2019 Austin MotoGP Result: The Party And The Crasher

Alex Rins won his first-ever MotoGP contest Sunday in Austin, Texas after a dramatic late-race battle with Valentino Rossi who finished second to the young Spaniard. Ducati's Jack Miller crossed the line in a lonely third at the Circuit of the Americas which crowned a new champion for the first time in seven years. 

Marc Marquez, who has not only won the COTA MotoGP race every year it's been held but also has never lost a single race in the United States in any class, crashed entering Turn 12 with 12 laps to go, ending his day and longstanding dominance at the 5.5 km track. Marquez's crash and Andrea Dovizioso's surprising fourth-place finish rearranged the 2019 championship with the Factory Ducati rider now leading the pack (54 points) followed by Rossi (51), Rins (49) and Marquez (45).

In all, nine points now separate four riders from four different motorcycle manufacturers in the top class with 16 races to go. One of those manufacturers, however, had a weekend to (mostly) forget. Along with Marquez, Honda factory rider Cal Cruthlow crashed out of the race while in third and Repsol's Jorge Lorenzo endured a mechanical failure that sidelined him late in the contest.

Satellite Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli grabbed fifth, a clear three seconds in front of Danilo Petrucci (6th). Fabio Quartararo took seventh while Pol Espargaro continued a strong weekend with a eighth-place finish after qualifying fifth, a best-ever for KTM's MotoGP project. Francesco Bagnaia seized ninth in front of the top-placed Honda of Takaaki Nakagami (10th). 

The Race 

As expected, Marquez grabbed the holeshot from pole position -- the poleshot, maybe? -- closely followed by Rossi, Crutchlow, Miller and Rins. Dovizioso's aggressive start jumped him from 13th to eighth by the second corner. Rossi and Marquez opened a slight gap on the field by the end of the first lap.

Marquez's early pace began to prove too much for the Yamaha rider in second. Into lap two, Maquez began opening a gap. First seven-tenths. Then more than a second. Behind him, Rossi had bigger concerns. Crutchlow had arrived and was looking to pass. Rossi, now riding a defensive line, saw Marquez pull farther away at the front. 

With 17 laps to go, Race Direction declared both Maverick Vinales and Joan Mir jumped the start. Both were ordered to take a ride-through penalties. Vinales, who was in sixth place, mistakenly took a long-lap penalty and then realized the error and pulled into pit lane for the ride through. He re-entered the race with 15 laps to go and in 19th place. Eventually, he'd finish 11th. Mir would finish out of the points.

That hardly ended the midrace drama at COTA, however. Crutchlow, who by now was hounding Rossi at every corner, crashed directly behind him in Turn 11 with 15 laps to go. This left Marquez out front by two seconds followed by Rossi, Miller and Rins. Now, it was Miller's turn to press Rossi. Within three laps, Marquez expanded his gap to 3.5 seconds. 

But waiting for the current world champion was COTA's now infamous back straight and Turn 12. The longest straight in MotoGP calendar also had become its bumpiest. Those undulations were most severe in the braking zone where riders are trying to slow from 330 kph (205 mph). Video from the previous day's practice saw Marquez endure at least one violent tank-slapper in the section.

Whatever the reason, Marquez overcooked the slow corner at the end of the fast straight, lost the front and crashed. His day was done. 

And Rossi was now at the front. Behind him, Rins had passed Miller. He began to carve away at Rossi's lead.  With nine laps left, the gap between the pair had dropped to half a second. Well back in the pack, Lorenzo retired from the race, an unexplained mechanical problem ending his race. Three factory Hondas now had retired. Dovizioso slid past Morbidelli to take fifth.

With eight laps, Rins had closed the gap to Rossi and the pair had opened a gap to Miller. For the next, five laps Rins stalked Rossi, losing time at Turn 11 and into the long, back straight but gathering it all back by Turn 19. 

With four laps to go, Rins struck at Turn 7 smoothly slicing inside Rossi for the lead. Rossi returned the favor at Turn 12 but ran wide, allowing Rins back to the front. Behind them, Dovizioso had grabbed fourth. Rossi and Rins stayed close to the end with Rossi not quite close enough to make a pass on the last lap.

Rins' victory makes him the only rider to win at COTA in all three classes. 

Result:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 42 Alex RINS Suzuki 41'45.499
2 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +0.462
3 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +8.454
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +9.420
5 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +18.021
6 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +21.476
7 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +26.111
8 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +29.743
9 63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +30.608
10 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +31.011
11 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +34.077
12 29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia +34.779
13 5 Johann ZARCO KTM +42.458
14 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +44.272
15 53 Tito RABAT Ducati +44.623
16 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +44.740
17 36 Joan MIR Suzuki +48.063
18 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +1'07.683
    Not Classified    
  99 Jorge LORENZO Honda 10 Laps
  93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 12 Laps
  35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 15 Laps
  41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 15 Laps
Round Number: 
3
2019
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Total votes: 17

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Comments

Waiting for MotoGP.com to make the video available.  When I saw Alex Rins at the top of the chart, I bet people in Texas heard my gasp all the way from Massachusetts.  Happy for him and Suzuki!  Lots of work and push, push, push as MM always says.  (Hope no one was injured in the DNF list.)

Total votes: 45

... have a title fight on for this year. Dovi has his highest scoring start to a season and the championship lead, Rossi at the most consistent he's been in years, Marquez failing to win in the US (it had to happen sooner or later), Rins a Moto GP winner and all of them within nine points after three rounds.

This is exciting!

Total votes: 18

The only guy that could beat Marc at COTA is.....Marc. And he did. 

Total votes: 27

Proving once again that David Emmett knows his stuff. The bottom line from his saturday round up " There could be a bit of a shake up in the championship on Sunday. " Aint it the truth.

Congratulations Alex Rins! Well done Suzuki! Motoshrink saw this coming, astute as usual.

Good result for Vale, old blokes rule.

Jack Miller on the podium again at long last, good job mate!

Dovi makes the best of bad qualifying. A.D.04 13 points from 13th on the grid, like a champion.

Total votes: 16

Crutchlow got caught by a bump (T11 pre apex). He was, again, on podium pace. MM93? He overcooked it (bumpy T12 braking area, but the turn is fine). He over rides a lot, and this is not an anomoly, rather a periodic fixture of his methodology. You can only 2 wheel drift slide so many times.

Mir's jump start was akin to Cal's last round. The new cameras are calling it strictly. "Jumped Gun" Vinales? That was naked eye visable. Should be the last of them.

Lorenzo obviously had a mechanical. No way could he have just given up because he couldn't find enough front end feel confidence on this track in these conditions, could he? He deserves more!
;) WINK

VERY BIG DEAL MM93 taking himself out of his gimme 25 pt round. There was no one in 2nd (that was empty space). He blew it, unforced error. 2019 didn't end up having the "injury headstart" hinderance for Honda's riders, but the crash Gods have made it so.

We have a good championship on our hands!

Congrats Rins and Suzuki for a great win. Rins may appear a gentle mellow rider, but he is NOT. Persona yes, but he is a FIERCE competitor. And as measured as Dovi. He is the real deal. So is the Suzuki- even w the Yamaha on drag race, but coming off of corners as good as the Duc and Honda. Mechanical grip is amazing, electronics good, engine power VERY linear and going to the ground. Easy on tires while doing so. If they can get power enough to split the difference between there and where Duc and Honda are, we have a contender. That would have NO bogey tracks. Accessible to all riding styles. So can you PLEASE get a title sponsor other than Ecstar? Especially while you have Motul oil in your motor?! One. More. Step!

The Yamaha has made BIG progress. But grip here is good (outside of ground mesa bumps). Rear tire edge grip is burning off w this bike, you guys need some motor to power out of corners with a "Honda" line and Dani exit. Leave everything else alone, and this bike works. The Michelin exploits the rear tire on drive, but not at THAT lean and that early in the corner all race long. You can't "Yamaha" your way out of this hole with these electronics and this tire. Suzuki had your number today. Feel free to try their way too, it works. But they were running "Honda lines" and driving out strong relative to you. Then equaled you on the drag race. You are doing a great job these days! One more step, differently.

Miller looks on track to have a factory seat. Good on ya!

Quick nod to two racers we no longer get to see competing on a MotoGP bike, that were strong last yr. Pedrosa and Zarco. Missing you. You have about the same odds of winning with the (couch and KTM) seats. Pol Espargaro- nice race!

We all went NUTS watching the race live at 2 Stroke Coffee Co in Portland, OR. Friend Seth was at his first GP and is still smiling ear to ear, sending pictures This was a good one!

On to Europe. The "meat" 11 rounds, opening appetizer outliers are done. Here comes Ducati. Dovi AND Miller. Valentino has heartfelt momentum and a Yamaha that is coming back to form. Suzuki is here (CONGRATS RINS ON A LOVELY WIN). Jorge gets a re-start. Marquez is down a peg, victim of his own over riding two wheel slides. Cal is right there for race finishes but done for the season. Three rookies are perched to impress.

Vamanos al Espana

Total votes: 38

Please tell me we don't have to endure two more weeks of whinging about jump starts.

Congrats Rins!

Total votes: 18

who knows what Europe brings but seeing four contenders within a few points is fun. I can’t help but think M93 will clear off once back on home soil. He is riding as smoothly as i have ever seen him ride and that spells trouble for all.  One can hope however that the racing remains tight.

Dovi and Ducati have done well to position themselves for Europe and the bike is clearly improved. Jack Miller might as well start measuring the drapes for his factory office. I love Petrux, but he is being outclassed. It can’t be a size thing, is it? Jack and Petrux are both ‘big’ guys.

It has been tough sledding these past few years as an admitted VR fanboy and i was a maniac today. So happy for Rins/Brivio/Suzuki (Ianonne must be kicking himself) (for that matter Vinales too). I truely believe that Vinales needs a sport shrink; i think he is completely psyching himslef out. He has to get his arms around himself and his emotions/focus. 

Motoshrink and someone else (i forget who) pounced on me politely/respectfully for calling out Cal on his assumption that he had top step/podium potential at Argentina after his jump start. I stated in a wiseguy way that he would just as likely chuck it down the road. I unfortunately feel vindicated. Cal is a crasher - plain and simple (and i don’t think COTA has been good to him. I remember seeing that awful COTA crash while he was on the Ducati - happened right in front of me). 

Bring on Europe and Yamaha - keep bringing upgrades. Now is not the time to repeat the start to the past few seasons  

 

 

Total votes: 21

^ Howdy there, all is well and I don't disagree that Cal crashes more than he should, and more than many. But he HAS had pace for podiums in these races! And he isn't as big a crasher as MM93. Or historically I don't think (DePuniet, Haga etc). My defense of the guy is age old re stuff he says off track that draws attack, and an appreciation re how he is put together. The dude is an animal.

Did you see how very obviously pissed at himself Vale was in the presser for losing a straight fight to Rins? His behavior looks "at ease, taking things lightly, flippant" as overcompensation. He was seething underneath. But on a roll. And called Yamaha out on continuing improvement. Good questions as per usual from Neil and David. David is becoming the paterfamilias around the place, the go to guy to know what is going on thoroughly and thoughtfully. We have a gem.

Cheers

Total votes: 17

awesome by every one who finished but I really don't see that indicates we have a championship on our hands.  93 only has to slow down by 0.5 seconds/lap to ensure he doesn't crash and it is done and dusted.

kudos to Rins, Vale and Jack for their podiums but they never pushed MM, he did that himself I'm afraid and I strongly suspect he won't do it again in a hurry.

Total votes: 13

Needs to slow down with this strict letter of the law interpretation of the rules. 3 jump starts in 2 races, only Mav’s was legit. Also, the punishment does not fit the crime. The slightest of movement, no real benefit, and the race is over. I hope the rule is amended soon and Spencer ends his run as Javert.

Total votes: 19

I think the general agreement is going to be that the jump start rule is fine as it has always been, that your wheels can't be in motion when the lights drop. At the end of the year betting that it becomes a shorter penalty of a long lap route with that marked outside corner or something similar. Wondering even if Maverick taking it in the race wasn't more of a statement than a mistake btw.

With modern cameras we can see everything is minute detail, and review it. It rather forces this hand relative to long ago when it was just naked eye. Or more recent years when one crappier camera saw the whole grid.

They just changed the rule re restarting a stalled bike on the grid that makes sense. It was simplified and clarified. No more help getting it started on the grid, or indiscriminate amount of time to do so. Bike goes in pit lane, do whatever w whomever there. Get out before pit lane closes, or stay there to start. All is well.

NJ, granted a strong statement to say we have a championship on our hands because Marc crashed here. But the Euro rounds are here, and the championship isn't just for 1st place. We are about to get a sense of how the whole thing looks. At Jerez last year Dovi, Rins and Crutch were DNF. Zarco 2nd, and a cluster behind for a third place fight. The 2019 Ducati, Suzuki and Yamaha already look better than last year's bikes. More is possible from them still, of course as for Honda. Rins, Rossi and Miller are all carrying rising momentum now. Dovisioso enters the European round on top, rather than behind 25 points to Marc. The 3 top Honda riders have all just taken a big points hit.

The gap to 2nd at Jerez last yr was 5 seconds, 8 secs to several riders in 3rd place group. Rins/Suzuki has taken a step forward. Dovisioso may be poised to do so as well now, Jack in tow? Valentino and his bike may be coming further, I really believe that. The Yamaha project is underway with the biggest structural changes we have seen from them for three handfuls of years. The progress is evident with the bike. It wasn't a contender last year. It may be now. The Ducati as well! The bike had a number of BAD bogey tracks last year, this year those don't need to be mid pack finishes anymore. It finishes the calendar well.

We just saw the outlier track for Marc's expected gap being so large. He may get pushed at coming tracks. Dovi can stay on his bike and without mechanical failures. The Yamaha may keep connecting essential dots like it just has been. Their rear tires held up the whole race yesterday rather than drop off 8 laps to go. The motor for this year's Honda is obviously spot on. But the front end feel is still up for some scrutiny during the next stage of things.

Things are closer this year. More is possible. We get to see a lot in 2 weeks, and it is exciting. Yamaha and Rins especially. And here comes Dovisioso.

(Plus, a Puig voodoo hex doll may finally have reached the Spies ghost with the proper timing. Got at it too early on the sprocket in Argentina. Poking at HRC clutch temps, a bad Michelin tire come race day, maybe Honda asked too much of this engine come Summer heat...a bolt has to come loose somewhere)
;)

Total votes: 8

I think we will all agree that we are more than "casual" viewers of two-wheeled racing. Given that, I feel comfortable saying that other than Lorenzo essentiall pulling a wheelie from "start" at COTA a few years ago and hitting turn 1 while the others were still removing their tear-offs, I don't think I can remember more than 2 jumps in almost 15 years of wathcing. To have 3 in 2 races is more than odd. Even the announcers said we can expect to see it more. Did Dorna/FIM adopt new technology this year that allows for more scruitny?

 

Total votes: 4

The rule is simple. The rule is clear. The rule is easy to follow. Don't move until the lights go out. There is nothing difficult in all of this. Blaming Freddie Spencer for enforcing the rules - HIS JOB - is 100% wrong.
 

Total votes: 27

Some quick thoughts while waiting for David's notes

It was impossible to forsee such an unbelievable error from Marquez. Yes Honda might have slightly lesser performing electronics (which would only be fair) but that crash imo was pure hubris... He wanted to crush the competition and took some unnecessary risks. He was lapping 0.6 faster than the fastest behind on a crazily bumped track. Did he really need to assert his superiority? As if nobody had noticed that the victory was his even before the start. It does not change anything though  he still is the man to beat. He'll have made up for the lost 25 points before Assen

Disappointment with Rossi: is it the bike or him? The little mistakes he made: too tired or tires gone? Suzuki in better shape than yamaha in the final laps or just Rins fresher and in better shape than Valentino? 

Miller! Wow... He is more mature and determined and wanting badly Petrux seat... He will get it

Rins : just perfect. From what I've seen so far suzuki IS the third force in the field in front of yamaha (on a side note : if the rumors that suzuki approached zarco again last year but the French and his manager said no for pride are true, i cannot  even imagine what must be going on in Zarco head right now) 

 

There is an entire essay that could be written on the strange case of Maverick... I'm waiting for David's notes. 

Lastly Dovi:  he leads the championship but my gut feeling says that this year will not be as good as last.  I'll be more than happy to be proven wrong. 

The ride through :absolutely devastating punishment for such minor infrimgment. But it's true that if they changed the rules now then Cal would pay twice if other riders got a simple long lap instead of a RT. As it was pointed out during the press conference. Still the punishment does not fit the crime

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Total votes: 6

As far as the jump start rule goes... If you are moving when the lights go out, IF your tire isn't past the line => long lap. If your tire is past the line => Pit lane. Sounds reasonable and enforcable. I don't like judgement calls, otherwise we will end up like figure skating.

As far as Marquez goes, if he proved anything last year, it is that he can survive a number of DNFs and still win the title. He would have to DNF every 4th race before the following gaggle would seriously have a chance. One thing I see brewing... Rossi could possibly take 2nds all year and be in it. I have no doubt that he is waiting for the day when a well placed biff of MM off the track will either give VR the title or deny MM. I'm cynical, and believe that all the recent hand shaking is a smoke screen to get MM to lower his guard (ok, that and it takes too much energy to hate).

I'm a MM fan, but seriously had a good laugh watching him flop around after his crash at COTA. Clowns aren't that funny.

Total votes: 11