Circuit of the Americas, United States, April 22, 2018
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) scored an awesome first victory of 2018 in the bright Texan sunshine, moving himself into second position in the World Championship. Honda’s second victory of the year also extended the company’s advantage in the Constructors World Championship.
Marquez’s success was the 25-year-old Spaniard’s 12th consecutive win on American asphalt, which comprise six successive MotoGP victories at COTA, three at Indianapolis, one at Laguna Seca and two Moto2 wins at Indy. It was also his 36th premier-class win, which puts him one success behind Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood and two behind Repsol Honda’s 2011 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner. Fittingly, today’s race was the number 93 rider’s 93rd MotoGP start.
This was another perfect display from the reigning World Champion who started from the second row of the grid, took the lead on the first lap and was never troubled by his rivals, none of whom could match his own talent or the performance of his Honda RC213V around this most challenging of circuits. With two of the 20 laps to go he was almost eight seconds clear of nearest-challenger Andrea Iannone, before easing his pace on the final lap to cross the line 3.560 seconds ahead.
During his victory lap Marquez carried a number 69 flag to pay tribute to Honda’s 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, who last year lost his life in a cycling accident.
If Marquez’s latest success was heroic, so was the performance of team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) who two weeks ago broke his right wrist in an accident that wasn’t his fault. The 32-year-old former 125cc and 250cc World Champion underwent surgery in Spain and many people expected him to miss this weekend’s race, so he could get fully fit for the subsequent Spanish GP. However, at the last minute Pedrosa decided to travel to the US and at least attempt to ride. Today, he did much, much more than that, spending much of the race in the group battling for fifth place. At the finish he was seventh, a truly remarkable ride and result.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) went into today’s race leading the MotoGP World Championship after an excellent victory in Argentina on April 8. The 32-year-old Briton was going well, in the middle of an enthralling contest for fifth place, until he slid off at turn 12. He bravely remounted to finish in 19th position.
MotoGP rookie and former Moto2 winner Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) had another great day. The 26-year-old from Chiba finished 14th and top rookie, after a very well-ridden race.
Honda’s other two rookies had a more challenging afternoon at COTA, which is arguably the most complex MotoGP track of them all, with 20 corners per lap, or 400 during a 20-lap race! Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) finished the race in 18th, three places out of the points, while Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) finished 21st, outside the points for the first time in his MotoGP career, following promising rides to 12th and 14th at the first two races.
The Honda-powered Moto2 race delivered a thrilling 18 laps of action this afternoon, with Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) winning a tense duel with Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) to retake the World Championship lead. The 21-year-old’s second career Moto2 win and his second of the season came after a lengthy chase of early leader Marquez, who had started the race from pole position.
Italian Bagnaia briefly took the lead from Marquez several times in the second half of the race before finally asserting control in the final five laps, after which he was able to leave the Spaniard trailing by 2.462 seconds at the flag. The race was a typically hectic contest, with Marquez unable to relax in second place because he had Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) closing rapidly in the last few laps, after starting from 12th on the grid. At the finish the Portuguese was just over a second behind Marquez to score his second consecutive third-place finish.
If anything, the fight for the last seven positions in the top ten was even more intense, with just six seconds covering from fourth to tenth. A chaotic first lap included several incidents, one of which dropped reigning Moto3 World Champion Joan Mir (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) all the way back to 19th position. Step by step the 20-year-old worked his way through the pack, achieving some remarkable overtakes on his more experienced rivals. At the checkered flag he was fourth, less than two seconds off the podium, after getting the better of promising 18-year-old Spaniard Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM), who beat Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) by less than a tenth of a second.
Argentine GP winner Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) ran with the lead group but slipped back as the race went on to finish seventh, which keeps him second in the World Championship, albeit equal on points with Marquez. Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) took the flag a second behind Pasini and a fraction ahead of Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing KTM).
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex) completed the top ten, just 11.497 seconds behind Bagnaia, further proof of the entertainingly close racing that’s possible when the entire grid uses identically prepared Honda CBR600 engines.
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) won the first race of the day, scoring a vital Moto3 victory that moved him into the Moto3 World Championship lead, ahead of Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) who had a difficult ride to eighth place. Honda’s second victory of 2018 extends the company’s advantage in the Constructors World Championship.
For much of the race there were up to a dozen riders in the front group, with the lead changing constantly, mostly between Martin’s team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) and Argentine Grand Prix winner Marco Bezzecchi. However, 20-year-old Spaniard Martin was always lurking in the midst of the lead pack, awaiting his moment. He had chosen a harder-compound rear tyre, so he was biding his time until the final five laps when he moved into the lead and then set about building a small gap, preventing his rivals from making any final-lap attacks. He started the last lap with a 0.9 second advantage and had stretched that to 1.4 seconds at the flag. It was the third GP win of Martin’s career.
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) rode a superb race to second place, fighting his way through the pack as the race went on. At half-distance of the 17-lap event the 20-year-old Italian was in eighth place, but he cleverly picked off his rivals to get the better of Bezzecchi in the final laps.
Di Giannantonio took the checkered flag in fifth spot, less than a tenth of a second off a podium finish. Canet, who led the title chase with two fine runner-up finishes at the opening two races, was also in the lead group but slowly slipped backwards as the race went on, having gambled on a softer rear tyre. He finished in eighth place, less than eight seconds behind the winner, but that was enough to secure second overall, seven points behind Martin.
Japanese pair Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) both had great rides, fighting in the lead group and learning plenty. Suzuki, 20-years-old from Chiba, ended the race in ninth spot, less than half a second behind Canet. Sasaki, 17-years-old from Yokosuka, finished 11th, only two seconds down on his compatriot.
Following 2018’s season-opening three flyaway races in Qatar, Argentina and the USA, the MotoGP paddock packs up and heads to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on May 6.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st
“This weekend I really gave it my all. Today I was totally focused, as I wanted to remain perfect here at Austin. I don’t think that ever in my career have I had such a race, pushing so hard from the first lap. Today I felt that this was the right way and was able to do it, in part because my bike’s setup helped me a lot, so thanks to everyone in my garage as they’ve worked really well and hard. Yesterday I was a bit ill, and even today I didn’t feel I had perfect energy, but it turned out to be a good race anyway – a lonely one, but sometimes it goes like that. Last night when I was going to sleep, I thought about the strategy, and today I followed it. Even in the warm-up, I tried to simulate the first laps of the race, going out on new tyres and with a full tank. That was in the plan. I told the team that I wanted to try to lead the race from the beginning and pull a gap. So in the first three or four laps, I pushed a bit more than usual, and then I managed the advantage. Today I had special motivation. There was a lot of pressure, but I like the pressure, as it helps to keep focused. I felt a special feeling on the last lap, when I passed in front of Nicky’s flag. So, I’m happy with the result and for recovering ground in the Championship, but now we go back to Europe, where we must be consistent, because look who’s leading the standings: Dovi, the most consistent rider! The feeling with my bike is very good, and the same has been true in Qatar and Argentina, so we’ll try and continue this way.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 7th
“I’m more than satisfied with having been able to finish this race and get some good points, and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me in these days, as well as all the fans for the support they gave me. Honestly, before coming here I wasn’t even sure I would be able to do the practices. It was a tough weekend, especially at this track; in some other circuits you might handle the situation a little better with a bit less effort, but this one is super-physical. I wasn’t able to enjoy the race like I usually do, even though I took some painkillers that eased the pain a little. That allowed me to focus a bit more, though I don’t have much strength. I had a decent start and tried to stick with the guys in front as much as possible. In the end I struggled to control my bike, but I managed and I’m happy with the outcome. Now we have some more days to try and recover as much as possible before Jerez. It’s a track I like, so we’ll see how much better I’ll feel.”
Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46: 1st
“The weekend had not started in the best way. The crash on Friday was very bad and, in the impact with the bike, I took a big hit on the left side of my body. I was not 100 percent, but we did not give up and we continued to work for qualifying where we made a great step forward. It’s the second win in three races for me and the team, which means we are working in the right direction. This result, here in Austin, has a different value than Qatar. I have always struggled on this track, I had to adapt my riding style to this layout and today I managed the race in the best way. I had a good start, but I tried to keep the margin for the last laps. When I approached Alex [Marquez] I realized that he had more difficulty in pushing, I waited a few minutes and I tried to overtake him.”
Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 2nd
“This was a very important podium as we prepare for the European races with the tracks that more suited to my riding style. I was able to run up front for many laps, but the windy conditions changed a lot today and I had to save some crashes with the bike moving around. I did my 100 percent, so I am happy for this result.”
Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 1st
“The race was very hard at the beginning because I opted for the hard tyre. I did well in staying calm and avoiding any danger at the beginning, but then with five laps to go I gave 100 percent to try to pull away while setting my pace. It wasn’t easy because Bastianini was coming on strong, but today I felt untouchable. I would like to thank the team for giving me a perfect bike!”
Enea Bastianini, Leopard Racing: 2nd
“I’m happy with this podium, I could have also got a podium at the first race in Qatar, if I hadn’t made that little mistake. Here in America, finally in the dry, we managed to run a good race, it was hard especially against Oettl and in that phase I lost some time. But when I saw Martin get in front, I pushed hard to stay with him, but he had already taken an important gap. In the last lap I managed the situation: I thought I could reach it, but I was on my limit and I didn’t want to compromise a good podium result. In the past years this track was a struggle for me, but today I felt right on the bike. Now let’s look forward, I am ready to fight for the victory!”
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 03: United States Race
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|3||Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|4||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|5||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|6||Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|8||Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|9||Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)|
|10||Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|11||Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)|
|12||Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)|
|13||Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|14||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)|
|15||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)|
|16||Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|17||Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|18||Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|19||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)|
|20||Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|21||Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|RT||Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|RT||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|RT||Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)|
|1||Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|2||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|3||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|5||Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)|
|6||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|7||Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|8||Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|9||Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)|
|10||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)|
|11||Isaac VIÑALES (SAG Team)|
|12||Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)|
|13||Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|14||Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|15||Fabio QUARTARARO (Beta Tools – Speed Up Racing)|
|16||Romano FENATI (Marinelli Snipers Team)|
|17||Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)|
|18||Hector BARBERA (Pons HP40)|
|19||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|20||Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)|
|21||Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|22||Eric GRANADO (Forward Racing Team)|
|23||Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|24||Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)|
|25||Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|26||Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)|
|27||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (SIC Racing Team)|
|28||Federico FULIGNI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)|
|RT||Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|RT||Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)|
|RT||Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|RT||Danny KENT (Beta Tools – Speed Up Racing)|
|1||Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)|
|2||Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)|
|3||Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)|
|4||Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)|
|5||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)|
|6||Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)|
|7||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)|
|8||Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|9||Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|10||Livio LOI (Reale Avintia Academy)|
|11||Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|12||Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)|
|13||Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|14||John MCPHEE (CIP – Green Power)|
|15||Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)|
|16||Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|17||Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|18||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)|
|19||Makar YURCHENKO (CIP – Green Power)|
|20||Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)|
|21||Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|22||Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)|
|23||Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAP (Honda Team Asia)|
|24||Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|RT||Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|RT||Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|RT||Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|RT||Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)|