Americas GP Race Results 1. Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA 2. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 3. Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA 4. Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) LCR Honda HONDA 5. Johann ZARCO (5) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI 7. Andrea IANNONE (29) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI 8. Danilo PETRUCCI (9) OCTO Pramac Racing DUCATI 9. Jorge LORENZO (99) Ducati Team DUCATI 10. Jack MILLER (43) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA 11. Jonas FOLGER (94) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 12. Scott REDDING (45) Octo Pramac Racing DUCATI 13. Tito RABAT (53) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA 14. Hector BARBERA (8) Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI 15. Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Pull&Bear Aspar Team DUCATI 16. Bradley SMITH (38) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 17. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA DNF: Sam LOWES (22) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA DNF: Pol ESPARGARO (44) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM DNF: Loris BAZ (76) Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI DNF: Maverick VIÑALES (25) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA DNF: Karel ABRAHAM (17) Pull&Bear Aspar Team DUCATI

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Marc Marquez wins five straight at COTA.Photo: Repsol Honda
Marquez and Rossi
“Valentino is leading the championship,” MotoGP race winner Marc Marquez said. “Maybe he was not the fastest in the preseason or in the first races, but he is the most consistent. Big respect to him.” Marquez is third overall in the title chase.Photo: MotoGP

Marc Marquez put in a flawless performance on Sunday afternoon at Circuit of The Americas. Starting from pole position, the Repsol Honda rider tailed teammate Dani Pedrosa for eight laps, swept past, and then checked out to win his fifth successive race at the Texas track. Margin of victory over new series points leader Valentino Rossi was 3.069 seconds.

Rossi and Marquez shaking hands
New series points leader Valentino Rossi congratulates Marquez on fifth successive victory at Circuit of The Americas.Photo: MotoGP

“It is an important victory,” Marquez said. “Five minutes before the race, I said to my chief mechanic, ‘Okay, I want to go with the hard front. There was no need to stay with the medium because I know that I push the front tire a lot.” Marquez was one of five riders who opted for the hard Michelin; the rest of the field went with the medium.

“I was behind Dani, trying to manage the race,” Marquez said. “When I saw he was suffering a little bit and also Valentino was struggling, I said, ‘Okay, time to attack.’ Marquez reeled off four laps in the low-to-mid 2:05s before dipping into the high 2:04s and setting the fastest lap of the race with six to go. “It was the perfect race,” he said, “really consistent, under control.”

Dani Pedrosa ahead of Repsol Honda teammate Marquez early in the race
Dani Pedrosa started from the second row of the grid, his best qualifying result since the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last year. Pedrosa finished second to his Repsol Honda teammate, Marc Marquez, at Austin in both 2013 and ’14, but he was third on Sunday.Photo: Repsol Honda

Pedrosa faded to third at the finish. "Finally, I got a clean start," he said. "Qualifying on the third row is difficult to find a line through all of the riders. I led the race for a few laps, which was amazing. I could go faster, but I knew I had to take care of my tires. All weekend, I had trouble with tire life, especially the rear. Today, I destroyed the front."

The much-anticipated on-track clash between defending series champ Marquez and Movistar Yamaha newcomer Maverick Vinales—winner of the first two races this season—never materialized. Vinales fell from fourth on the second lap, slipping off in the third of three right-handers near the end of the 3.426-mile circuit. Though unhurt, he wasn’t able to continue.

“It was a really strange crash,” Vinales said. “I did exactly the same as in Warm Up and all weekend, but I crashed. I think we had some issues with the front tire, but anyway, we know that we are strong and have the speed. We can be strong again, so I’m going to try to forget this crash and come to Jerez even faster, stronger, and more consistent than I was here.”

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Maverick Vinales on the COTA grid.Photo: Movistar Yamaha

Vinales’ sudden disappearance didn’t change Marquez’s approach to the race. “The mistake in Argentina was big and I didn’t want to repeat it,” he said. “After Argentina, somebody commented that I was out of the championship, but now we are back again.” The 24-year-old Spaniard crashed while leading two weeks ago at Termas de Rio Hondo.

“After I chose the hard front tire,” he added, “I only had one strategy: Wait in the beginning, understand the front tire, and push in the middle of the race to the end. Maybe if Vinales was there, I would have pushed more in the last part. I was just trying to manage the tires. Sooner or later, the battle with Maverick will arrive.”

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Valentino Rossi hasn’t won a MotoGP race in the US since 2008 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For the moment, the nine-time world champion will have to be satisfied with the series points lead after finishing second on Sunday at COTA.Photo: Movistar Yamaha

Third in Qatar and second in Argentina, Rossi earned his best finish at COTA and now leads the championship ahead of Vinales, Marquez, and Andrea Dovizioso. “It is a big surprise,” Rossi admitted. “After the preseason tests, we were quite desperate. I think the problem for me and the team was that we needed more time to understand the bike.

“The bike has something positive. At the end of the race, I was able to push—to be strong. Last year, I was always going very fast in the beginning, but after that, I suffered a lot. It is just three races and, for sure, we will be very happy to remain in this position.” Rossi has finished second in the championship the past three seasons.

Rossi, Zarco
Rossi and Johann ZarcoPhoto: Movistar Yamaha

Rossi attracted the attention of race officials when he ran off the track to avoid a collision with Johann Zarco, who dove under Rossi entering Turn 4. To avoid contact, Rossi picked up his Yamaha and straight-lined a portion of the esses, rejoining the race in front of Zarco in third place. Rossi was penalized 0.3 seconds for the advantage gained.

“For me, it is not right because I have two choices,” Rossi explained. “I could do like this or we touch and crash. For sure, I cut so I gained some advantage—0.3 is okay. But, for me, the problem is not the regulation. The problem is Zarco. He is always very fast, and he rides the bike very well. He has great potential, but this is not Moto2.”

Reflecting on his points lead, Rossi added, “To stay at the top with Vinales and Marquez will be very hard, but we have to enjoy the moment. Now, we go back to Europe and arrive at a very good part of the championship—Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello, Barcelona, Assen. For me, it is a great feeling to race there.”

Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo at COTA
Jorge Lorenzo (99) was the top Ducati rider in qualifying, but Andrea Dovizioso (04), who has been the first Ducati across the line four times in five visits to Austin, Texas, beat Lorenzo to the checkers.Photo: Ducati Team
Jorge Lorenzo and Jack Miller at COTA
Lorenzo finished in ninth place ahead of Jack Miller.Photo: Ducati Team

Asked about the changing condition of the racetrack, Marquez was clear: “Of course, I hope to come back, but they must take care of the bumps. It’s only three places where the bumps are very big. From last year to this year, the bumps got much bigger. If next year they do the same step, it will be difficult to ride. The circuit in general is incredible.”

Rossi didn’t mince words, either. “I think we will for sure come back,” he said. “This is a difficult track but it is a great track. Like Marc said, there are two or three points that they have to improve. But if they do it, they have to do it the right way. Some years ago, they had some bumps. They did a job that was not good.”

Marquez said the pressure to keep his win streak at COTA intact was countered by the knowledge that comes with past successes. “Every year is difficult,” he said. “It’s true that this year was a little bit more tight, especially in the beginning of the race. We came from Argentina, where I made a little mistake. We did this in the best way. It was an important weekend for us.”