Rins comes out on top at COTA – Miller third!
Alex Rins is now a MotoGP race winner after an incredible performance under pressure at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, able to escape the clutches of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi to secure victory by just under half a second.
Alex Rins saying, “It’s incredible! I’m very happy to win the race here! In warm-up this morning we tried a different set-up and it didn’t work in the way we expected, so we reverted to the usual settings for the race and we won, it’s super! I’m lost for words! I managed the pressure well, even though I suffered a bit in the last laps. When I crossed the line all the feelings hit me at once. I just want to say a big thank you to all my team, everyone in Japan, and all the people around me!”
After a crash out the lead for six-in-a-row COTA winner Marc Marquez, the race was on for a new Sheriff to take the reins in Texas and it all came down to a duel between Rins and Rossi but the young gun held firm.
Valentino Rossi saying, “I’m very sorry for missing out on the victory, because when I saw Márquez crash I said to myself ‘Maybe I can do it’, but after that Rins arrived. Sincerely, I pushed to the maximum, the race was very fast, I did one good lap after another, but in the end he was better than I was. I was riding very well, and I wasn’t able to overtake him. It’s a shame because I haven’t won for a long time, but we are strong, and we will try again next time. On a positive note, I tried everything today, I rode a very good race and stayed in front for a long time. I was strong and I rode a very good last lap, but I didn’t want to do anything too crazy because 20 points are very important for the championship, which is still very open. It looks like we are strong this year and that the bike has improved, and these are the most important things, because maybe we can fight at the front many times this season.”
Another did the same for third, with Jack Miller taking his first podium in dry conditions as he came home as top Independent Team rider as well as top Ducati.
Jack Miller saying, “I am very happy with this result. The feeling with the bike was very good all weekend. I got off to a good start and this allowed me to be in the front group right away. I thank the team because they have done a great job not only this weekend but since the beginning of the season.”
Marquez took the holeshot from pole and immediately set about trying to pull away, but Rossi was in hot pursuit with a small gap back to Cal Crutchlow. Miller and Rins made for pretty close company too, but the initial big mover was a stunning start for Andrea Dovizioso as he gained seven places from a P13 grid position.
Then there was the first bout of drama as Joan Mir and Maverick Viñales were both given ride through penalties for jump starts – and Crutchlow then crashed out. That left Rossi with a bit of a gap in second, but Miller and Rins were on the chase.
Suddenly, however, that fight for second became the fight for the win as there was a number 93 Repsol Honda on the floor. The reigning Champion and only man to have previously won in Texas slid out at Turn 12, tried to get back in the race but was ultimately unable to…leaving Rossi in the lead and Rins on the chase.
The ‘Doctor’ held firm as the laps ticked on, but it seemed the Suzuki behind had something in his pocket. Closing in and closing in, with four laps to go Rins finally chose his moment and made his move – getting past well but Rossi quick to try and fight back to no avail. Then, again, the number 46 made a lunge for it on the next lap but this time headed well wide, that seeing Rins able to pull out a bit more breathing space as he settled back into the lead.
As it transpired, another move wouldn’t come but the ‘Doctor’ threw everything at it. Cutting the gap on the final lap there were bitten fingernails as the Jaws music echoed around the track and Rossi closed in, but Rins remained steadfast. With just enough margin in the final sector it all came down to holding his nerve and that he did, crossing the line just under half a second clear – becoming the first man to win in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas where, incidentally, he took his first ever Grand Prix win in 2013.
Rossi’s hard-pushed second place makes it twice in a row on the podium for him, though, and Miller’s visit to parc ferme is his first since his stunning debut premier class win at Assen in 2016. That’s also a key number for another two stats: it’s Suzuki’s first win since Silverstone 2016 and Rins made it the first time we’ve had a first time winner since that same season.
Behind that fight for the podium Dovizioso made good on his stellar start to limit some damage and take fourth, making the Qatar winner the new Championship leader.
Andrea Dovizioso saying, “I’m happy with this result, especially considering that I was 13th on the grid, even though if I had one half lap more to ride I would have probably finished on the podium. It’s been a very tough race. Early on, I was struggling with the front and I didn’t have the pace to stay with the leading group, but I managed to stay calm and collected. Lap after lap, I regained confidence and my rhythm in the final stages was very competitive, so much that I almost managed to catch Miller. We’ve also been lucky because there were some crashes, but those things happen when you ride on the limit. We’re back on top of the Riders and Constructors standings, and my feeling with the bike has improved compared with last year, but it’s not enough because there are many competitive rivals so we need to keep improving.”
Franco Morbidelli, who took on the number 04 initially, crossed the line in fifth for his best ever MotoGP result, ahead of Danilo Petrucci. Fabio Quartararo was top rookie once again as he took his best yet of a P7 – improving one position on Argentina – and he’s now well ahead in the fight for Rookie of the Year.
Eighth place went to Pol Espargaro from his best ever KTM qualifying in P5, with Francesco Bagnaia taking his best result in MotoGP so far in P9. Takaaki Nakagami rounded out the top ten as the sole finisher for Honda after a mechanical problem for Jorge Lorenzo.
Viñales fought back to P11 after his ride through penalty, ahead of Andrea Iannone, Johann Zarco, Miguel Oliveira and Tito Rabat.
That’s a wrap from COTA for 2019. Some history made and a shake up in the Championship sees us heading to Jerez with Dovi in the lead – and Rossi hot on his heels. Rins is now third and Marquez drops to fourth after his crash, but the four are all within nine points as Europe beckons so tune in for Jerez in three weeks for an all-time classic carnival in Spain.
GP of the Americas – Race Classification
- Alex RINS Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 41’45.499
- Valentino ROSSI Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +0.462
- Jack MILLER Pramac Racing +8.454
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO Mission Winnow Ducati +9.420
- Franco MORBIDELLI Petronas Yamaha SRT +18.021
- Danilo PETRUCCI Mission Winnow Ducati +21.476
- Fabio QUARTARARO Petronas Yamaha SRT +26.111
- Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +29.743
- Francesco BAGNAIA Pramac Racing +30.608
- Takaaki NAKAGAMI LCR Honda IDEMITSU +31.011
MotoGP Championship Standings
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 54
- Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 51
- Alex RINS Suzuki 49
- Marc MARQUEZ Honda 45
- Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 30
- Jack MILLER Ducati 29
- Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 22
- Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 19
- Pol ESPARGARO KTM 18
- Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 17
Moto2: Lüthi sublime in Austin to get back on the top step
Tom Lüthi was back on the top step of the podium in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, with the veteran Swiss rider sublime and pulling away from the field to stamp some serious authority on the race. It’s his first win since Misano 2017 and he was joined on the podium by teammate Marcel Schrötter, with Jorge Navarro in third to take his first podium in the intermediate class.
It was a dramatic start to Moto2 in the Americas as Schrötter took the holeshot but went wide, allowing Alex Marquez and Tom Lüthi through into the lead. Drama hit straight away as Fabio Di Giannantonio, Joe Roberts and soon after Championship leader Lorenzo Baldassarri came together with Jorge Martin – and the points leader crashed out. Back at the front it was then Marquez leading Lüthi, but as the race settled into a rhythm and the Swiss rider bode his time, a move was planned to perfection.
With 11 laps to go Lüthi struck and made it past, and the intermediate class veteran immediately set about making a gap. That left teammate Schrötter the man trying to catch Marquez, and the German put in the leg work to pull back the gap to the Spaniard and then strike. With 8 laps to go Schrötter got ahead, but the gap to Lüthi was already two and a half seconds…
Meanwhile, the gap back from Marquez to Navarro was diminishing and with Schrötter unable to break away, it was a trio by five laps to go – but Luca Marini was homing in. Navarro attacked with four to go and couldn’t make it stick, and then tried again but ran well wide, dropping behind the Italian.
But he fought back past the Italian and was ready to attack again on the next lap when Marquez headed wide, Marini got involved as well and it became a frantic three-way battle – allowing Mattia Pasini to catch them and Navarro to escape. Pasini was then able to do the same, leaving Marquez vs Marini fighting it out the fifth – and Sam Lowes another to gain from a squabble and the Brit edged closer.
At the front though, it was a serene scene for Lüthi as he crossed the line well clear of the field for his first win since Misano 2017, with teammate Schrötter taking second from pole – and cutting the gap to Baldassarri at the top of the Championship. Navarro’s great escape gave him an impressive first podium in the intermediate class, with Pasini taking fourth on his ride as an injury replacement – and proving he’s as fast as ever.
Marquez was forced to settle for fifth, ahead of Marini and Lowes, who took sixth and seventh respectively. Veteran Simone Corsi took eighth just ahead of top rookie Enea Bastianini, with the ‘Bestia’ just edging teammate Andrea Locatelli, who completed the top ten.
Remy Gardner got the better of teammate Tetsuta Nagashima for 11th, with Bo Bendsneyder taking P13. On his 200th start, Dominique Aegerter scored the first points for the new MV Agusta chassis in P14, with rookie Jorge Martin completing the points scorers.
Remy Gardner saying, “It was a tough weekend. A crash in qualifying didn’t help us out and unfortunately I made a good start but Balda’s crash sent me really wide and I almost went down. I lost a lot of time and then destroyed my tyres, pushing like a maniac to recover. After that it was a case of bringing the bike home and in the end we got some valuable points and kept a top five position overall in the championship. I’m looking forward to the European races and am heading to Jerez with a clear mind.”
His teammate Brad Binder retired with a mechanical problem and Iker Lecuona sadly joined the list of crashers to make it a tough home round for the American Team. Baldassarri was invincible ahead of Texas, but Schrötter has closed in and Lüthi is on the comeback. What will Jerez bring?
Moto2 Race Classification
- Thomas LUTHI SWI 39’11.508
- Marcel SCHROTTER GER +2.532
- Jorge NAVARRO SPA +3.836
- Mattia PASINI ITA +4.757
- Alex MARQUEZ SPA +7.741
- Luca MARINI ITA +8.031
- Sam LOWES GBR +8.282
- Simone CORSI ITA +8.953
- Enea BASTIANINI ITA +10.706
- Andrea LOCATELLI ITA +16.868
- Remy GARDNER AUS ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team +25.633
Moto2 World Standing 2019
- Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA 50
- Marcel SCHROTTER GER 47
- Thomas LUTHI SWI 45
- Remy GARDNER AUS 38
- Alex MARQUEZ SPA 36
- Luca MARINI ITA 27
- Jorge NAVARRO SPA 24
- Enea BASTIANINI ITA 21
- Sam LOWES GBR 19
- Brad BINDER RSA 14
Moto3: Canet conquers COTA
Aron Canet took victory in the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in style, emerging victorious from a last lap scrap to take his first win since Silverstone 2017 ahead of Bester Capital Dubai duo Jaume Masia and Andrea Migno. The rostrum sees Masia take the lead in the Championship despite being equal on points with Canet, and for Migno it saw him return to the podium for the first time since Le Mans last year.
Under bright and sunny skies in Texas, rookie Raul Fernandez took the holeshot from the middle of the front row, but it didn’t take long for Niccolo Antonelli to strike back and take over. Then began the classic freight train shuffle – with a few moments thrown in for good measure – before Tatsuki Suzuki was able to emerge free of the crowd and break away.
The contest for who would try and chase him down was won by Aron Canet, as the Spaniard was able to break away from the big group and set off after the Japanese rider. It seemed he was pulling the distance back, but it remained sizeable as Andrea Migno, Alonso Lopez and Gabriel Rodrigo tried to get in the mix.
A lap later Migno was on the tail of Canet, Rodrigo and Lopez got caught up in a fight, and Suzuki was still clear at the head of the race. Antonelli was leading a group of five fighting to complete the top five, but drama then struck twice in fairly swift succession.
First, two-time COTA winner Romano Fenati slid out and Jakub Kornfeil got caught up in it, sadly breaking his collarbone, before a couple of laps later there was heartbreak for Suzuki. At Turn 7 and still with a sizeable lead, the Japanese rider suddenly slid out of contention – leaving Migno just ahead of Canet as the duel for the win. There would be more than one twist left in the tale, however.
As the laps ticked on they began to all bunch together again and it became a five-rider fight to decide the win and podium with Canet in the lead. Despite his advantage coming on to the final lap though, it all came down to the end of the back straight, with the Spaniard initially swamped as the slipstream effect enabled those behind to chase him down – before he hit straight back on the brakes. Emerging from there in the lead, Canet never looked back as the squabble behind saw the Sterilgarda Max Racing Team machine able to pull clear of the chaos.
Migno and Rodrigo were joined by Masia and Antonelli in that fight for the podium, with the two Bester Capital Dubai machines certainly not giving each other any quarter. Coming in to the final corner though it was Masia who had managed to muscle his way through to second, and that stayed secure as a wobble for Migno just behind made his mission one of hanging on to the podium and defending it. The Italian ultimately gathered it together, just able to stay ahead of Rodrigo, and took completed his impressive ride through from P13 on the grid.
Rodrigo was forced to settle for fourth, ahead of a solid top five for polesitter Antonelli. Tony Arbolino took P6 ahead of an impressive result for top rookie Fernandez, who was P7 at the flag. Eighth went to Alonso Lopez as the Spaniard faded slightly towards the end, with second rookie Celestino Vietti just beating teammate Dennis Foggia at COTA and the duo completing the top ten.
Ai Ogura, Leopard Racing duo Marcos Ramirez and Lorenzo Dalla Porta, John McPhee and early frontrunner Darryn Binder completed the points scorers.
Masia now leads the Championship but he’s equal on points with Canet after COTA. Next time out we race on home turf for both at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto. Who will emerge victorious? Moto3 race again on the 5th May.
Moto3 Race Classification
- Aron CANET SPA 39’06.761
- Jaume MASIA SPA +0.909
- Andrea MIGNO ITA +1.077
- Gabriel RODRIGO ARG +1.104
- Niccolò ANTONELLI ITA +1.187
- Tony ARBOLINO ITA +1.322
- Raul FERNANDEZ SPA +1.418
- Alonso LOPEZ SPA +1.596
- Celestino VIETTI ITA +1.735
- Dennis FOGGIA ITA +7.876
Moto3 World Standing 2019
- Jaume MASIA SPA 45
- Aron CANET SPA 45
- Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA 32
- Niccolò ANTONELLI ITA 32
- Kaito TOBA JPN 31
- Tony ARBOLINO ITA 26
- Gabriel RODRIGO ARG 24
- Marcos RAMIREZ SPA 24
- Andrea MIGNO ITA 23
- Darryn BINDER RSA 21