 18th to finish 11th on the sister factory team KTM.
Alex Marquez was 12th on the LCR Honda after beating Petronas SRT’s Andrea Dovizioso by 0.564s, with Avintia’s Luca Marini fading from ninth on the grid to 14th at the finish ahead of half-brother Valentino Rossi (SRT).
Tech 3’s Iker Lecuona leaves Austin without points in 16th, with Takaaki Nakagami 17th after an early crash on his LCR Honda.
The field was completed by Tech 3’s Danilo Petrucci and Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) and Johann Zarco (Pramac) crashing out.
UPDATE: After the race, Mir was demoted from seventh to eighth for his contact with Miller.
Americas MotoGP race results - 20 laps
|41||Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia||8||12 Laps|
|5||Johann Zarco||Ducati||5||15 Laps|
|View full results|
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