Round 03 United States
Marquez’s Dominant Performance Ended by Slow-speed Tumble
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez had great hopes of winning his seventh consecutive race at the Circuit of Americas, but on lap nine made the smallest of mistakes entering turn 12, losing front-end grip and sliding off.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) had great hopes of winning his seventh consecutive race at the Circuit of Americas today. The omens were certainly good: Marquez started from pole position and quickly assumed domination of the 20-lap race, leading by a comfortable 3.6 seconds after eight laps.
However, on lap nine Marquez made the smallest of mistakes entering turn 12, losing front-end grip as he peeled into the tight left-hander and sliding off. Turn 12 features the biggest deceleration of the season, where riders brake from 339kmh/210mph to 67kmh/41mph. the 26-year-old Spaniard bravely attempted to restart and re-join the race, but was unable to bump-start his machine.
Marquez, who started the 2019 season last month with a very close, hard-fought second place in Qatar and followed that with a runaway victory in Argentina two weeks ago, had been aiming to increase his lead in the World Championship. Instead, he will go into his home race at Jerez, Spain, in two weeks holding fourth place in the championship, just nine points behind new leader Andrea Dovizioso.
The five-times MotoGP World Champion’s misfortune wasn’t the only bad luck to hit Honda riders today. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) started the race from the front row and looked like scoring his second podium in three races when he slid off at turn 11 on the sixth lap. Like Marquez’s off, this was a slow-speed tumble, without injury. It was a huge disappointment for the 33-year-old Briton, who also lost a certain podium finish in Argentina, where he was controversially penalized for an alleged jump start.
The Circuit of the Americas hosted its first MotoGP race in 2013, but in recent years has become considerably bumpy; so much so that the unpredictable asphalt was the main topic of paddock conversation on Friday. Most MotoGP riders have requested the track to smoothed and resurfaced for next year’s Grand Prix of the Americas.
Marquez’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) didn’t have much better luck. The three-times MotoGP World Champion had some issues in qualifying, which left him with a lot of work to do in the race. after four laps the 31-year-old Spaniard was down in 15th place, but then he started his comeback and by half-distance he had fought his way into the top ten. And then it was his turn to suffer misfortune. Lorenzo’s exit from the race was unrelated to the issue he had in qualifying and HRC are currently investigating its cause.
That left Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) as the only remaining Honda rider in the race. The 27-year-old Japanese who is contesting his second season in the premier class maintained his 100 percent top-ten finishing record of 2019, with a tenth-place result following his ninth- and seventh-place finishes in Qatar and Argentina. Such consistency puts Nakagami seventh overall after three of 19 races, behind six riders who have considerably more MotoGP experience than him. Nakagami didn’t have the easiest of races – he got caught up with some other riders in the early laps and it took him a while to find enough space to realize his best pace. At the finish he was only 1.2 seconds behind eighth-place finisher Pol Espargaro.
Moto2 comeback-man Thomas Luthi (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) scored his first victory of 2019, just two weeks after crashing out of the Argentine GP. The 32-year-old Swiss rider, who spent last season in the MotoGP class, dominated today’s Moto2 race from the mid-stages, taking the lead from Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) and gradually building an unbeatable advantage.
Luthi won the race by 2.532 seconds, leading a team one-two ahead of team-mate Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex), who took his second podium result of the year. Third-place finisher was Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up Speed Up), who rode a superb race, steadily working his way through from sixth place on the first lap. This was the 23-year-old Spaniard’s first podium in the intermediate class.
The contest for the final podium place was frantic during the closing stages. Navarro won the battle by less than a second from veteran Mattia Pasini (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex). This was a remarkable ride from 33-year-old Pasini, who had retired from racing at the end of last season, only to get the call-up to replace Augusto Fernandez, who was hurt during practice for the last round.
Pasini also fought his way through the pack, to better early leader Marquez, Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex), who were less than a second apart at the finish.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40 Kalex), who won the first two races, had a disastrous day after colliding with another rider on the opening lap and crashing out. nonetheless the 22-year-old Italian still leads the points chase, just ahead of Schrötter and Luthi.
Former 250 World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama’s rookie Moto2 team was unable to follow up the superb tenth-place achieved by Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia, Kalex) in Argentina two weeks ago. Today the talented 20-year-old Thai rider finished in 20th position on his first visit to COTA, one of the most complex and technically challenging layouts of the championship.
Moto2 team-mate Dimas Ekky Pratama (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) took the checkered flag in 22nd place. Like his team-mate the 26-year-old Indonesian suffered more than most riders because yesterday’s FP3 session was cancelled due to torrential rain and high winds, which lost them valuable track time.
Moto3 star Tatsuki Suzuki (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) looked set to score his first Grand Prix victory in the opening event of the day, dominating much of the 17-lap race. But sadly he slid off with just five laps remaining, while under pressure from rivals.
The 21-year-old from Chiba had yet to score a GP podium and was devastated by his exit, when victory seemed within his grasp. His tumble was the low point of a difficult day for Honda’s Japanese Moto3 stars. Before Suzuki fell, Qatar GP winner Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW) crashed while fighting to recover from a lowly grid position, the result of a tumble during his final lap of yesterday’s qualifying session. And soon after Suzuki went down at turn seven, Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) also fell, the 2015 Asia Talent Cup rider slid of at turn six.
With Suzuki, Toba and Sasaki out, the category’s top Japanese finisher was Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), who fought well to finish 11th, equalling his result at last month’s season-opening Qatar GP.
Top Honda finisher was Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), who during a frantic multi-rider battle on the last lap seemed like he might even win the race. However, he was swamped in the melee and missed out on a podium finish by less than a tenth of a second, crossing the line in fourth position.
Right with Rodrigo were Niccolo Antonelli (Sic58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) and Tony Arbolino (Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW), who took fifth and sixth-place finishers, the three NSF250RW men separated by two tenths of a second at the checkered flag. Eighth place went to Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), less than three tenths further back. The top nine finishers were covered by 1.735 seconds.
Honda’s final three points scorers behind Ogura were Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) and John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) in 12th, 13th and 14th.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: DNF
“We have had six amazing years here but today I made a big mistake. When I arrived in the garage I said sorry to the team and now I’d like to say sorry to the fans because it was my mistake. It’s different to make a mistake fighting for fifth and fighting for the win, the level is there. We’re only nine points off the lead. It’s true, we made a mistake but we are human and this can happen. We need to learn from it and understand and come back stronger in Jerez.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Repsol Honda Team: DNF
“It has been a difficult weekend with the weather and everything. I didn’t get the best start but I was able to recover and then I started to make up some positions. Sadly we had an issue with the bike and I was forced to retire from the race. It was a different issue from yesterday’s. The positive is that in the race I was feeling quite good at a circuit where normally I have difficulty. Now we look to Jerez, a circuit I like and where we will hopefully be able to be stronger.”
Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 10th
“The start wasn’t too bad, after that I didn’t have the best line into turn one as I followed Jorge, but he suddenly changed his line and I lost my position. So after that it wasn’t the best first lap and I really struggled to find grip and dropped another position. It took me a little bit of time to find the pace and overtake [Johann] Zarco and then our pace was not fantastic, but also not too bad. I just tried to be consistent and keep the pace and in front of us there was some trouble and some riders crashed and I saw that my position was improving. In the end I could have got P8 because Pol [Espargaro] and [Francisco] Bagnaia were only a second ahead. I needed one more lap but it wasn’t possible. Overall, it was a tough weekend for us but we finished in the top ten which is not too bad. Now we are looking forward to Jerez where we did a really fantastic job in the winter test and I can’t wait to race there.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 13th
“Obviously I’m very disappointed with today’s result here at the Circuit of the Americas. It seemed that I got a good start and managed to be on the pace with the front guys, Marc had a little bit of a lead but I felt comfortable in the position I was in. Unfortunately I started to feel some issues with the turning of the bike, the front tyre was not giving me a great feeling and when I crashed I think I made a mistake because the engine was snapping on the braking. I locked the front in turn 11 going on to the back straight and it was the end of my race. It’s my first mistake of the year and I’m disappointed to make it here because we could have capitalized on some great points (in the championship), but we have to look forward to Jerez now which is another great circuit and we hope to do a better job there. I want to thank my team who produced a great bike all weekend and we’ll look to try and improve it in Jerez in two weeks’ time.”
Thomas Luthi, Dynavolt Intact GP: 1st
“This win is just awesome! Awesome! It’s been a great weekend for us overall. But I had to work very hard and it wasn’t easy, because the other guy in my box also had very good speed. We finally made some small changes to the bike, so I felt very confident in the race and that’s why I knew I could push. To win again is unbelievable, so all my thanks to the team and to everyone who helps me. I’m really happy."
Marcel Schrötter, Dynavolt Intact GP: 2nd
“That wasn’t a bad race for us. I overshot the first corner because I wanted to stay in front, because I knew that with a clear track ahead I could go away from the others. I could see other guys losing the front and the pace dropping. However, Tom was quicker. And while I had a nice fight with Alex [Marquez] I lost touch with Tom, so I didn’t have enough to catch him. I tried to make as few mistakes as possible, because this track isn’t easy. Of course I want my first win, but I’m sure it will come.”
Jorge Navarro, Beta Tools Speed Up: 3rd
“On Friday we already did a great job continuing to make progress with the setting of the bike towards the race and this morning in the warm up we took another step forward which gave me a lot of confidence especially in the braking and in the race I immediately felt the difference. I did not start well but after a few laps I started recovering, I knew my strengths and I tried to exploit them to the maximum. I pushed as hard as I could and finally got to the podium. A great joy after a long period of continuous search for a result like this. We still have a lot of work to do ahead of us, we need to continue like this.”
Somkiat Chantra, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 20th
“After the Argentina GP I arrived here ready for the action. I start the race and in the first corner another rider touched me and I lost a lot of time. I didn’t give up and I continued pushing. This is a long circuit where it is very difficult to recover time that you lost. I will take the positives – I improved my lap times and I had a good rhythm. Now we start the European part of the series, where we will find some circuits that I like.”
Dimas Ekky Pratama, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia: 22nd
“Today it was a difficult race. I started really concentrated and I made a very good start, but after ten laps my rhythm was not so high and I dropped back. Overall it was a difficult weekend because the track was new to us and very technical, plus we also lost a session to yesterday’s weather. For me starting from new here it’s necessary make as many laps as possible to understand the layout. I am not happy with the result but I will come back strong for Jerez.”
Gabriel Rodrigo, Kömmerling Gresini Moto3: 4th
“It was a difficult race: I had very little grip at the beginning so I had to find the way to ride as safe as comfortable on the bike. I had a bit more speed in the final stages so I did all I could to get back into podium contention and try my best to go for the win in the last three laps. Unfortunately we came just a little short from third place; it’s a shame, but I’m still happy because we’re showing we can be among the leaders. The podium will come.”
Niccolo Antonelli, Sic58 Squadra Corse: 5th
“This was a bit of a difficult race, even if I did lead the first lap. I had a few issues and eventually I had to focus on getting the best result possible. I spent much of the race fighting with the fast group for the podium and the result could have gone any way – the last laps were a bit crazy, so I tried to be in the best place. Now we got to Jerez and I am really looking forward to the next races.”
Tony Arbolino, Snipers Team: 6th
"The race was amazing and it could seem strange but I am happier than in Argentina, because at this track I’ve always had difficulties, so this sixth position has a great value for me. We worked really well, a shame for the qualifying but this sixth place is for me more important than the third one at Termas. Now we can start the European races motivated and, already from Jerez, we can come back fighting for the first positions."
Ai Ogura, Honda Team Asia: 11th
“Even that I got an 11th position I am not really happy. The first corner was crazy, with many riders bumping into each other, but I kept going. I lost a lot in the next five laps that’s why I’m not happy. After this I start pushing and I overtook some riders which is good. It was my first time in this circuit and 11th position is not bad. Now it’s time to start thinking about Jerez, a circuit that I know really well.”
Kaito Toba, Honda Team Asia: DNF
“A day to forget. I came here fully focused and motivated but this circuit is always difficult for me. In the race I start focusing to not crash in the first corner but I touched another rider and I dropped back. After this I kept pushing and I passed all the riders in the last group, but the gap with leading group was too much. I didn’t give up but in trying to reduce the gap I crashed. I’m disappointed, but we have to stay positive and be ready for Jerez.”
|1||Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|2||Valentino ROSSI (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|3||Jack MILLER (Pramac Racing)|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|5||Franco MORBIDELLI (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|6||Danilo PETRUCCI (Mission Winnow Ducati)|
|7||Fabio QUARTARARO (Petronas Yamaha SRT)|
|8||Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|9||Francesco BAGNAIA (Pramac Racing)|
|10||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)|
|11||Maverick VIÑALES (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)|
|12||Andrea IANNONE (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|13||Johann ZARCO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|14||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|15||Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|16||Karel ABRAHAM (Reale Avintia Racing)|
|17||Joan MIR (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|18||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|RT||Jorge LORENZO (Repsol Honda Team)|
|RT||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|RT||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)|
|RT||Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|1||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)|
|2||Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|3||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|1||Thomas LUTHI (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|2||Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|3||Jorge NAVARRO (Beta Tools Speed Up)|
|4||Mattia PASINI (Flexbox HP 40)|
|5||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|6||Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|7||Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|8||Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)|
|9||Enea BASTIANINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|10||Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|11||Remy GARDNER (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|12||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team)|
|13||Bo BENDSNEYDER (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|14||Dominique AEGERTER (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)|
|15||Jorge MARTIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|16||Jesko RAFFIN (NTS RW Racing GP)|
|17||Khairul Idham PAWI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|18||Philipp OETTL (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|19||Lukas TULOVIC (Kiefer Racing)|
|20||Somkiat CHANTRA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|21||Gabriele RUIU (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward)|
|22||Dimas EKKY PRATAMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|RT||Iker LECUONA (American Racing KTM)|
|RT||Marco BEZZECCHI (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)|
|RT||Xavi CARDELUS (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|RT||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|RT||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Beta Tools Speed Up)|
|RT||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Flexbox HP 40)|
|RT||Xavi VIERGE (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|RT||Joe ROBERTS (American Racing KTM)|
|1||Aron CANET (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team)|
|2||Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|3||Andrea MIGNO (Bester Capital Dubai)|
|4||Gabriel RODRIGO (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)|
|5||Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|6||Tony ARBOLINO (VNE Snipers)|
|7||Raul FERNANDEZ (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|8||Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|9||Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|10||Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|11||Ai OGURA (Honda Team Asia)|
|12||Marcos RAMIREZ (Leopard Racing)|
|13||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)|
|14||John MCPHEE (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|15||Darryn BINDER (CIP Green Power)|
|16||Kazuki MASAKI (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)|
|17||Vicente PEREZ (Reale Avintia Arizona 77)|
|18||Makar YURCHENKO (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race)|
|19||Sergio GARCIA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|20||Filip SALAC (Redox PruestelGP)|
|21||Riccardo ROSSI (Kommerling Gresini Moto3)|
|RT||Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)|
|RT||Aleix VIU (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team)|
|RT||Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)|
|RT||Tom BOOTH-AMOS (CIP Green Power)|
|RT||Romano FENATI (VNE Snipers)|
|RT||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)|
|RT||Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)|
|RT||Can ONCU (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|