In an eventful Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, TX, Reigning Champion Marc Marquez has finally been dethroned, but it was actually a crash that forced retirement. And guess who won the race? It was a certain Suzuki rider Alex Rins, who scored his first ever win in MotoGP. For Suzuki, it was their second since 2016 Silverstone.
The 20-lap race had Marquez, who was on pole, written all over it, but the defending champion would lose the front of the bike and had to retire from the race. With him out of the picture, the field was open for anyone to take. Marquez got off the line ahead of Rossi and Crutchlow. Rins, meanwhile, was in the top five. As several riders started to tumble, the field became thin in the early stint.
Fufteen laps to go, Rossi had a comfortable space between himself and his pursuer Crutchlow, particularly when the LCR Honda rider crashed out moments later. Marquez led Rossi by almost 3 seconds. Another three laps in, Marquez would drop out of the race as he took a tumble at turn 12 on lap 9. He lost the front-end of the bike.
At the mid-distance of the race, Rossi now led the race while Rins had already placed himself in second right behind the 9-time champion. It was Yamaha vs Suzuki scenario…
Rins planned a victory charge for the last few laps, before executing a great pass on Rossi for the lead. Rins came through to pass Rossi, but the veteran tried to retaliate. He lost 0.5s in that block attempt. The number 46 rider was making an attempt to undo the damage, inching closer, but he ran wide with two laps to go, meaning he had to do the work all over again. He wasn’t giving up, though. In the last lap Rossi managed to make up a lot of time and was looking threatening behind Rins in the final sector, but ultimately he came just 0.462s short as they crossed the finish line. Rins remained calm under pressure from the 9-time champion to earn his first ever MotoGP win. Third was Jack Miller followed by the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso. The second Ducati of Danilo Petrucci was sixth, behind Franco Morbidelli.
Dovizioso had a strong and consistent pace throughout and finished just nine tenths of a second behind Miller. His team mate progressively climbed his way back through the field to claim sixth position half-way through the race. The Italian rider then increased the gap from the riders behind him and defended the position until the checkered flag.
Dovi tops the riders standings, 3 points up on Val. Rossi.
The second Repsol Honda of Jorge Lorenzo also retired from the race. That meant both Repsol Honda came up empty-handed in the Race of the Americas.
Up next Is the GP of Spain at the iconic Jerez circuit, from 3 – 5 May.
2019 MotoGP COTA results
1 RINS Alex Team Suzuki Ecstar 41’45.499
2 ROSSI Valentino Yamaha MotoGP 0.462
3 MILLER Jack Pramac Racing Ducati 8.454
4 DOVIZIOSO Andrea Ducati 9.420
5 MORBIDELLI Franco Yamaha SRT 18.021
6 PETRUCCI Danilo Ducati 21.476
7 QUARTARARO Fabio Yamaha SRT 26.111
8 ESPARGARO Pol KTM Factory Racing 29.743
9 BAGNAIA Francesco Pramac 30.608
10 NAKAGAMI Takaaki LCR Honda 31.011
1 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 54
2 ROSSI Valentino 51
3 RINS Alex 49
4 MARQUEZ Marc 45
5 PETRUCCI Danilo 30 i
6 MILLER Jack 29
7 NAKAGAMI Takaaki 22
8 CRUTCHLOW Cal 19
9 ESPARGARO Pol 18
10 QUARTARARO Fabio 17