MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2014
Magnificent Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) was in a class of his own at the Circuit of the Americas this afternoon, making the race all his own, as he did a year ago, when he won his first MotoGP race at this track.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) was the only man who got close to his young compatriot, but even he had to give up the chase and settle for a strong second place to put him second in the World Championship points chase behind his team-mate.
Marquez would have led from start to finish, but for former World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) jumping the start and leading the way, only to ride into the pits at the end of lap one to pay his ride-through penalty. Marquez was ahead from then on, steadily opening a gap over Pedrosa until he had more than five seconds advantage. He crossed the line 4.1 seconds ahead after surviving a lurid front-end slide at the final corner, the result, he said, of a moment’s lack of concentration.
As last year, Marquez was the only rider on the grid able to use the harder compound Bridgestone, which suits his aggressive riding style. The tactic worked perfectly, giving him his second consecutive pole/win/lap record at this challenging, undulating circuit.
The 21-year-old has now won the first two races of 2014 and leads Pedrosa by 14 points with 16 races still to go.
Pedrosa nonetheless had a great weekend: second in the race, second in qualifying and riding the second fastest lap, but there was nothing he could do to match Marquez’s scintillating pace and he was man enough to admit as much after the race. For some laps he stayed close to the leader, learning many things that may help him in the future, but bit by bit the gap grew until he decided to focus on keeping second place, well ahead of a thrilling three-way scrap for the final podium place between Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) and Bradley Smith (Yamaha).
Bradl did make it into third place during the final laps, but he didn’t quite have the front grip he needed to deal with Dovizioso, so he ended the race in fourth place, two seconds down on the Italian. Upset to miss the podium after such a determined fight, he was nevertheless happy to score his first points of the year, after he had crashed out of the lead of the season-opening Qatar GP.
Nicky Hayden (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was the top finisher on Honda’s production racer in 11th, after a frustrating scrap with several rivals. The last man to come past him at the end of the race was Lorenzo, who spent his whole race fighting his way through from last position to finish tenth.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) was 12th, three seconds down on his team-mate after starting further back on the grid. He steadily worked his way through once his set-up and tyre choice came into their own and enjoyed the race more with every lap.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) scored his second points of the year in 14th place.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) struggled all weekend to get the best out of his machine and yet he still gave it his all in the race, fighting through from 12th on the grid to run with the leading pack and move into eighth place shortly before half-distance. Unfortunately he then made a small mistake and couldn’t save the crash.
MotoGP rookie Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) was having a great ride, until he ran out of front-end grip and slid off without injury.
Reigning Moto3 World Champion and Moto2 rookie Maverick Vinales (Pons HP 40, Kalex) rode like an established intermediate-class star to win today’s Honda-powered Moto2 race, comfortably ahead of Qatar winner Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex). The 19-year-old Spaniard charged through from eighth place on the first lap to overpower race leader Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert, Suter) in the closing stages. Rabat followed Vinales through into second but had no answer for the leader’s stunning end-of-race pace. Vinales finally crossed the line four seconds in front of his compatriot, with Aegerter a further 1.3 seconds down at the flag.
Vinales was in a class of his own in a race that had been delayed slightly due to a rain shower. The youngster seemed able to find room to pass where others could find none. Qatar runner-up Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) was in fine form, till the lingering effects of an old injury prevented him from riding at 100 per cent. At the end of the race he led the next group in fourth place, just ahead of Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing, Forward KLX).
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock, Suter) crossed the line another seven seconds down and just ahead of Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team, Speed Up).
There were a number of crashes, including a multiple pile-up at the first corner. Significant fallers included Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham, Caterham Suter) who took out Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team, Kalex) in the early stages.
Honda riders Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250R) and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) played a starring role in the thrilling Moto3 race, which was eventually won by a fraction of a second by Jack Miller (KTM).
Vazquez was in with a chance of victory all the way to the flag, while Marquez slid out of a close fourth place with just a few corners to go, having set the fastest lap of the race in the early stages. Finally Vazquez crossed the line in third pace, just 0.103 seconds behind Roman Fenati (KTM) and a further 0.069 seconds behind winner Miller.
Vazquez and Miller enjoyed most of the limelight in the 18-lap encounter, Vazquez using the impressive speed of his Honda NSF250R to take the lead on several occasions. In the end, however, he didn’t quite have what it took to grab first position from the Australian.
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) ran with Fenati for much of the race, but couldn’t quite go with the Italian when he zeroed in on the leaders. Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250R) had a good race, battling all the way to secure sixth place after working hard with his crew to improve the race performance of his Honda.
John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda NSF250R) rode well to take ninth place, the second top-ten result of his GP career. Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda NSF250R) was 17th, just three seconds outside of a points-scoring finish.
The next MotoGP event takes place at the brand-new Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo facility in Argentina. The following weekend the action moves to Jerez, Spain.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)||O|
|4||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)||F|
|5||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|6||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|7||Andrea IANNONE (Pramac Racing)||O|
|8||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|9||Aleix ESPARGARO (NGM Forward Racing)||O|
|10||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|11||Nicky HAYDEN (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
|12||Hiroshi AOYAMA (Drive M7 Aspar)||O|
|13||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Emergy T.I. Pramac Racing)||O|
|14||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)||O|
|15||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)||O|
* F=Factory option, O=Open category
|1||Maverick VIÑALES (Pons HP 40)|
|2||Esteve RABAT (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|3||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|4||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Simone CORSI (NGM Forward Racing)|
|6||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)|
|7||Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)|
|8||Alex DE ANGELIS (Tasca Racing Moto2)|
|9||Marcel SCHROTTER (Tech 3)|
|10||Ricard CARDUS (Tech 3)|
|11||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|12||Mattia PASINI (NGM Forward Racing)|
|13||Randy KRUMMENACHER (IodaRacing Project)|
|14||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|15||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)|
|1||Jack MILLER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Romano FENATI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|3||Efren VAZQUEZ (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|4||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|5||Jakub KORNFEIL (Calvo Team)|
|6||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|7||Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|8||Danny KENT (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo)|
|9||John MCPHEE (SaxoPrint-RTG)|
|10||Karel HANIKA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|11||Juanfran GUEVARA (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|12||Livio LOI (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|13||Enea BASTIANINI (Junior Team Go & FUN Moto3)|
|14||Niklas AJO (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo)|
|15||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|