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Bautista’s tenacity rewarded with a point
Pull&Bear Aspar rider recovers from a crash to finish fifteenth in his 125th MotoGP GP appearence, a race that saw Karel Abraham depart on the second lap
Marc Márquez did the only thing he knows how to do at the Circuit Of The Americas today: win. This is the fifth time the MotoGP World Championship has visited this track and the Spaniard has five poles and five wins to his name. With series leader Maverick Viñales crashing out early in the race, the gap between the two is reduced to twelve points in a championship that now has a new leader, with Valentino Rossi taking second today to move to the top of the standings. The Italian returns to Europe with a six-point lead over his team-mate and eighteen over Márquez. Dani Pedrosa made the podium today for the first time since San Marino last year, with Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco completing the top five as the top Independent riders.
It was a bittersweet weekend for Pull&Bear Aspar rider Álvaro Bautista, who started his 125th MotoGP race from nineteenth on the grid after some practice issues with his Ducati. Bautista battled his way up to thirteenth in the race before a crash at the midway stage saw him lose forty seconds, although he was able to continue and pick up a single point in fifteenth. His team-mate Karel Abraham has endured a difficult weekend ever since a crash on Friday set back his working programme. The Czech rider has proved he had the pace to be fighting for points today but a crash on the second lap meant that he was unable to do so. The cause of the crash is still unknown, although it could have been caused by a loss of grip on the front tyre.
15th Álvaro Bautista:“I don’t know why I crashed. I was on the same line and going through the corner in the usual way. It is a shame because it hasn’t been a good weekend for us, but with the pace we found we could have been fighting for a top ten finish, close to the factory guys. Now we need to get our feeling back at Jerez, and see if in front of the home fans there we can be competitive again like we have been in the previous Grands Prix.”
Karel Abraham (DNF): “It was a fast crash and I hit the tyre wall but luckily I am okay. When I stood up and looked for the bike it was everywhere and nowhere. It must have broken into a million pieces. This weekend was really unlucky for me. This morning we had some things we wanted to try but we had a tyre problem, then we restarted on a used tyre and I only managed to make one lap time. I was worried about the race but I felt quite good at the start, I was with Rabat and I should have stayed in that group, which would have been good after the weekend we have had. Then I came to turn eleven and all of a sudden I was on the ground. We have checked the data and what we can see is that we did just the same as the other laps. We need to analyse the data further.”
THE RS-GP CONFIRMS ITS POTENTIAL EVEN ON A DIFFICULT WEEKEND
ESPARGARÓ FINISHES THE RACE DESPITE A PIT STOP
LOWES CRASHES IN THE 12TH LAP
ALBESIANO: “WE HAD THE POTENTIAL TO STAY IN THE TOP TEN”
You need to search through the various sessions of the Texan weekend between practice, qualifying and the race to “filter” the performance of Aleix Espargaró and his RS-GP from the extraordinary chain of adverse events that clipped the wings of his ambition. Having started from the last spot on the grid for not having participated in the qualifiers on Saturday, Aleix found his pace after a few laps, catching up to 15th position. His times, improving decisively, even made a top-ten finish seem possible, something that would have been quite an undertaking. Instead, from the seventh lap, problems with the front end first slowed him visibly and then forced him to pit lane.
After changing the tyre and re-joining, without any more hope of a placement, Aleix lapped at a pace even better than the riders who were battling for tenth. This feedback and the times in the Sunday warm-up, the only positive notes on a weekend that was difficult like few others for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, confirm the potential of the Espargaró-Aprilia duo. Sam Lowes’ race came to an early end after a crash when, after finding his pace, he had moved in behind Smith just behind the points zone.
Now it is time to head for Europe, with two days of testing at Mugello on Wednesday and Thursday. The goal is to pick up from all the positive that had been demonstrated in the first two rounds of the season.
ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER
FAUSTO GRESINI – TEAM MANAGER
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow followed up his podium finish in Argentina with a fine fourth-placed finish at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin on Sunday. The Briton demonstrated his battling qualities once again with a superb ride in the MotoGP class to finish just outside the top three having departed from ninth place on the grid in Texas.
Crutchlow made a great start to the race as he quickly moved through the field into sixth place and assumed fifth when championship leader Maverick Viñales crashed out on lap two. He was then involved in a thrilling battle with Johann Zarco and eventually got the better of the Frenchman on the final lap to claim fourth spot.
Although he acknowledged afterwards that he was disappointed to miss out on a second consecutive podium, Crutchlow is pleased with his start to the 2017 MotoGP World Championship. Fellow Honda rider Marc Marquez claimed his fifth straight victory at the Circuit of The Americas with Valentina Rossi and Dani Pedrosa behind him.
It was a good race, I felt confident throughout and my team did a fantastic job all weekend. Of course, I’m a little disappointed not to get the podium because we were very close, but I took too long to pass Johann Zarco and after that I lost a little bit of time running off the track”.
“But I felt comfortable during the race and physically strong, and I was still able to push towards the end. I would have liked another podium, but a third in Argentina and fourth here in Texas is good from the last two flyaway races. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the first European round in Jerez.”************
MICHELIN SEES MARQUEZ SERVE UP A TEXAN MASTERCLASS
Michelin witnessed Marc Marquez continue his unbeaten run at the Circuit Of The Americas today as he raced to victory at the third round of the championship during the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas held in Texas.
Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) started from pole position following yesterday’s qualifying session, but had to concede the holeshot and first-lap advantage to team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). The pair led the race as the pack started to form behind them, which was then quickly altered when championship leader Maverick Viñales crashed. As the race wore on Marquez and Pedrosa swapped positions at the front several times before the reigning World Champion seized the opportunity on lap-nine and took a decisive lead which he held until the chequered flag. Marquez crossed the line to take his fifth successive victory at COTA and his ninth consecutive MotoGP class win on American soil, whilst setting the fastest lap of the race on his 15th circulation.
The battle for the podium positions was an entertaining affair as Pedrosa was hunted down by nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). The Spaniard held off the charging Italian for as long as he could, but succumbed on lap-19 leaving Rossi to take second – a position which also gave him the lead in the World Championship Classification – with Pedrosa coming home third. Fourth place was the fight for the First Independent Rider position as Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) both chased the spoils, with Crutchlow eventually getting the better of the rookie as the race concluded. Sixth position went to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), with Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) in seventh. Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Ducati) took eighth, with Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) rounding out the top-ten with ninth and tenth respectively.
The range of MICHELIN Power Slicks were put to good use today as five of the six specifications were used by the riders and paired in many different configurations throughout the field. The choice of the podium men saw Marquez go with a hard front and rear compound, while Rossi favoured the medium front and rear, with the third placed rider Pedrosa choosing the medium front and hard rear. This difference in choice again highlighted that Michelin can supply a range of tyres for all riders and machines and give competitive options to all the field.
Michelin and the whole of the MotoGP paddock will now re-group and return to Europe after the hectic start to the season which has seen three fly-away tests and three long-haul races. Round four of the championship will be the Spanish Grand Prix to be held at Jerez in Spain on Sunday 7th May.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:
“Today’s race was very good, but also very tricky. It was difficult last year, but this year it was really demanding for the tyres, especially the right side with the many long corners and today the temperature was quite high. Today I chose the hard option front and rear and at the start it was difficult to get the feeling because I hadn’t used the hard front properly in the practice because the temperature wasn’t high enough. I managed my tyres well and attacked during the middle of the race. This was a nice result for us because in this kind of race where we manage the tyres is really demanding for a rider and so today was a good result for me, my team and Michelin.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“This has been another important weekend for us and again shows the different options of tyres that can be used by the riders. Today we had five of the six specifications used, with the top-three all using different configurations, and this was also repeated throughout the field. The riders reported the track was very bumpy and had a changed a lot from last year, so we were impressed with how they coped and used the tyres to make the best of the unusual conditions. Overall this has been another encouraging weekend and one that we will again take a lot from. We now go to Europe where we will race at Jerez and then have an important test at the same track on the Monday after the race, which will see us doing some back-to-back comparisons between existing tyres, previous prototypes and new versions, all designed to take our performance – and that of the riders – on to the next level.”
Rossi Clinches Second Place at Circuit of The Americas
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi secured a superb second place at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Teammate Maverick Viñales was on the move in the early stages, but a slide down the track in lap 2 prevented him from completing the race.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGPs Valentino Rossi showed an impressive pace in the Grand Prix of The Americas to claim his third consecutive podium finish of the season. Teammate Maverick Viñales was looking confident, but his race ended prematurely 20 laps before the end.
Rossi was strong out of the gates and settled into third position exiting the first corner. He chased Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in the opening laps, careful not to let them clear off into the distance.
With 15 laps to go the Italian went wide in the first corner and got into a scrap with Johann Zarco. After a touch between the two Yamaha riders in turn 4, the Doctor was pushed wide, but he quickly rejoined the track and held on to third position.
As the front runners quarrelled over the next few laps, Rossi took the opportunity with both hands to close the gap. He reached Pedrosa with five laps to go and bided his time. Two laps later, his carefully planned overtake came in the last corner. The nine-time World Champion then put his head down. He was on the limit for the last two laps to take the flag +3.069s behind the leader, securing second place despite being penalised with 0.3s at the end of the race, due to the incident with Zarco.
Viñales had a busy first lap. Starting from second place on the grid he got off the line well, but found himself in fifth place after all 22 riders had squeezed through the first corner. He soon overtook Jorge Lorenzo for fourth and was eager to remain on the tail of his teammate on their way to the front, but his challenge was cut short by a crash in turn 16 one lap later. The Spanish youngster was left unhurt, but unable to continue the race.
Todays results see Rossi take over the lead in the championship standings with 56 points, 6 points ahead of Viñales in second place. In the Constructor’s Championship, Yamaha still holds the lead with a 16-point margin, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team stays on top in the Team’s Championship standings, 41 points ahead of its closest rival.
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will next cross the Atlantic Ocean for the Gran Premio de España at the Circuito de Jerez in two weeks time.
Valentino Rossi – 2nd +3.069s
It was a great surprise for me and for the team because we were struggling very much with the new bike, especially during the winter. I think we need more time to understand the setting and the way to ride it, but at the end this bike is very good, especially in the race and with the used tyres. Im so happy, because today I wasnt so far from the front and its also the best result of my career at this track, so its good. When I saw Viñales out I started to think Im on top of the championship standings. I felt good and I also saw Dani having some problems, especially on the right, so I said maybe those four points are important and in fact it was like that. For me the penalty wasnt right. The problem is we either do it like this, or we crash together at a very dangerous point. But for me, though accepting Race Directions decision, the mistake was made by Zarco.
Maverick Viñales – DNF
It was a really strange crash. I did exactly the same as in Warm Up and all weekend, but I crashed. I think we had some issues with the front tyre, but anyway, we know that we are strong and that we have the speed. We can be strong again, so Im going to try to forget this crash and come to Jerez even faster, stronger and more consistent than I was here.
Overall its been a mixed day for us. Valentino did a fantastic job to take a very important second place. His start was good and played a vital role. He positioned his YZR-M1 exactly right and this allowed him to chase the leading duo. It was inevitable for him to go onto the run-off area after the incident with Zarco, but Vale’s experience shone through again. He was quick to get his head down and at the end we get to celebrate a strong second place, even after the questionable 0.3s penalty. It was very unfortunate that Mavericks race ended early because, judging by the pace he displayed all weekend, he would certainly have been able to challenge for the victory. We have checked the data and theres nothing strange or different from what he has done since Friday. The front closed without any warning and he could not do anything to save it. Its a great pity because he was really confident on the bike, so we take that away from this race weekend as a positive. Were certain he will come back strong in Spain in two weeks time.
Zarco stars under the Texan sun to seal 5th Folger perseveres to scoop 11th
Johann Zarco continued his dazzling form aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 in his third race in the premier class to finish 5th at the Circuit of The Americas today. The French rider leapt forward from the middle of the second row of the grid and quickly stuck into a formidable rhythm as he battled against the vastly experienced Grand Prix winners at the front of the field. Eventually, Zarco powered across the finish line in 5th with the result moving him to 7th in the standings. Meanwhile, Jonas Folger fought relentlessly in the gruelling 21 lap sprint in Austin, Texas to seize 11th and seal another solid point scoring result. The young German fully intends to break back into the top ten at the next round in Spain at the Circuito de Jerez in a fortnight.
Johann Zarco – 5th,
Monster Energy Tech3 Yamaha
“I am really happy with the result but the start of the race was tricky and it was not easy to get into a good position at the first turn. However, I felt great on my Yamaha so I started attacking from the third corner, and I was quickly able to overtake my opponents and get into 5th. I wanted to follow the top group so I pushed to stay close to Valentino and I was able to fight with him, which was fantastic. We came very close at one point because I had a bit more speed than him in the third corner, and maybe it was a bit too tight but fortunately, nothing serious happened and he went on to finish second. I really didnt want to cause a problem for Vale and I know that I can learn a lot from him so luckily, we both recovered. After this, I continued to do my best and at the end of the sprint, Crutchlow was slightly faster, but nevertheless, 5th is just awesome and I am pleased because the podium was close today.”
Jonas Folger – 11th
“It was a tough race and I did my best, but Im a little bit disappointed, to be honest. However, there are always positives and today, we were just 18 seconds back from the top, plus six seconds behind Dovizioso who finished 6th which is good. Having said that, I made some mistakes in the GP, especially when the bike started to get lighter due to the decreasing fuel load. I was not able to adapt as well as I did in the last GP, and thats when I lost some positions. Now we have to analyse everything and see how we can move forward. We learnt a lot again this weekend but I have to be able to set the bike up better in the practices and be stronger in the fight. I have scored points in all three races so far, and this is pleasing, but once you reach a certain position, your goals get higher and I aim to make a step up. We know what we can do and we realise that 6th could have been ours if we worked more effectively in the practice. Anyway, I will focus now on the next round in Jerez where I am sure that I can finish in a stronger position.”
Masterful win for Marquez in Texas, with Pedrosa third
Taking his first win of this season today, Marc Marquez completed another perfect weekend at Circuit of the Americas, succeeding in Austin for the fifth-straight time after starting from pole position. Meanwhile, Dani Pedrosa made it a double-podium finish for Repsol Honda Team, posting a solid third-place result after leading the early going.
The Repsol Honda riders completed lap one at the front of the pack, Dani having grabbed the lead into turn one from his second-row start, with Marc following in his teammate’s slipstream for several laps before making a bid for the lead. Although Pedrosa put up a strong defence, the reigning champ took over for good on lap 9 of 21 and extended his advantage during the latter part of the race, while Dani was obliged to relinquish the runner-up position to Valentino Rossi with three laps remaining.
Amazingly, Marc has won every Premier-class GP he has ever entered in the U.S., having also taken three MotoGP victories in Indianapolis and one in Laguna Seca; including his two Moto2 wins in the country, this is Marc’s 11th consecutive victory in the USA. That said, the last time the Repsol Honda man had stood atop the podium was when he clinched last year’s title in Suzuka, Japan, last October, so this victory marked a welcome return to the top.
Marc’s win today also adds yet another important piece to Honda’s own domination in MotoGP events hosted in the USA. In fact, the last 14 MotoGP races on American tarmac have been won by Honda riders. (The last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the country was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010.) Honda have therefore won 17 of the 22 premier-class Grand Prix races that have taken place in the USA during the MotoGP era.
With this result, Marc and Dani move up the Championship standings to third and sixth places, respectively.