93 not out: Marquez pulls the pin for magnificent seventh win at COTA
The King of COTA returns to his throne with a dominant show of power, Quartararo celebrates second like a win and Bagnaia completes the podium
Monday, 04 October 2021
The King of COTA is back! A faultless display from Marc Marquez saw the Repsol Honda Team rider take a magnificent seventh win at the Circuit of The Americas as the number 93 stormed to a second victory of 2021. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) extended his World Championship lead with a valuable second place at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) taking third but now 52 points shy of the Frenchman with three races to go…
Plan A was executed to perfection by Marc Marquez from third on the grid, the number 93 grabbing the holeshot as Quartararo also got the better of polesitter Bagnaia. The latter then lost another place to the fast-starting Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) on the opening lap, with Pecco then demoted to P5 as Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) carved his way past on Lap 2 too.
Then, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was the first crasher of the race, the Japanese rider sixth when he tumbled out on Lap 2. Further back on Miller watch, Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) was making good progress on the hard rear Michelin tyre from 10th on the grid, and the Aussie grabbed a two-for-one deal at Turn 12 to pass Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) on Lap 3 for sixth .
After dispatching Rins, Martin was a formidable nuisance for Championship leader Quartararo as Marc Marquez started to stretch his lead to a second for the first time. Miller, having passed teammate Pecco, was now ahead of Rins in P4 too and the Aussie was the man on the move. Bagnaia, in turn, was struggling to keep up with the top five, initially down in sixth.
Lap 8 of 20 ticked by and Marc Marquez slammed in a 2:04.368, his lead was now up to a second and a half over Quartararo. By 11 to go, that gap had been stretched to 2.3, with Quartararo, in turn, a second clear of Martin. Miller was only half a second down on his fellow Ducati rider and 1.3 behind came Pecco, who had started to find some rhythm – the Italian soon passing Rins.
Pecco then latched onto the back of teammate Miller, before the latter allowed his teammate through – with every point in the title race absolutely critical at this stage, especially with Quartararo up ahead on second. Now, the question was: could Bagnaia catch and pass Martin for third? With four laps to go, the gap was suddenly nothing, with Martin seemingly looking down at his dashboard a few times. Was the rookie struggling, or were Ducati intervening? It wouldn’t matter in the end, with Martin being handed a Long Lap Penalty for not losing enough time at Turns 4 and 5 when he had a front end moment and ran off.
In the end though, Captain America returned to reign once again in Austin. Marc Marquez gave the Repsol Honda Team their 450th premier class podium with a classy ride at COTA, as Quartararo takes a second place that gives him his first match point of the season next time out at Misano. Bagnaia recovered well to claim P3, but its ground lost in the Championship chase… although Misano went pretty well last time for the Italian.
Rins was able to finish P4, profiting from Martin’s Long Lap Penalty, the latter unlucky to finish fifth after another fantastic ride but still top Independent Team rider. Sixth place went the way of Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama), who once again impressed as his form rolls on. He also benefitted from a clash between Mir and Miller on the final lap, and the Rookie of the Year battle is close still between Martin and Bastianini heading into the final three races.
The Mir-Miller clash earned the Suzuki rider some post-race interest from both Miller and the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards Panel. The number 36’s move on Miller at Turn 15 saw the reigning World Champion make contact with the Ducati and he received a one place penalty. Mir crossed the line in P7 with Miller P8, that result is switched after the penalty.
Binder and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) completed the top 10, with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) taking home a lonely P11 but some good points. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) and Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) round out the points, The Doctor scoring in his final Grand Prix appearance in America.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) crashed out unhurt on Sunday afternoon, joining Nakagami on the list of DNFs.
So that’s that from Texas. A dream return to COTA for Marc Marquez sees the King reclaim his Austin crown. And equally as happy is Quartararo, with that 52-point advantage meaning he could now win the 2021 title next time out at Misano. Could…
Marc Marquez: “The plan was exactly how I did the race. Start well, be first at the first corner, slow in the first three laps and then when the tyres drop a bit, start to push. It’s exactly what I did. Then I saw that I increased the gap, I was riding a constant pace and comfortable. The last few laps I was tired and it was hard to concentrate but Fabio was far, my instinct said he’d slow down too because he’s fighting for the Championship. So today everyone is happy on the podium! Me for the victory, Fabio for second… maybe Pecco no! But for sure he’ll be strong again at Misano.”
Raul Fernandez victorious as Gardner crashes out at COTA
The rookie matches a Marquez record as the Aussie slides out, leaving just nine points between the Red Bull KTM Ajo duo at the top
Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took a magnificent seventh win of the season in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, matching Marc Marquez’ record of seven wins as a Moto2™ rookie. The 25 points – and the continued steamrolling performance – also see him gain big on teammate Remy Gardner in the title fight, with the Australian sliding out in his first and only mistake of the year so far. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) came through for second as he took a step back forward in Texas, with Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) taking third.
To the delight of the home crowd, Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) led into Turn 1 from the middle of the second row, but the Moto2™ rookie was in hot which allowed Gardner to swoop through into the lead. Raul Fernandez was soon P1 though, as Gardner then dropped to P4 after getting a miserable run out of the final corner heading onto Lap 2. Beaubier and Di Giannantonio were up to P2 and P3, but Gardner fought back by Lap 4.
Raul Fernandez was a second and a half up the road from Gardner, as drama unfolded for the latter. On Lap 6 at Turn 15, Gardner made his first major mistake of 2021. The Australian tucked the front and was unable to restart his machine, meaning the title race leader would score a DNF for the first time this season… but would his teammate get the job done?
Yes. With 10 laps to go, Raul Fernandez held a 1.7 lead over Di Giannantonio and no had could stop the rookie sensation from taking a monumental victory at COTA. The number 25 has been outstanding all weekend in Austin, and his latest win – coupled with Gardner’s DNF – means the Moto2™ title race is raging with three to go, jut nine points in it.
Di Giannantonio escaped the clutches of the battle for P3 between Bezzecchi, Beaubier and Tony Arbolino (Liqui Moly Intact GP), and Beaubier and Arbolino then lost touch with Bezzecchi, with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) the swooping through to get the better of the pair.
Di Giannantonio sailed home for second and a welcome return to the podium, ahead of Bezzecchi. Augusto Fernandez clawed his way back up to P4 and then finished just 0.9s off Bezzecchi, and in fifth came the home hero. Beaubier capped off a phenomenal home Grand Prix with his best Moto2™ result yet, showing his experience and talent at a difficult but familiar track.
Arbolino took P6 and was back in a frontrunning postcode, ahead of fellow rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and the debutants shone in Texas. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Marcos Ramirez (American Racing) and Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completed the top 10.
Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team), Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up), Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) were the final points scorers, with the likes of Albert Arenas (Inde Aspar Team) – who was taken to the medical centre for a check-up – and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) crashing out of points positions. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) also crashed out, now losing touch with the top three in the Championship.
After a seismic shift at COTA it’s now just nine points between the top two, and next up it’s Misano… where we saw an incredibly close finish not too long ago. What will the Emilia-Romagna GP bring? We’ll find out soon enough… come back for more in the few weeks.
Raul Fernandez: “Amazing. It was a really difficult race for the temperature, it was difficult to have a good feeling with the bike but we worked well during the weekend, and I’m very happy. This victory is for Dean, I have his number or he had mine, it’s for all of his family.””
Guevara takes maiden win after a dramatic day for Moto3™
The Spanish rookie stands on the top step for the first time after two Red Flags, with Foggia second and McPhee completing the podium
After a dramatic morning for the Moto3™ class at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Izan Guevara (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team) emerged victorious for his maiden World Championship win. The race was initially red flagged for an incident for Filip Salač (CarXpert PrüstelGP), before the restarted race then also came to an early end following a multi-rider incident between Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3), Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), riders all ok. Öncü, however, was given a two-race suspension for the incident and will sit out the Emilia-Romagna and Algarve GPs.
As 2/3 of the race distance was not completed when that second Red Flag was brought out and there was no further restart, the first start is taken as the race result and full points awarded accordingly – with Guevara earning his first 25 after steaming away at the front.
Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took the holeshot before Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing) attacked for the lead, but the rookie had just jumped the start and was given a double Long Lap Penalty. As he peeled off it was Guevara up into second ahead of Masia and Alcoba, with Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) on the chase in fourth.
From there, Guevara barely looked back. The rookie and reigning FIM Moto3™ Junior World Champion was on rails and managed to stay ahead of the chasing pack, but they, in turn, didn’t manage to stay ahead of Foggia and those on the Italian’s tail. John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was up into the mix and before long it was Guevara the rookie ahead of the veteran duo of Foggia and McPhee.
The crash for Salač then brought out the first Red Flag, the Czech rider falling alone and then taken to hospital for a full check up, and the restart was set for a five-lap sprint. Guevara was away in the lead again as the lights went out, but then heartbreak seemed to strike for the number 28 as a technical problem took him out the lead.
However, the back straight then saw Öncü make contact with Alcoba and the Spaniard go down, with Migno and Acosta caught up in the avoiding action. The Red Flag was immediately redeployed, and it was announced there would be no second restart, with the results taken from the first initial race. That added to the emotional rollercoaster for Guevara and he was pronounced victorious, having led for much of the action anyway, and the rookie takes his first win – ahead of Foggia and McPhee as the two charged up the field early.
Masia just missed out on the podium and takes P4, with Öncü and Alcoba classified P5 and P6 as they were in the first start. Binder takes seventh and Acosta is eighth – which sees Foggia gain a big chunk of points and the gap come down to 30 between the top two in the Championship.
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) takes P9, with Migno completing the top ten. Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride), Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Artigas and Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) lock out the points scorers, the latter despite a tumble just before the Red Flag.
Next up Moto3™ takes on Misano once again, which was Foggia turf on our last visit. With the gap now just 30 points, will the title fight get even closer in Emilia-Romagna? We’ll find out in a few weeks’ time!
Izan Guevara: “I’m really happy for my first race win in the World Championship. The race was crazy, I’d like to thank the team for the work all weekend. I pushed a lot, lap by lap and I got victory.”
More, from a press release issued by Tech3 KTM Factory Racing:
No American dreaming for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing
The Circuit of the Americas proved to be a challenging place for Iker Lecuona and Danilo Petrucci from day one as they have been struggling especially on the bumpy surface with their KTM RC16. Yet, both tried to make the best of it and eventual saw the chequered flag after 20 hot laps on Sunday.
Lecuona, who had started from P17 on the grid, moved back and forth in the first laps until he settled close to the top 15 around halftime of the race. He managed to bring P16 over the line and missed out the points by 2.934 seconds. Likewise, Petrucci tried his best to stay upright, made up a few positions at the start from P21 to be in 19th on lap six. With a pass on Franco Morbidelli, he eventually secured P18.
“It was a very difficult weekend in general. I don’t feel good with the bike in these track conditions, so I struggled a lot. In Warm Up this morning, I was alone and my pace was pretty good to fight maybe even close to the top 10. But in the race, on the first lap, some guys hit me two or three times in the first corners, so I was far back. Then I tried to recover, but I used a lot of rear tyre in the first laps, so I didn’t have any grip anymore. In the last 10 laps I tried to recover the gap to Rossi and I made up almost three seconds, but then he improved a lot as well. It was very hard and finally we didn’t get any points in P16. But we gathered experience. We learned a lot during this weekend and I think now I have two weeks to recover and be fit for Misano two.”
“It was really a difficult race. I tried at the beginning to stay with the others, but we faced the same issues like all weekend long. It feels like I can’t really use the tyre properly and my bike doesn’t turn like I want it to. I lose a lot of energy on braking in order to try to stick with the rest, but then also in the corners I was slower and in trying to be faster I risked crashing many times. On the last lap, I was really blocked with my back. I was riding all the race with a lot pain. It was very difficult. Anyway, we tried and we will try again in Misano.”
“Another very frustrating weekend for the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team. This time, Iker didn’t get an ideal start, which is usually something he does quite well. It took him some time to gain a few positions and we were happy to see his progress. We were hoping that finally we could score a few points, which was the target. But again, as it happened quite often, I believe Iker made a mistake halfway through the race and he lost quite a lot of time and a few positions. Although he recovered and was going faster than the guys in front of him, he never managed to catch all of them. He ended up 16th, which is again the worst possible position. We would have been happy to score a point with at least one of our two guys. It’s frustrating and a Déjà-vu. Consistency is what we have to work on and this is the target for the next races.”
“Danilo had an ok start this time, better than his teammate. But soon we could see that the pace was dropping and he managed to finish the race, but there is not a lot to say. For many reasons he was just not in the place to be able to target to score a point. I know our two guys tried and pushed, but at the moment this is not enough. Let’s hope things will be a bit better next time in Italy for the second race in Misano.”
More, from a press release issued by KTM Factory Racing:
BINDER BARRELS TO ANOTHER MOTOGP™ TOP TEN AT COTA
2021 KTM MotoGP, Round 15 of 18, Circuit of the Americas (USA) – Race
The first of the four final outings in the 2021 MotoGP championship took the series to the long and demanding Circuit of the Americas and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder defied the intense heat to finish 9th on the KTM RC16.
– Binder top-ranked at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
– The South African is 6th in the world championship and 10 points from the top five
– Oliveira fights from 18th on the grid to 11th & highest finish in last five rounds
As well as a grid-full of rivals, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing teams had to grapple with the long (5.5km), 20 corner and surprisingly rough COTA layout for 20 draining laps in hot and humid conditions.
Brad Binder roared away from 11th place on the start grid and enjoyed an intense fight with world champion Joan Mir for most of the distance. The 26-year-old just dropped away from the tussle for 6th in the final stages.
Teammate Miguel Oliveira embarked on a busy race trying to regain ground and positions from 18th after a complicated qualification process. The Portuguese applied himself to the task diligently and was rewarded with 11th; his highest classification of the last six rounds. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Iker Lecuona was two seconds away from Valentino Rossi and the chance to grab the last point in 15th while Danilo Petrucci ended a difficult weekend in the search for grip and speed with 18th.
MotoGP journeys back to Europe for the final trio of Grand Prix events in San Marino, Portugal and Spain. The series breaks for two weeks before reconvening at the Misano World Circuit on October 23rd and 24th for the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna.
Brad Binder: “Today, going into the race, I felt that we hadn’t done a lot of quality laps this weekend. I didn’t have the best rhythm and I was missing a bit of speed but in the end I gave my best and the team did a fantastic job to give me the best available package for the race. We are nowhere near where we need to be – and where we want to be – but it was P9 today. There was not much more I could have done. We’ll keep working and try again in Misano.”
Miguel Oliveira: “As we expected it was a hard race and difficult to make a lot of positions. Anyway, we recovered some places. We scored points and we raced well. We are looking forward to Misano where we just need to understand how to qualify better and then fight for better positions in the race. I’m happier now that we have finished the race here and achieved something. Looking to the future this was an important step.”
Iker Lecuona: “It was a very difficult weekend in general. I don’t feel good with the bike in these track conditions, so I struggled a lot. On the first lap, some guys hit me two or three times in the first corners, so I was far back. Then I tried to recoverbut I used a lot of rear tyre so I didn’t have any grip anymore. In the last 10 laps I tried to recover the gap to Rossi and I made up almost three seconds, but then he improved a lot as well. It was very hard and finally we didn’t get any points in P16. But we gathered experience. We learned a lot during this weekend and I think now I have two weeks to recover and be fit for Misano two.”
Danilo Petrucci: “It was really a difficult race. I tried at the beginning to stay with the others, but we faced the same issues like all weekend long. It feels like I can’t really use the tyre properly and my bike doesn’t turn like I want it to. I lose a lot of energy in braking in order to try to stick with the rest but then also in the corners I was slower and in trying to be faster I risked crashing many times. It was very difficult. Anyway, we tried and we will try again in Misano.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “We knew it would be a tough one. COTA is still a track we have not raced at that much. Brad had a strong one and suffered with a bit of vibration from the bike and tires around seven laps from the end and that cost him the chance to fight in that group going for 6th position. We are happy with the performance but we all cannot be happy with a 9th. Miguel also made an improvement…but we wanted both riders in the top ten and we have to work harder to get them in there.”
Results MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas 2021
1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda 41:41.435
2. Fabio Quartararo (FRA) Yamaha +4.679
3. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati +8.547
4. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki +11.098
5. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +11.752
9. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +15.832
11. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +23.055
16. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +30.989
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +42.239
More, from a press release issued by Aprilia:
ESPARGARÓ’S GP ENDS ON THE NINTH LAP IN TEXAS
ALEIX HAD MANAGED TO WORK HIS WAY UP SEVEN POSITIONS WHEN A CRASH ENDED HIS RACE
A crash during the ninth lap with no physical consequences for the rider brought the GP of the Americas to an end for Aleix Espargaró.
After starting from the seventh row – evidence of a consistently difficult weekend – Aleix began to move up through the positions. Even without pushing too hard, he had already moved up seven places all the way to twelfth when he fell victim to the crash. This ended a seemingly parenthetical weekend in an otherwise fantastic season for Aleix and his Aprilia RS-GP. But even on the only track on the calendar where he was never able to find that competitive edge, Aleix Espargaró was still riding a respectable race.
Now the goal is to recover energy – both physical and mental – and to get back to the trend of positive growth that has characterised his season thus far in order to best tackle the final three races of the championship.
“I am truly disappointed. Not so much for the crash, which is always a possibility in racing, but certainly not when you’re riding with such high lap times. Unfortunately, something just didn’t work this weekend and we need to take a deeper look at that. Until now, we have been competitive everywhere, with various results but consistently battling in the group of the best. I want to apologise to the team. Five crashes in three days are definitely not a good record and both they and the engineers have worked nonstop throughout the weekend. The goal was to stay calm and aim for the best possible result, which was the points zone for us today. We were doing just that before the crash, which fortunately came without any physical consequences.”
More, from a press release issued by Michelin:
MICHELIN Power Slicks tame Texas rodeo
• Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) takes the honours in Texas
• New race duration record of 41’41.435
• Four different constructors in the top four places
• Bumpy track surface challenges riders, machines, and tyres
Marc Marquez used the consistent performance of his Hard front and Soft rear MICHELIN Power Slicks to lead from start to finish and emerge victorious after overcoming the vicious bumps and high temperatures at CoTA in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) taking second and third places respectively.
On the grid, all riders went for the Hard front MICHELIN Power Slick, and all but three riders chose the Soft rear option, despite none of the riders doing more than six consecutive race-pace laps during the FP4 session, due to the extreme physical demands of riding the bumps.
The race pace was very high throughout, with a new race duration record of 41’41.435, beating the previous best time by more than four seconds.
Friday’s first Free Practice sessions started as a wet affair following some early heavy rain, and this meant the teams lost all-important dry set-up time. The first session began to dry out rapidly towards the end, but it was still too wet to allow the use of the MICHELIN Power Slicks. In the afternoon session the track was completely dry and finally the riders got to test the slick tyres and put in some fast banker laps in case of rain on Saturday.
With no rain, Saturday’s FP3 gave the riders a good opportunity to work on dry set-up and to work out how to tackle the extreme track conditions, and later in the session the fight was on again in earnest to directly access Q2. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) topped the timesheet with an incredible lap time, given the track conditions, of 2’02.923 using Soft front and rear tyres – a time only bettered in Q2 by his team-mate Francesco Bagnaia with a time of 2’02.781 using Hard front and Soft rear tyres.
Speaking after the race, Piero Taramasso, Michelin Two-Wheel Motorsport Manager, said: “This was a very interesting weekend for us and the teams due to the grip levels of the resurfaced parts of the track being something of an unknown quantity. However, during the first dry session we realised very quickly that while the resurfaced parts offered good grip, the old asphalt was distinctly lacking in this respect.
“Considering the differences in grip between the various track surfaces and the well-publicised issues caused by the bumps, I was very happy with the consistent performance shown by all the options in our allocation, and the fourth Hard compound rear tyre we brought as a back-up wasn’t needed. The Hard front worked particularly well for all riders and constructors – hence it being chosen by everyone for the race – but all our rear options were race possibilities, with the vast majority taking advantage of the additional grip potential offered by the Soft.”
More, from a press release issued by Esponsorama Racing:
BASTIANINI 6TH AND MARINI 14TH IN GRAND PRIX OF THE AMERICAS RACE
Austin (United States)
Avintia Esponsorama and Sky VR46 Avintia finished the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas race, with both riders crossing the finish line in the points zone.
Enea Bastianini made a remarkable comeback. The Italian rider, who failed to close a good lap in qualifying, started 16th. After a good start, Bastianini was able to recover positions thanks to a great pace, to finish in a superb 6th position, getting another great result for him and for the team.
For his part, Luca Marini was able to return to the points positions in Austin. The Sky VR46 Avintia rider, who started 9th, lost a few positions at the start after the funnel at the first corner. From there, the Italian managed to hold on to a good 14th position, which allows him to score two more points.
Avintia Esponsorama and Sky VR46 Avintia will return to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli in three weeks’ time for the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna.
#23 ENEA BASTIANINI
“It was another unexpected result. Yesterday we had a difficult day, but we knew that our potential on this track was quite high. I had a good race, and in the first laps I tried to recover some positions. I didn’t know if I would arrive to the end of the race, because I went to the maximum and it’s a really tough track. On the last lap I managed to overtake Mir and Miller and it was a lot of fun. We knew we could fight for the top 10, but we didn’t expect to get this 6th. Another great result and we will try to keep it going.”
#10 LUCA MARINI
“In the race we had a bit of the same problems as in the last races and that didn’t allow me to make the difference I would have liked in terms of riding. Overall it was a positive weekend, we have to be happy with the whole team for the progress we have made since Misano. I struggled a lot physically, it was a long race and I struggled to ride the way I wanted to be faster.”
More, from a press release issued by Sky Racing Team VR46:
P14 FOR LUCA MARINI AT THE AMERICAS GP
The rider of the Sky VR46 Avintia hits the points at COTA
Austin (Texas, USA) – Luca Marini hits the points for the ninth time in the 2021 season at the Americas GP which took place today at COTA.
At the start from the ninth place of the starting grid on the Ducati of the Sky VR46 Avintia, Luca has struggled to hold the position after the start and found himself in the positions at the limits of the Top15. He has crossed the finishing line in P14 and has collected two more points for the general standings (30 points).
I would say that we faced some of the same problems in the race as in the last few races and they do not allow me to make the difference I wanted. Overall, however, a positive weekend: we must be happy with the whole Team about the progress made at Misano. I have struggled physically on the long run and then to ride as I wanted for being even more faster.
Ruben Xaus, Team Manager
A weekend of ups and downs: I am very happy with Luca’s performance in qualifying, he did a great lap in Q1. The bike looked really fast and he hit the third row. Once again we confirm that MotoGP is a very high level category, with long and very tough races. We lacked something in terms of physical level, an aspect to work on to better face the long run.
More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
QUARTARARO SPEEDS TO SUPERB SECOND PLACE IN COTA RACE
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo had already shared that he had his eyes on a podium place at the Grand Prix of The Americas, and he delivered a brilliant ride to second. These 20 championship points give him a 52-point advantage with only three more rounds to go. Franco Morbidelli put in a brave ride at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA), despite his leg injury. Though not able to fully engage in the on-track battles, he rode through the discomfort to take 19th place across the finish line.
2nd FABIO QUARTARARO +4.679 / 20 LAPS
19th FRANCO MORBIDELLI +49.854 / 20 LAPS
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo delivered a mature ride in today‘s Grand Prix of The Americas. The championship leader balanced on a fine line between defending second place and chasing the race leader. He extended his margin in the standings to 52 points in the process. Due to his leg injury, Franco Morbidelli struggled to keep the rhythm going throughout the 20-lap race at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA). He finished the race in 19th place.
Quartararo had a great start from second on the grid and slotted into second place through the first corners. He was leading the pack chasing Marc Marquez. The Frenchman wouldn‘t let the race leader out of his grasp in the opening laps, keeping the gap under 0.5s at all times. However, at the start of lap 6 Jorge Martin put pressure on the Yamaha man. El Diablo held firm but lost crucial time.
For a couple of laps the number-20 rider couldn‘t relax for a moment, trying to reel in Marquez once more and defending second place at the same time, but in the end he managed to break away from Martin. The resulting bit of breathing space allowed him to focus on his rhythm and he speeded to the chequered flag to take second place, 4.679s from first.
Morbidelli started the Texan race from 13th on the grid and smoothly negotiated the tight first corners in the busy mid-field. He completed the opening lap in 15th place. He engaged in battles with pursuers Miguel Oliveira, Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaró, Iker Lecuona, and Valentino Rossi and was not able to defend his position. However, due to three riders crashing, the number-21 rider was holding 17th by the mid-way stage.
Eager to be competitive, the still injured Morbidelli gritted his teeth, trying to put in consistent lap times. But the physically demanding layout of the Circuit of The Americas added to the discomfort of his injured left knee. He lost places to Danilo Petrucci and Takaaki Nakagami and ultimately finished in 19th place, 49.854s from first.
After today’s results, Quartararo’s lead in the championship stands at 52 points, with a 254 points total. Teammate Morbidelli remains 17th in the rankings with 40 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP go to second place in the team standings with 349 points, and Yamaha hold on to second in the constructor championship with 282 points.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli again in three weeks‘ time for the Gran Premio dell’Emilia-Romagna, held from 22-24 October, where Quartararo will have his first chance to be crowned 2021 World Champion.
Today’s second place is the result of very precise work done by the team. We improved session by session throughout the entire weekend, including in the Warm Up when we made the final rear tyre decision. We tried all tyre options this morning, including the soft rear that we hadn‘t considered earlier, and we were able to make the right decision. We also found something to make Fabio feel a bit more comfortable with the numerous bumps here, and that really paid off during this race. Fabio did a great job. It was another really mature ride from him. He had a good start and his immediate retaliation when Martin tried to overtake him was exactly what he needed to do. Then in the second half of the race he just focused on his own rhythm, which is easier said than done at this physical track, but he managed it. Moreover, he took this second place and a crucial 20 points at a track that isn‘t our strongest, and they are like gold for Fabio‘s championship campaign. Franky really suffered because he is still recovering, which wasn’t helped by today’s 20-lap long race. His result doesn‘t really do credit to the hard work he put in and the improvements he and his crew made over the weekend, but that is the way it is for now. We are sure he will be feeling much better again after the two weeks‘ rest before the Misano 2 race weekend.
You can imagine how happy I am! I think that we managed to do a really great job. This morning I tried the soft rear, and honestly that was not really a race option for us all weekend, but I felt good. The first 12 laps of the race were the toughest, when I tried to make a gap between me and Jorge. And we did it. This is the best second place that I‘ve ever gotten in my life. It‘s even better than a victory, to be honest, because I‘m getting closer to my dream. It was so emotional because there are only three races left, and I have an over 50-point advantage. At least we made this long flight to leave here with a great result. I will now go back home and relax with my family for a few days. I will enjoy those moments with them a lot. I think that we are starting to think in a different way now, because the championship‘s end is getting closer. This is my first time really talking about it, but things are looking good.
The race was very, very tough. I wasn‘t in the condition to fully perform in the race because this track is really demanding on the body and I‘m still recovering, and 20 laps here with my physical condition were really tough. At some point I was just trying to get the bike to the end. At the beginning of the race, when I was still able to, I wanted to push a little and make some more kilometres to learn and adapt more to the bike. We got some interesting information that we can analyse, and we can do something with it for Misano. The next GP weekend is in three weeks, so I will have some more time to heal and prepare for that race. This is positive, and overall it was a positive weekend. We understand better which direction to take. Of course, the result is not what we wanted, but this is like a pre-season for us. We have to see it in this way. We are collecting interesting data for the next races.
More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:
Americas GP – Extraordinary performance of the rookie Jorge Martin who almost reached the podium at the Grand Prix of the Americas, Johann Zarco crashed on lap four.
Extraordinary performance of the rookie Jorge Martin who almost reached the podium at the Grand Prix of the Americas, Johann Zarco crashed on lap four. A masterful race for the Spanish rider who maintains the third position until 5 laps to go, a mistake at turn four thwarts the possibility of the podium, he finishes fifth. Wasted opportunity for Johann Zarco, who crashes on the fourth lap.
I really didn’t expect to do a race like that, I am very happy. It’s a shame because I could have been on the podium.
I am very disappointed, a good opportunity wasted because of a mistake. Now I will use these two weeks to train and get back to 100%.
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:
POINTS FINISH FOR ALEX MARQUEZ IN AUSTIN
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Álex Márquez took a points finish in the Grand Prix of The Americas as he ended in 12th position on Sunday. After mixed weather across the weekend, round 15 of the 2021 MotoGP calendar took place in warm, sunny conditions in Texas and Álex fought hard throughout to claim four more World Championship points.
Departing from the fifth row of the grid, the Spaniard made a good getaway from the line and improved by three places on the first lap. He showed patience and consistency to maintain that position and eventually finished just four seconds behind the second Honda of Pol Espargaro in tenth.
Álex Márquez – 12th
“We finished P12 today, I’m not really happy because it’s not the position I wanted to be in and it’s not the performance we needed to show. But I gave 100% throughout the race, the main problem was the rear grip which did not feel good from the beginning to the end. But I was able to keep the lap times and my rhythm quite constant. I made a big mistake on lap seven when I went straight on the back straight at turn 12 and lost three or four seconds there, without that I think the top 10 was possible. It was not the race I expected, I expected a little better so we need to keep pushing. Now, we have three weeks to rest and to reflect on it. We’ll be looking to make a step forward and be more competitive in Misano.”
More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:
CHALLENGING RACE FOR TAKA AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS
The Grand Prix of The Americas did not go to plan for Takaaki Nakagami as he finished in 17th position after an early fall in Sunday’s MotoGP race. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider pushed hard to get involved in the battle at the head of the field, but slid out on the second lap and had to rejoin, although his subsequent race pace was second only to eventual winner Marc Márquez.
The Japanese star underlined his speed at the Circuit of the Americas by going fastest in Sunday’s warm-up. Starting from fifth on the grid, he lost a couple of positions on the drag to the first corner, but fought his way back past Joan Mir to sit sixth at the end of the first lap. Then, in trying to pass Pecco Bagnaia, he slid out at turn 12 on lap two, but showed his resilience to rejoin and passed Morbidelli and Petrucci in the closing stages to claim 17th.
Takaaki Nakagami – 17th
“At the start of the race I had a good feeling on the bike and I was ready to attack as I saw Marc (Marquez) was trying to go away after the start. I was trying to overtake Joan Mir and then next Bagnaia, I was really confident on the braking so I kept pushing, but unfortunately at turn 12 I hit the bumps in the apex and lost the front. It’s a shame that I crashed because after that I rejoined the race and I tried to keep pushing to the maximum and the pace was amazing. We had really good pace in the end, so it’s a shame I lost this opportunity. I’d like to say sorry to my team. Now, we are on to the next race in Misano.”
More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:
The Sheriff is back: Marquez cruises to Austin victory
Marc Marquez was unstoppable in Texas as his incredible race pace saw him break away to take his second win of the 2021 season and take the Repsol Honda Team’s 450th premier class podium.
Long gone were the hints of rain that had hindered the start of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, the sun shining as the American national anthem echoed along the main straight before the 20-lap MotoGP race.
When the lights went out, Marc Marquez and his Repsol Honda Team RC213V rocketed forward to lead the field out of Turn One. From here there was no looking back as the eight-time World Champion set an unmatchable pace over the following 20 laps. From lap five to lap 15, Marquez never went slower than a 2’04.9 to open up a gap of over four seconds to Fabio Quartararo. There was simply no stopping Marquez on Sunday in Austin as he claimed his seventh win at the circuit.
Marquez’s second win of 2021 also brings with it the 450th podium for the Repsol Honda Team since 1995 in the premier class. With 98 podiums in the iconic Repsol Honda Team colours, Marquez is the second most successful rider in terms of podium finishes for the team behind Dani Pedrosa with 112 top three finishes. This brings the #93’s personal win tally to 58 in the premier class and moves him to seventh in the World Championship standings with 117 points.
From 12th on the grid, Pol Espargaro was able to gain a handful of positions off the line and move into the group battling for the top ten. Espargaro fought well in the early laps to find himself clear space on track and set a steady pace to avoid any problems around the bumpy COTA track. With falls around him, Espargaro earned tenth place for his efforts in the Americas GP and the additional six World Championship points move him level with Nakagami in the overall standings.
The entire Repsol Honda Team will now enjoy a brief moment of rest after three races, and a test, in the last four weekends. Action resumes back at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on October 22 for round 16 of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship season.
“The plan was to do exactly what we did today: start well and fight into the first corner, take the first few laps a bit easy and then when the tyres start to drop a little bit – that’s when I would start to push. It’s exactly what I did and I saw the gap increasing with my lap times in in 2’04 highs, very consistent and comfortable. In the last few laps I was very tired and it wasn’t easy to keep my concentration but Fabio was far behind and my instincts said he would not risk anything as he’s fighting for the championship. Today is a great day, I want to say thanks to the whole of HRC and the Repsol Honda Team who have worked so well all weekend. It’s been a hard season to understand everything, I was really looking for this victory because we know we had a good chance here. It was nice to win here for Nicky Hayden and also for the Viñales family, I have known them since I was eight years old and it’s a hard year for them and for the world of racing.”
“We went into the race knowing it would be difficult and from the start the feeling with the front was not so good, there was a lot of pushing. With the situation we had, I couldn’t do any more. It’s strange because in previous races the rear has been where we had our problems, but today it was the front. It’s unfortunate because we started the weekend well. Now the next objective is Misano where we know we have a good setting from the test, so we get ready to go again. The year isn’t over, so we keep our head up and keep trying. Congratulations to Marc and the Repsol Honda Team.”
More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:
Double Top 15 finish for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT in COTA
The Grand Prix of the Americas sees Andrea Dovizioso finish 13th and Valentino Rossi 15th
Andrea Dovizioso claimed his first 2021 World Championship points in only his second race with PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team at the Circuit of The Americas. Valentino Rossi climbed from a lowly 20th on the grid to finish 15th after a gruelling 20-laps under the Texan sun.
After an opening lap on which Andrea Dovizioso slipped backward to 17th, the Italian mounted something of a comeback around the demanding COTA track. By lap nine he had fought his way back up to 12th position before being passed for the place, and he then delivered a consistent ride to hold 13th until the finish. Today he started his 329th Grand Prix across all classes, which moves him into the second highest number of starts, behind only his team-mate.
Valentino Rossi made steady progress from 21st on the first lap and had reached 15th position by lap 11, which he then held until the end. With an air temperature of 32 degrees and the circuit’s undulations, it was a particularly physically demanding last race in the USA for Rossi, whose fans were out in force to see their hero race one last time in North America.
With points-scores for both riders, Rossi currently lies 21st in the World Championship standings, whilst Dovizioso is 26th after just two races with PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.
There will now be a two-week gap before PETRONAS Yamaha SRT make their second visit of the season to Misano, this time for the Gran Premio dell’Emilia Romagna (22-24 October) – Rossi’s final home GP of his career.
First of all we are pleased and glad that nobody got seriously hurt during the Moto3 race after that nasy crash after the restart, and that all the riders are all ok. It was great to see John on the podium for the first time since Misano last year, and for Darryn to be in the top ten too, with both of them clearly having the potential for much more today. For Xavi and Jake I am pleased to see them both in the top ten, especially at this challenging track and with the extra demands of the surface and the weather. Both our MotoGP riders are also back in the points which is great, and they’re the first points for Andrea in just his second race with us. I think it’s the first time that all our riders have got into the points, which is a great team effort.
I’m very disappointed with the start because I almost switched off the engine – I don’t know if I made a mistake but I lost a lot of positions, so we’re looking into that. This made it not very easy, especially as it’s very difficult for us to overtake, but in the end my pace was quite good and quite consistent. I’m disappointed because I didn’t achieve the maximum – with a good start I believe I could have been in the top ten, but the improvement since Misano is huge and we’re continuing to work hard and to adapt to the bike. We are in a strange situation that I can be happy even when we don’t get a good result because I’m learning, so it’s ok and we will continue to work in this way.
Considering my pace during the weekend my speed today in the race was decent. I was able to take one point, but it was really, really hard. A very long race. This track is always very demanding because we have some wild braking, a lot of change in direction and a lot of bumps, and with this temperature it was very long today. For the level of MotoGP machines now you have to be very, very fit. I used the medium rear and I felt good and was able to recover some positions, but unfortunately I was not fast enough. We expected to be stronger, but we suffered through the weekend. Finally though at the end I’m happy because it was so tough but still I took one point.
More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:
RINS BRINGS HOME FOURTH ON RETURN TO TAXING TEXAN GP
RED BULL GRAND PRIX OF THE AMERICAS:
Alex Rins: 4th
Joan Mir: 8th
Team Suzuki Ecstar were pleased to once again experience the unique atmosphere the USA offers ahead of lights out for round 15 of the World Championship; the ‘Americas GP’. The high temperatures, excited crowd, and a powerful rendition of the National Anthem all added to the buzz around COTA on the outskirts of Austin.
Alex Rins and Joan Mir managed rocket starts off the line with their GSX-RRs, and impressively pushed into fourth and sixth in the first corners. Both choosing the hard-soft tyre combination, the pair hoped to charge through the pack early in the 20 lap race. Rins was quick to place himself into podium contention as he moved third before the end of lap 1.
The leading pack was a decent size with the first half a dozen riders all running close together for the first seven or eight laps. But as the race progressed, gaps started to appear, and the Suzuki duo found themselves slipping a little. On the 10th lap, Rins was sixth and Mir seventh, but the dynamics of the race were constantly changing and both riders were keen to keep in contention.
Despite settling into a steady rhythm, Rins and Mir were still ready to do battle to secure the best positions possible. Rins passed Jack Miller to take fifth and with four laps left found himself in a comfortable space. Meanwhile Mir was closing in for sixth but a big battle with Miller and Enea Bastianini saw him finish in seventh; he was later demoted to eighth for a moment on the last lap that was deemed irresponsible. Rins made up one position on the last lap after Jorge Martin took a long lap penalty; this meant he was able to bring home a nice fourth.
“Today was a very difficult race for me, I struggled a lot, it was so hot and physically tough for everyone. Coming out of the slow corners I was losing time – I’m not sure if it was rear grip, or something in the set-up, but I struggled to accelerate out of the corners. But on the more flowing and faster corners I felt good and I was able to hold the speed and fight better. We chose the soft rear, like everybody else, because it seemed to be the best option to enter the fight with the same weapons. In the end it’s hard to tell whether another choice may have worked better, but I’m glad I was able to get fourth – it’s not so bad and I could bring home some nice points.”
“All race long I was trying to gain positions and make overtakes, but due to some issues with acceleration and traction I wasn’t really able to do it easily and I had to push really hard. I’m sorry for the touch with Jack (Miller) at the end of the race, I understand why he was angry, but it’s a shame I had a penalty because it was not a deliberate hit, of course. I hope in the future we can be more competitive, because I don’t want to be in these types of fights with another rider, I want everything to be clean and to be able to make passes more easily and battle with the lead group. Anyway, today I’m eighth and that’s just how it is. I’m ready to focus on Misano.”
Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader and Team Director:
“Both Alex and Joan gave 100% in today’s race. To be honest, we expected more in terms of results, but I know that they both managed the best they could in this difficult race, where the feeling with the bike and tyres wasn’t perfect. They kept fighting and it was a case of ‘damage limitation’ – just scoring as many points as possible. Overall the feeling with the bike was not bad for either rider, but this race was extremely demanding. We’re looking forward to the next races.”
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“It was good that both riders could finish, and not in bad positions, but we wanted more. We weren’t able to fight for the podium here today, which was a pity, especially given our past performances at COTA. Our competitors were very strong and our riders gave everything to bring home decent finishes, but it’s clear that we need to continue working. We’ll keep our heads down and push for the remaining rounds.”
More, from a press release issued by Lenovo Ducati:
Pecco Bagnaia takes the third step of the podium at the Grand Prix of The Americas in Austin. Jack Miller finishes seventh
Pecco Bagnaia took another podium finish at the Grand Prix of The Americas, held this afternoon at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
As he was starting from pole position, the Ducati Lenovo Team rider dropped back into fifth place after a few laps and then had to make up ground to get back into the fight for the podium. After passing his teammate Jack Miller and then Jorge Martin, Bagnaia launched the decisive attack on the fellow Ducati rider with three laps to go, taking third place behind his direct championship rival Fabio Quartararo. After today’s race, Pecco remains second in the overall standings, 52 points behind the Frenchman.
After a promising start from the fourth row from the tenth spot on the grid, Jack Miller made a great recovery up to the fourth place in the first laps. However, in the second part of the race, the Australian rider couldn’t keep the same pace and started losing several positions to finish sixth. On the last lap, Jack had contact with Mir, which forced him to lose two positions. Miller eventually ended the race in seventh place, as the Spaniard had to drop one place as he was penalized for the manoeuvre.
After the fifteenth round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship, the Australian rider is fourth in the overall standings with 148 points, while Ducati and the Ducati Lenovo Team now lead the Constructors’ Championship and the Teams’ Championship, respectively.
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 3rd
“Today, we couldn’t do more than this. We gave our best until the end and took another important podium, so we can only be satisfied. Right from the start, it was a complicated weekend for us, given the track conditions, but we still managed to get a great result. I also have to thank Jack because he let me through when he was in trouble, and I had to make one overtake less. For sure, we lost some points today to Quartararo, and now the Championship fight is getting tough, but I’m not too worried about it. We’re working well and improving race by race. Now we’re already thinking about the next Grand Prix where, of course, we’ll try again.”
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 7th
“After a good start, I was able to get back into the fight for the podium, but unfortunately, towards the second part of the race, when I was up to fourth, I started to struggle from the drop in tyre performance. I tried to adopt a different style and not wear out the front too much, but obviously, that affected my pace. I saw that Pecco was behind me, and since I was struggling, I let him through. I finished sixth, but on the last lap, Mir hit me, and I lost another two positions. In the end, I finished seventh. It’s a shame because we could have had a really good race. Congratulations to Pecco for the podium. I’m also happy for Ducati and the team, who are now both first in the championship”.
The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track from 22nd-24th October at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” to contest the third home race for the Italian team, the Grand Prix of Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna.