It was an action packed MotoGP qualifier on Saturday as Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez and Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales fought for the pole position of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. Marquez managed to grab the pole position, clocking in the fastest lap timing of 2’02.741, closely followed by Viñales who was just 0.130 behind him, recording his fastest lap time of 2’02.871. Valentino Rossi was third on the grid, clocking a lap time of 2’03.673.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa started the race from fourth spot while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s racer Johann Zarco took the fifth position on the grid. Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo started the race from six position which was his personal best this season.
It was a sunny Sunday, with perfect conditions for race. The track temperature was around 37-degree at the start of the race. Pedrosa had a perfect lift-off, overtaking Marquez at turn one of the first lap to lead the race. Rossi retained his third spot, riding behind the Hondas. Meanwhile, Viñales had to fight it out with Lorenzo who had a great start to the race but the Movistar Yamaha racer managed to break through, riding right behind team mate, Rossi.
However, Viñales’ 2017 dream run came to an abrupt halt as the Spaniard crashed prematurely on Turn 18 in the second lap of the race. Viñales’ had a perfect start to the 2017 season, taking the top spot of the podium in both the races before the Grand Prix of the Americas. Pedrosa continued to dominate the race with team mate Marquez in second spot and Rossi in third, closely followed by Zarco in fourth spot.
With 15 laps to go, the Rossi went wide in the first corner and got into a scrap with Zarco in turn 4, forcing the Doctor to go wide and off the track, but he quickly rejoined and held on to the third position. However, the FIM Stewards penalized Rossi for going off the track, a 0.3 second penalty for time gained, which was to be added to his race time.
While Pedrosa and Marquez had a brief fight for the top position, Rossi took the opportunity to close the gap. At the front Marquez pulled away, leading the race with 13 laps to the chequered flag. With five laps to go, Rossi closed the gap with Pedrosa and two laps later overtook the Spaniard to gain the second position. Rossi dropped the hammer in the final laps, taking the flag +3.069s behind the race leader, and securing the second place despite being penalised with 0.3s at the end of the race.
Marquez continued his winning spree on America soil as he clinched the top spot in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas for the fifth consecutive year. This was his 11th consecutive win in the United States of America. His team mate, Pedrosa, settled for the third position. With his third podium finish, Rossi now leads the 2017 MotoGP World Championship with 56 points, 6 points ahead of Viñales in second place and Marquez in the third position.
Meanwhile, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow overtook Zarco to take the fourth spot. Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso took the sixth spot while former Ducati racer, Andrea Iannone came seventh. Ducati’s Lorenzo, despite a promising start, finished the race on ninth position, behind OCTO Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci.
Here’s the final result of the race:
|1||25||93||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||43’58.770|
|2||20||46||Valentino Rossi||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+3.069|
|3||16||26||Dani Pedrosa||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||+5.112|
|4||13||35||Cal Crutchlow||GBR||LCR Honda||+7.638|
|5||11||5||Johann Zarco||FRA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+7.957|
|6||10||4||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||Ducati Team||+14.058|
|7||9||29||Andrea Iannone||ITA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+15.491|
|8||8||9||Danilo Petrucci||ITA||OCTO Pramac Racing||+16.772|
|9||7||99||Jorge Lorenzo||SPA||Ducati Team||+17.979|
|10||6||43||Jack Miller||AUS||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+18.494|
|11||5||94||Jonas Folger||GER||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+18.903|
|12||4||45||Scott Redding||GBR||OCTO Pramac Racing||+28.735|
|13||3||53||Tito Rabat||SPA||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+30.041|
|14||2||8||Hector Barbera||SPA||Reale Avintia Racing||+31.364|
|15||1||19||Alvaro Bautista||SPA||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||+1’06.547|
|16||38||Bradley Smith||GBR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+1’22.090|
|17||41||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||2 Laps|
|22||SAM LOWES||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||10 Laps|
|44||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||12 Laps|
|76||Loris Baz||FRA||Reale Avintia Racing||13 Laps|
|25||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||20 Laps|
|17||Karel Abraham||CZE||Pull&Bear Aspar Team||20 Laps|
MotoGP will return at Gran Premio de España at the Circuito de Jerez in two weeks’ time.
With data inputs from MotoGP