Marc Marquez proved it once again that he is unbeatable in the USA. The 25-year-old defending MotoGP world champion had arrived in Circuit of The Americas (COTA) fresh from a cloud of controversy after Argentina’s debacle, earned another penalty that took him off pole position despite of setting the fastest time. And then produced a perfect run to claim his 6th successive win at COTA, his 10th straight MotoGP win on US soil, and his 12th overall as the Spaniard had 2 more victories in Moto2 at Indianapolis.
The Repsol Honda rider was headed only once over 20 laps of the long and spectacular circuit outside Austin, when front-row qualifier Andrea Iannone of Ecstar Suzuki nosed ahead for a few yards into the hairpin before the back straight on lap two of 20.
Marquez repassed him on the exit from the corner and pulled steadily clear.
“That was my strategy,” Marquez said. “I didn’t have the confidence for a battle, so I pushed from the start to get away.”
He celebrated his continued dominance in Texas with a victory lap carrying a tribute flag to the late Nicky Hayden, the last U.S. champion, before lifting the golden handlebar prize on the podium.
Iannone hung on to second until lap seven, when Maverick Vinales took over until the end. But Vinales’s Movistar Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi was never able to get close enough to attack, leaving Iannone to his first Suzuki podium, and finishing 4th.
Some 3 seconds back in a somewhat processional race, Ducati Corse’s Andrea Dovizioso finally sneaked past Johann Zarco of Tech 3 Yamaha for 5th.
Heroic Dani Pedrosa only lost touch with this battle in the final laps. Less than two weeks before, the Spaniard underwent surgery to pin a fractured bone in his right wrist and had been a dubious starter.
Tito Rabat got back ahead of fellow independent Ducati rider Jack Miller for eighth, both narrowly ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, to round out the top ten. All three had pushed ahead of disgruntled factory Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo late in the race.
Argentine winner and erstwhile points leader Cal Crutchlow of LCR Honda slipped off in the early stages, remounting to finish outside the points.
With MotoGP now heading to Europe and three different winners for the first three races, the top five in the championship are covered by just eight points: Dovizioso 46, Marquez 45, Vinales 41, Crutchlow and Zarco both 38.