It’s closer than ever as the flag falls at the end of the Americas GP, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) taking the win and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) taking the Championship lead as Texas shook up the standings. There are now five riders within eight points at the top of the title fight – with Marquez a point off the top after his win, and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) moving up to third after a second place finish at COTA.
The Americas GP also made it back-to-back podium finishes for Suzuki, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) putting in an impressive push from the front row to take third and his first rostrum finish of the season – and first rostrum with the Hamamatsu factory.
It was also Iannone who got the holeshot from second on the grid, but Marquez also got a stunner from Row 2 – slotting into second and on the chase behind the ‘Maniac’. Making his move soon after and taking the lead, the number 93 started to pull a gap – but Iannone wasn’t done, and gave it everything for a late dive up the inside of the reigning Champion. Running a bit wide on the exit, Marquez took him back – and then put his head down.
From there on out, the spectacular ballet of man and machine once more ruled the rodeo in Texas – with the victory making it ten consecutive premier class wins for Marquez on US soil.
Behind, however, it was getting pretty tight as Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) pressured teammate Viñales for third and Iannone held firm in second. But lap-by-lap, Viñales was able to ease away and stake his claim on P2 – closing in on Iannone before a well-judged pass into Turn 1 saw the Spaniard able to get through and then pull away. Keeping it calm, he took his first podium of the season in second, and Iannone did the same in third.
Rossi came home fourth, with Dovizioso taking fifth after a particularly difficult weekend. Well-rewarded for a solid race, the 2017 Runner Up is now the leader of the pack once again after his controlled performance, including a late race pass on Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
Zarco was top Independent Team rider in P6, with former Championship leader Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) sliding out at the final corner when attacking the Frenchman earlier in the race. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also then suffered a tumble soon after – riders ok and Crutchlow able to rejoin.
Meanwhile, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) followed up two stunning showings on Friday and Saturday to come home in a superhuman P7. Back on track and racing just over a week after surgery on his broken wrist sustained in the Argentina GP, the ‘Little Samurai’ rode a heroic push through the pain barrier around the punishing, technical challenge of the Circuit of the Americas in a performance worthy of the history books, taking home nine points ahead of the Championship’s return to one of his best venues: Jerez.
There was a Borgo Panigale battle around three seconds behind three-time World Champion Pedrosa, with Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) impressively beating Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) to the line for eighth. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completed the top ten, putting in an impressive push to keep Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) behind him after a tough race for the five-time World Champion.
Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) took P12, ahead of some impressive points for Pol Espargaro and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in P13. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was top rookie in P14, ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team).
So there we have it! The rodeo is ridden and the points are given, and what a Championship we have on our hands as we head for Jerez: five riders within eight points, with ‘DesmoDovi’ the man in the lead on the road to Europe. Marquez trails him by one point, Viñales by five and Crutchlow by eight – with Zarco equal on points with the Brit, back in P5 due to Crutchlow having a race win.
Now it’s carnival time. Packed grandstands, Spanish sun, the awesome Circuito de Jerez and one of the best atmospheres of the year – with the Championship so close, there’s almost nothing in it. Tune in on Friday 4th May, with lights out for Round 4 at 14:00 local time (GMT +2) on Sunday 6th.
|Andrea Dovizioso goes back to the top of the MotoGP standings after placing fifth in the GP of The Americas. Jorge Lorenzo ends the Texan race in eleventh|
Andrea Dovizioso returned to the top of the points standings in the MotoGP World Championship with a fifth-place finish in the GP of The Americas, which was held today at Austin in Texas.
The Ducati Team’s Italian rider, who started from row 3, scrapped with Zarco and Crutchlow for much of the 20-lap race, and after the latter crashed out, he attacked the Frenchman on lap 17 to take the chequered flag in fifth.
In the overall standings, Dovizioso now has 46 points, one ahead of Marc Marquez, who won today’s race in Texas.
It was a complicated race for Jorge Lorenzo, who started from row 2 after qualifying sixth on Saturday. After a difficult start, the Spanish rider moved up to eighth place by the mid-point but lost ground over the next few laps and finished the third round of the season in eleventh.
The next race on the MotoGP calendar will be the Spanish Grand Prix from 4-6 May at Jerez de la Frontera.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th
“Even though I struggled a lot today, I’m pleased to return to Europe leading the championship! This year I was hoping we were going to be a bit more competitive both in Argentina and here in Texas, but we struggled like in 2017. If however we look at the points standings twelve months ago, I came to Jerez a long way behind the leaders and now we are leading the championship. It’s true that the classification is very tight, but we’ve made a big step forward and even though the weekend began in a really difficult way for us, in the end we made the right choices of set-up, fairing and also tyres and we took home a good result, useful for the championship.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 11th
“For me it was a race to forget, and I’m very disappointed and sad. I was never able to lap with a competitive pace, I suffered a lot, as I feared, with used tyres and for this reason I had to slow my pace. Our bike requires a lot of physical effort on this type of circuit and opting for the hardest rear tyre didn’t help things at all. It’s a difficult moment and we have to analyze everything that has happened since the start of the championship, but I hope that starting from Jerez we will be able to reverse this negative trend.”
Marquez remains unbeaten at COTA, impressive Pedrosa takes seventh
Competing in his 93rd MotoGP race, Marc Marquez rode the RC213V to his sixth straight win of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas MotoGP, the Spaniard having been unbeatable at COTA since the circuit was added to the calendar in 2013. It was also Marc’s 12th consecutive victory on U.S. asphalt, an amazing statistic.
Also impressive today was Marc’s Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, who is recovering from the surgery he underwent less than two weeks ago, and who put in an incredible effort to earn seventh place.
With his first win of 2018, Marc now stands second in the World Championship Classification with 45 points, just one point down on Andrea Dovizioso. Dani sits in 11th place with 18 points.
Now the MotoGP field will transfer back to Europe for the Continental phase of the season, starting at Jerez, Spain, on 6 May.