Photography by Gold & Goose
AUSTIN, TX, APRIL 13 - If the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas was a boxing match they would have stopped it on Friday afternoon. But it wasn’t so they let it play out and Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez completely dominated the fight, bloodying his opponents early and often to cruise to a 4.1-second victory today in Texas. For Marquez it was his second win of the two-race old season and his fourth win on U.S. soil in a row, the young Spaniard having swept the three American rounds last year en route to the World Championship.
Riding his Repsol Honda as if it was a plaything, Marquez was led briefly but only by the jump-starting Jorge Lorenzo. Jump start? Noah Webster needs to put Lorenzo’s photo by the term in the dictionary as the two-time World Champion leapt off the line seconds before anyone else, grabbed a bit of brake and then realized he’d better go as hard as possible since a ride-through penalty was in his immediate future. The Movistar Yamaha rider pitted before even being told to do so, serving his penalty and then racing through the field to ultimately finish 10th.
From there it was all Marquez, the World Champion leading his teammate Dani Pedrosa by .626 of a second after two laps, .78 after four laps, 1.3 seconds after five laps… well, you get the picture. By the 16th of 21 laps, Marquez was 5.2 seconds clear of Pedrosa and he cruised to the victory with one little hiccup – a near crash in the final corner of the race. He smiled later when reminded of it. Just a bit of fun, apparently.
“I’m very happy with this victory,” Marquez said. “It was a different kind of race. I’ve never led a race from the first lap until the end. This time was really strange and was difficult to keep the concentration until the end. The race was too quiet so for my mechanics and my family I did some show in the last corner, but anyway we are so happy with the 25 points but I know the next races will be a little bit different because this is one of my favorite tracks. So for that reason the victory was a little bit easier than the other ones.”
Pedrosa was a comfortable second – 16.8 seconds ahead of Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati, the Italian giving Ducati its first podium since Valentino Rossi’s third-place finish at Misano in 2012. It also means that Ducati is now two podiums away from getting docked on its “Open” class fuel allowance.
“We work very well during the practice, but we didn’t have the pace to fight for the podium,” Dovizioso said. “We try and we push 100 percent to try and get something special for us.”
Dovizioso had fought for most of the race with LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl before pulling away late and leaving the German to fall into the clutches of Monster Tech 2 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith. The Brit made his move with two laps to go, swapping places with Bradl for a portion of the lap, but the Honda rider prevailed for fourth place with Smith ending up fifth. It was the first points of the season for the two after both crashed out of the season opener in Qatar.
Sixth place went to Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro, the Moto2 World Champion 3.6 seconds behind his teammate and almost two seconds clear of Pramac Ducati’s Andrea Iannone, the Italian starting well and looking for a while to be headed to the podium. The Open class Ducati rider eventually slid down the order, however, but still managed a career-best seventh.
Valentino Rossi also looked to be on the move early in the race, but he started to slide backwards as well, the Movistar Yamaha rider ending up eighth – 45 seconds behind Marquez. He was two seconds ahead of Aleix Espargaro on the Open class NGM Forward Racing Yamaha.
Lorenzo finished 10th after nearly catching Espargaro.
Then came Nicky Hayden on the Drive M7 Honda, the Kentuckian faring much better in the race than he had in qualifying to finish 11th. He was also the top production Honda, the 2006 World Champion getting the better of Scott Redding early in the race before the Brit ultimately crashed out.
It definitely wasn’t a banner day for the Brits with Cal Crutchlow also crashing the factory Ducati. Crutchlow’s was a big one and it came after he’d already pitted for a fresh rear tire on the ninth lap. It appeared that he’d suffered a hand injury, though he was stretchered away.
Colin Edwards failed to finish what will be his last Grand Prix in Texas, the Texan’s Yamaha failing him late in the race. Edwards announced on Thursday that he would retire from racing at the end of the current season.
Go & Fun Honda’s Alvaro Bautista was another crasher, the Spaniard exiting the proceedings on the 10th lap.
After two rounds of the series, Marquez leads Pedrosa by 14 points 50-36. Rossi is third with 28 points - one more than Dovizioso. Lorenzo is 44 points behind Marquez.
Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
MotoGP Final Results
April 13, 2014
1. Marc Marquez (Honda)
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
3. Andrea Dovizisio (Ducati)
4. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
5. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
6. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha)
7. Andrea Iannone (Ducati)
8. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
9. Aleix Espargaro (Yamaha)
10. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
11. Nicky Hayden (Honda)