story and photos courtesy MotoGP
Repsol Honda’s Marky Marc Márquez
Marc Marquez became the youngest ever race winner in MotoGP™, triumphing in Sunday’s inaugural Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas from teammate Dani Pedrosa, with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo completing the podium.
On Saturday, 20-year-old Marquez took over from former double title winner Freddie Spencer as the youngest ever polesitter in the premier class. He now becomes the youngest race winner, having seen off a challenge from Pedrosa on the other Repsol Honda Team machine.
As the redlights went out at the new Circuit of the Americas it was Pedrosa who seized the lead, while Lorenzo headed backwards courtesy of a poor getaway. A lightning start for LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl allowed the German to go second, but he was soon overhauled by Marquez, Lorenzo and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow.
Following Pedrosa and waiting patiently for his moment, Marquez dived up the inside of Turn 7 on the 13th of the 21 laps. Pedrosa would hang onto the back of his teammate, but lost ground courtesy of a small error six laps later. Marquez took the checkered flag by one and a half seconds, with Lorenzo just over the same margin behind Pedrosa.
Having not tested at the venue a month ago, Crutchlow was more than pleased with fourth, as Bradl and Rossi completed that particular group, with the multiple title winner having overhauled GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. The latter also fell behind Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who progressed to seventh on the final lap and then avoided a last-corner lunge from his rival. Leading American rider Nicky Hayden and Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone rounded out the top ten.
Extending his lead in the CRT ranks, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro enjoyed a strong ride to 11th place ahead of two prototype riders; English Tech 3 rookie Bradley Smith and Ignite Pramac Racing’s American Ben Spies, as well as French teammate Randy de Puniet. PBM enjoyed its strongest weekend to date, with Yonny Hernandez sealing the final point for 15th position while Michael Laverty recorded 16th with the team’s own-built bike. Avintia Blusens maintained the symmetry in 17th and 18th, with Hiroshi Aoyama having overtaken Hector Barbera, while NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, Gresini CRT rider Bryan Staring and Attack Performance Racing’s Blake Young, the single wildcard rider in the race, completed the field.
It was a hugely disappointing afternoon for Came IodaRacing Project. Danilo Petrucci was fortunate to stay upright when teammate Lucas Pesek crashed out of the race directly behind him, only to retire in the pits with mechanical problems only minutes later. Colin Edwards was also on the sidelines, as the local Texan hero racked up the unenviable fact of becoming the race’s first of three retirements with mechanical issues.
MotoGP™ Race Classification
1- Marc Marquez SPA Honda 43:42.123
2- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 43:43.657
3- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 43:45.504
11- Aleix Espargaro SPA ART 44:30.960
Nico Tero on the Texas tarmac
Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Nico Terol has won his first ever Moto2™ race, taking victory in Sunday afternoon’s Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas followed by Tuenti HP 40’ Esteve Rabat and Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio.
Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding started from a career-first pole, but had lost his lead by Lap 5 when starting to struggle with tyres. Perhaps the biggest drama of the race came on the previous lap, when Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaro lost control and retired from the race.
From third on the grid, Terol avoided any trouble at Turn 1 to seize second place – then taking advantage of Redding as the Englishman began to drop off the pace. The Aspar rider proceeded to stretch out a healthy lead of 3.5 seconds, only backing off as his comfortable position became more apparent in the second half of the race. Behind, a fierce battle roared as Espargaro’s teammate Rabat went head-to-head with Kallio and Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter. The Spaniard would come out on top from the Finn, with the Swiss escaping a lurid last-lap wobble. Redding completed the top five.
Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco ended the 20-lap race in sixth position, with QMMF Racing Team’s Anthony West enjoying a solid ride at Circuit of the Americas to seventh slot. NGM Mobile Racing’s Mattia Pasini, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis and Blusens Avintia’s Toni Elias completed the top ten. Just minutes after the crash of Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami pulled his Italtrans Racing Team bike into pit lane with suspected gearbox problems.
Moto2™ Race Classification
1- Nico Terol SPA Suter 42:02.689
2- Tito Rabat SPA Kalex 42:05.814
3- Mika Kallio FIN Kalex 42:05.864
Alex Rins on the straightedge drinker’s bike
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins triumphed for the first ever time in the Moto3™ class, winning Sunday’s opening Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. At the end of a dramatic five-lap sprint following a red flag, the 17-year-old battled with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s championship leader Luis Salom, who lost second place to Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales at the final corner.
The weekend had been controlled by Rins, who on Saturday sealed his second career pole position by a comfortable margin. At the start of race he seized the advantage after being momentarily overhauled by Salom at the uphill first corner. Rins then started to pull away as dramatic battles formed for the positions in the bottom half of the top ten.
On Lap 12, the action was broken up because of a race stoppage after Dutchman Jasper Iwema suffered a heavy accident. The RW Racing GP rider lost control of his bike on the exit of Turn 17, flying into the air. The 23-year-old was treated in the circuit Medical Centre before being transported to hospital in Austin. Team manager Jarno Janssen later confirmed his rider was “fine”, despite having been unconscious for two minutes.
The five-lap run to the flag commenced shortly before midday. On this occasion, Salom had learned from his first experience and slowed on the apex of Turn 1 in order to seize the lead and keep it. At the Turn 11 hairpin, Viñales shot down the inside of Rins for second, but, carrying too much speed, forced both riders off the track. This gave Salom a healthy leading advantage, yet Rins immediately began to close in. The recovering Viñales also returned to make for a thrilling three-rider squabble.
After several changes for position, it was Salom who took control at the start of the final lap. Rins retook the advantage at the end of the back straight, sealing the win when Salom ran wide at the final corner, thus allowing Viñales into second.
Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger was fourth from Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira, Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller and Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin. The top ten was completed by Ognetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou, Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder and Redox RW Racing GP’s Jakub Kornfeil.
Moto3™ Race Classification
1- Alex Rins SPA KTM 11:26.535
2- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM 11:26.779
3- Luis Salom SPA KTM 11:27.082
EARLIER: Marky Marc on Pole in Texas
On only his second MotoGP™ race weekend, Repsol Honda Team’s 20-year-old Marc Marquez achieved his first premier-class pole position for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa, as championship leader Jorge Lorenzo appeared to miscalculate his final run en route to third place.
During Q2 it was Marquez who posted the quickest ever MotoGP lap time at the Texan venue, delivering a 2’03.021 and thus undercutting 1983 and 1985 World Champion Freddie Spencer to become the youngest ever pole-sitter in the top class of the sport.
Pedrosa lowered his personal best on the final run but missed out on pole by two and a half tenths, whereas Lorenzo tried to avoid following traffic by touring through the pit lane – only to re-join the track too late to post a last-gasp challenge. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who had not attended the test last month, heads up Row 2 from LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso. The top eight is completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi.
Ninth on the grid will be leading CRT rider Aleix Espargaro, as the Power Electronics Aspar rider not only jumped up from Q1, but proceeded to out-qualify both Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden in 10th, and Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies in 12th. Sandwiched Between the two Americans is Tech 3 newcomer Bradley Smith, starting 11th in Round 2.
The fifth row will be headed up by Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, who, like 14th-placed Randy de Puniet on his Aspar ART, had challenged, but failed to earn a spot in Q2. In 15th position, Hector Barbera will be the leading Avintia Blusens rider, starting the race in front of PBM duo Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty, NGM Mobile Forward Racing pairing Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama. The back row will consist of Gresini’s Bryan Staring, Ioda’s Lukas Pesek and Attack Performance Racing’s wildcard rider Blake Young.
Despite 26 riders on the initial entry list, unfortunately only 24 riders will start Sunday’s race. Wildcard Michael Barnes on his GPTech bike failed to make the 107% threshold, whereas Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham sustained a fracture to his right collarbone following a collision with Staring in Q1. He was taken to Brackenridge University Hospital in Austin to undergo surgery.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Classification
1- Marc Marquez SPA Honda 2:03.021
2- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 2:03.275
3- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 2:04.100
9 – Aleix Espargaró SPA ART 2:05.389
Scott Redding led Moto2
Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding will start at the front of the grid for Sunday’s Moto2™ race in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, having achieved his first pole position in any category of the World Championship, with Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’ Nico Terol alongside him.
Redding, who sits second in the standings, registered a 2’10.577 and was almost seventh tenths of a second quicker than Nakagami. Terol, who achieved his first Moto2 front row, was just two hundredths of a second down on Nakagami as Tuenti HP 40’s Esteve Rabat and Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter rounded out the top five.
There was drama in the way of falls in the closing stages, as Dynavolt Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese and QMMF Racing Team’s Rafid Topan Sucipto fell simultaneously. Just minutes later, Blusens Avintia’s Toni Elias saw his last lap go up in smoke as he also lost control. All three riders escaped injury, although Cortese, the reigning Moto3™ title-holder, was frustrated to be left 20th on the grid.
Pol Espargaro and Tuenti HP 40 had improved from seventh place on Friday to the top of the classification in final practice, but the Spaniard, suffering a lack of front-end grip, was knocked back down to his previous position in qualifying. He will start the race behind NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi. Joining Espargaro on Row 3 will be Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Simeon and Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio, as Julian Simon completed the first ten on the second Italtrans machine.
Moto2™ Qualifying Classification
1- Scott Redding GBR Kalex 2:10.577
2- Takaaki Nakagami JPN Kalex 2:11.266
3- Nico Terol SPA Suter 2:11.287
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins dominated Moto3™ qualifying session for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, taking pole position for tomorrow’s race, with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s championship leader Luis Salom and Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales sharing the front row.
Having already topped the final practice session earlier in the day, Rins proceeded to register a blistering lap of 2’16.396 and firmly placed his Estrella Galicia 0,0 bike at the front of the grid. Salom proved to be the closest challenger, but was still almost half a second adrift while third-placed Viñales was the only other rider within a second of pole. Highly unusual as it may be for Moto3™, but there were huge time margins between riders across the 5.5 kilometres of Circuit of the Americas.
Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller will start fourth, heading the second row from Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger, who put in a committed lap to improve from 15th to fifth place on his final tour. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 team completed the top six with Alex Marquez, who escaped from a scare at Turn 1, having been demoted by Folger in the last knockings. Row 3 will consist of Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo, Ambrogio Racing’s Danny Webb and Ognetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou, while Arthur Sissis rounds out the top ten for Red Bull KTM Ajo.
The 40-minute session was not short of drama, not least for La Fonte Tascaracing’s Hyuga Watanabe who experienced two falls; the second was by far the scariest, as the Japanese rider and Kiefer Racing’s Toni Finsterbusch touched in the braking zone for Turn 12. The touch resulted in Watanabe’s front brake being pulled on fully, sending him flying over the front of his Honda. Following a check-up at the Brackenridge University Hospital in Austin, he was confirmed to have suffered a fracture of the T4 in his spine. As the chequered flag flew, an incident took place between Sissis and Mahindra Racing’s Efren Vazquez; the duo shook hands before walking away. Sissis suffered some pain in his right wrist, but was cleared of any injury with an x-ray.
Moto3™ Qualifying Classification
1- Alex Rins SPA KTM 2:16.396
2- Luis Salom SPA KTM 2:18.879
3- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM 2:17.100
EARLIER: Márquez Rises in Texas Practice
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Márquez got his second ever MotoGP™ race weekend off to the ideal start as he led proceedings on day one at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at the Circuit of the Americas ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.
Márquez completed his domination of Friday practice as MotoGP™ action began in Texas by topping both opening sessions. Following on from the three-day test session in which he took part a month ago, today Márquez again looked comfortable from the off. Posting a best lap time of 2’05.031, improving on his previous best effort as the afternoon chequered flag flew, the 20-year-old Catalan led compatriot Pedrosa by over half a second.
Bradl moved into the top three as championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Valentino Rossi rounded out the top five, with Lorenzo citing that corner entry was one of the main issues. Cal Crutchlow was sixth for Monster Yamaha Tech 3,1.8 seconds off the leading pace, yet is optimistic that times will drop tomorrow. Andrea Dovizioso led the way for the Ducati Team from seventh with teammate Nicky Hayden in ninth, the American now also running a smaller version of the front fairing. Dovizioso suffered an electrical glitch in the afternoon, and was not able to make the most of the limited track time.
GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who seemingly took an immediate liking to the 5.5-kilometre layout, was eighth, whilst Ignite Pramac Racing team’s Ben Spies rounded out the top ten. PBM’s Yonny Hernandez impressed in the morning session, finishing 11th and leading the way for the CRT runners, but Qatar pace-setter Aleix Espargaró was back on form in the afternoon and demoted the Colombian to 12th; this was notwithstanding a brief front end issue for the Power Electronics Aspar rider.
Hoping to move ahead of those two CRT runners is England’s Bradley Smith, whose MotoGP debut continued with the task of learning a challenging new circuit. He ended the day in 13th position ahead of Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, who suffered the first significant fall of the weekend but escaped unharmed.
Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone was another man to find himself mixed up with CRT runners, finishing narrowly ahead of Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti, Avintia Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama and Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci. In 20th place, Michael Laverty was encouraged by the pace of PBM’s own-built bike, behind which were no less than four regular runners.
The field was completed by Ioda’s Lukas Pesek, Gresini’s Bryan Staring, Forward’s local boy Colin Edwards and Blusens’ Hector Barbera. Rounding out the 26-rider field were this weekend’s pair of American wildcard riders: Blake Young and Michael Barnes of their respective Attack Performance Racing and GPTech outfits.
After a low-key start to the day, finishing 23rd in first practice, Scott Redding shot to the top of the Moto2™ classification at the end of day one at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. The Marc VDS Racing Team rider set the pace in Texas from Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Siméon and Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco.
Lapping almost three seconds quicker than the leading lap time of the morning period, and helped by the fact that the track had been cleaned up further by the preceding Moto3™ and MotoGP™ sessions, Redding reduced the pace to 2’12.481.
Second-placed Siméon was three quarters of a second slower, but just 42 thousandths up on Zarco. This left morning pace-setter Terol fourth for the Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2, with NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi inside the top five. Second Marc VDS rider Mika Kallio was next up, demoting championship leader and Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaro to seventh place.
Mike di Meglio had suffered a frustrating opening race of the year in Qatar a fortnight ago – including a problem on the grid and subsequent collision with Mattia Pasini – but today showed more promising speed by cementing eighth spot. However more misfortune was to come for his JiR Moto2 squad, as the Frenchman lost control and fell in the closing stages on the afternoon session.
The top ten was completed by Tuenti’s Esteve Rabat and Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter. An early collision saw Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrötter tag the rear of Rabat, who had been forced to slow dramatically in order to avoid the touring Blusens Avintia bike of Toni Elías; both Rabat and Schrötter found themselves on the ground, but were able to re-join the action.
Movin’ Maverick Viñales
Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales set the pace on day one of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in the Moto3™ class ahead of Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins by half a second, as Qatar race winner Luis Salom completed the top three.
Viñales, still carrying an injury to his right hand following a crash at the last pre-season test in Jerez, placed himself atop the timesheets with a best effort of 2’18.254.
Behind second-placed Rins, Salom was the leading Red Bull KTM Ajo rider from Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira and San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati, who led for a solid chunk of the final 40-minute period.
Despite the dusty off-line surface, there were few incidents in the afternoon. Viñales was fleetingly caught out, however, as the Spaniard tumbled at the uphill Turn 1 when overtaking Niccolo Antonelli’s GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 machine. Another rider in the wars was La Fonte Tascaracing’s Hyuga Watanabe, who fell while exiting the Turn 11 hairpin but thankfully sustained no more than a broken gear shifter.
Jonas Folger made the top six for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3, hoping for a strong weekend after finishing fifth under floodlights in the Qatar season-opener a fortnight ago. Completing the top ten were Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Isaac Viñales, Estrella Galicia’s Alex Márquez, Ambrogio Racing’s Danny Webb and Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller.