With his first win of 2018, Marquez now stands second in the Riders standings with 45 points, just one point down on Dovizioso. “I don’t think that ever in my career have I had such a race, pushing so hard from the first lap. In the race, I felt that this was the right way and was able to do it, in part because my bike’s setup helped me a lot, so thanks to everyone in my garage as they’ve worked really well and hard,” said Marquez.
Having started from pole, Vinales was down to third after the first turn as he lost positions to Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone and Marquez. Marquez sprinted from the second row to hit second right from the start. He would soon pass Iannone and pull a gap at the front. Vinales gave chase to Iannone with Rossi tagging along behind him. The Yamaha rider decided to make his move at turn 1 on Iannone and successfully took over second from the Suzuki rider, on lap 6. He then had a clear track ahead of him to hunt down Marquez. Meanwhile, Rossi picked up two spots in the early going on Johann Zarco and Cal Crutchlow, who crashed out.
Rossi soon passed Iannone as his team mate did. It was Marquez, Vinales, Iannone and Rossi through the middle stint. However, both Yamahas didn’t have the pace to catch up with their respective rider in front. Marquez was cleared and headed for a sixth COTA win, followed by Vinales, then Iannone who took Suzuki’s first podium of the year. Rossi ended up in a lonely fourth, finishing 9.587s from first.
Marquez’s team mate Dani Pedrosa, who returned from a surgery, had an impressive race to finish seventh. “I’m more than satisfied with having been able to finish this race and get some good points, and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me in these days, as well as all the fans for the support they gave me. Honestly, before coming here I wasn’t even sure I would be able to do the practices. It was a tough weekend, especially at this track; in some other circuits you might handle the situation a little better with a bit less effort, but this one is super-physical,” commented Pedrosa.
Dovizioso is back to the top of the MotoGP standings after placing fifth in the GP of The Americas. His fellow rider Jorge Lorenzo was eleventh.
Dovizioso started from row 3, scrapped with Zarco and Crutchlow for much of the 20-lap race, and after the latter crashed out, he attacked the Frenchman on lap 17 to take the chequered flag in fifth.
The next race on the MotoGP calendar will be the Spanish Grand Prix from 4-6 May at Jerez de la Frontera.