Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas: Review – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
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 pole-sitter 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 red lights 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 chequered 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.
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.
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.