Marc Marquez made it abundantly clear Sunday that the idea of other riders encroaching on his American dominance is simply a mirage in the Texas heat. Marquez won the MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas by six seconds to give the Spaniard a perfect 10 consecutive victories on American soil -- including the last four in a row in Austin.
Jorge Lorenzo made up for his crash last week in Argentina by taking a convincing second with his own finishing gap to third place nearly as large as between he and Marquez. And Andrea Iannone, the man with the most to prove here after two crashes and no points in the first two races, brought home a lonely third in the accident-marred race that saw Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa all crash out and three other riders go down but remount to finish.
Maverick Vinales (4th) and Aleix Espargaro (5th) gave Suzuki its best two-rider finish since the company re-entered MotoGP in 2015. It also marks Vinales best-ever MotoGP finish. Scott Redding capped a promising weekend with sixth place after a mid-race battle with Pol Espargaro (7th). Michele Pirro, a former MotoGP racer and current Ducati test rider filling in for an injured Danilo Petrucci, took home an impressive eighth in his first-ever race at the 5.5 km (3.4 mi.) circuit.
Hector Barbera took ninth, six seconds clear of Stefan Bradl. Bradl's 10th place showing makes it two weeks in a row that Aprilia has earned a top-10 finish -- the first time the company has managed that since it returned to MotoGP in 2012 as a claiming-rule team.
The contest began in warm, dry and cloudy weather. Conditions appeared ideal -- at least a distance. On the track, the surface was not so predictable, riders later said. In warm-up, Jorge Lorenzo had an unsual front-end crash at Turn 5. And at the race's start, desparate to get in front of Marquez, Lorenzo charged into Turn 1 -- a corner that proved problematic to other riders -- but the Yamaha man ran wide and Marquez slipped underneath to take the lead.
Loris Baz wasn't so lucky. He fell at the first corner and remounted.
Two laps later, it was Rossi's turn for a front-end crash. The Italian, who got swamped by the pack after his front-row start, lost the front at downhill and fast Turn 2, his race ended before the fourth lap. The no-points finish drops Rossi into third in the 2016 championship, behind Lorenzo and Marquez.
At the front, Marquez began to pull away and Lorenzo made quick work of Andrea Dovizioso, taking the second position and immediately opening a gap. Behind Dovizioso, Pedrosa also was closing -- a situation that later would end poorly for the Ducati rider. With 15 laps remaining, a charging Pedrosa lost the front under braking at the uphill Turn 1. His bike slammed to the pavement and hit the side of an unaware, Dovizioso who was in third place at the time.
Both bikes ended up in the gravel. Pedrosa was able to remount and briefly re-enter the race but he retired shortly after. And Dovizioso, for the second race in a row, was taken out by another rider while in a podium position.
The crash party wasn't done. Two laps later, Cal Crutchlow went down at Turn 11 and was immediately followed into the trap by Bradley Smith. Both riders remounted and finished in 16th and 17th respectively. Crutchlow's crash in Texas leaves him with no points in 2016.
With a third of the race remaining, the line of riders had begun to string out along the 20-turn, 5.5 km circuit. Marquez had already established an eight-second gap over Lorenzo but the same processional effect continued throughout the grid. At the race's end, nearly every rider had considerable space in front and behind at the long, fast track. Among the 17 finishers, only Eugene Laverty (12th) and Tito Rabat (13th) arrived at the line within a second of each other.
|Pos.||No.||Rider||Bike||Time / Diff.|
|26||Dani PEDROSA||Honda||10 Laps|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||15 Laps|
|46||Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||19 Laps|