Marc Marquez edged teammate Dani Pedrosa for his first career MotoGP win. Marc Marquez edged teammate Dani Pedrosa for his first career MotoGP win. Photo by Les Kalman

Marquez claims historic Texas win

Written by  on Monday, 22 April 2013 07:38

Marc Marquez has become the youngest ever race winner in MotoGP™, triumphing in Sunday’s inaugural Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas from teammate Dani Pedrosa. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo completed the podium, but it is Marquez who heads the standings after just two races in the top class.

On Saturday, 20-year-old Marquez took over from former double title winner Freddie Spencer as the youngest ever pole-sitter in the premier class. He now becomes the youngest race winner, having seen off a challenge from Pedrosa on the other Repsol Honda Team machine. Although he is now level on points with Lorenzo in the championship, Marquez holds the lead as he is the most recent Grand Prix winner.

“If I’m honest…no,” Marquez admitted when asked whether he expected the victory so early in his MotoGP career. “To be third in my first race in Qatar was a dream and now, to take the victory in the second race…that’s even better!

“The race was quite hard, especially in terms of physical condition towards the end – with corners like turn one. I had some problems with the front that I hadn’t had in practice, but even with that I was able to push and keep up a constant rhythm – not so fast, but enough.

“So I’m very happy with that and I want to say thanks to all of my team. Without them this would not have been possible.”

Pedrosa was pleased with his first rostrum of the season.

“No tactics, really: just to go out there and do the fastest possible laps all the time,” Pedrosa said after the race. “I know I wasn’t going super quick in the first section, so towards the end I was struggling there with some pain in my (left) arm; I couldn’t really flick the bike in the way I had been. I lost some ground there, but was making up in the second part of the track. Then I made a mistake and lost one and a half seconds, so that was it, but I’m really happy with the bike this time and I’m glad for the team.”

Although he had to settle for the final step on the podium, Lorenzo admitted his satisfaction at a circuit on which Honda bikes dominated the weekend. Furthermore, the reigning world champion had just notched up his 100th career podium across the three classes of MotoGP™.

"Winning is winning and third position is third position," Lorenzo said after the race. "This track is probably the worst for us, so finishing third and being so close to the winner is something we didn’t expect yesterday.

“In the warm-up we found something, changing to second gear for the hairpins and slow corners. That made it much better but unfortunately we didn’t set up the best gear ratios for the best acceleration, so we just needed two tenths that we didn’t have.”

As the red lights went out at the new Circuit of the Americas – located on the outskirts of Austin, Tex. – it was Pedrosa who seized the lead, while Lorenzo headed backwards courtesy of a poor getaway. A lightning start for LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl allowed the German to go second but he was soon overhauled by Marquez, Lorenzo and Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow.

Following Pedrosa and waiting patiently for his moment, Marquez courageously dived up the inside of turn seven on the 13th of the 21 laps. Pedrosa would hang onto the back of his teammate, but lost ground courtesy of a small error six laps later.

To the delight of his crew, Marquez would take the chequered flag by one and a half seconds, with Lorenzo just over the same margin behind Pedrosa.

Having not tested at the venue a month ago, Crutchlow was more than pleased with fourth – having hoped for a top six result this weekend – as Bradl and Rossi completed that particular group, with the multiple title winner having overhauled GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. The latter would also fall behind Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who progressed to seventh on the final lap and then avoided a last-corner lunge from his rival.

Leading American rider Nicky Hayden and Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone rounded out the top 10.

Extending his lead in the CRT ranks, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro enjoyed a strong ride to 11th place ahead of two prototype riders - English rookie Bradley Smith (Tech 3) and American Ben Spies (Ignite Pramac Racing) - as well as French teammate Randy de Puniet.

Colin Edwards was on the sidelines, as the local Texan hero racked up the unenviable fact of becoming the race’s first of three retirements.

Nico Terol won in Moto2™ for the first time. Esteve Rabat narrowly beat Mika Kallio and Dominique Aegerter to second place as erstwhile championship leader Pol Espargaro crashed out. Scott Redding fell to fifth from pole position but now heads to the next round at Jerez as the new leader in the standings.

Marc VDS Racing Team’s Redding came from a career-first pole, but had lost his lead by as early as lap five when starting to struggle with tires.

Perhaps the biggest drama of the race came on the previous tour, when Tuenti HP 40’s Espargaro lost control and retired from the race; with his left boot having come off his foot during the accident, the Spaniard could be seen limping upon his return to the paddock.

From third on the grid, Terol avoided any trouble at turn one to seize second place – then taking advantage of Redding as the Englishman began to drop off the pace. The Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 rider proceeded to stretch out a healthy lead of 3.5 seconds, only backing off as his comfortable position became more apparent in the second half of the race.

Behind, a fierce battle roared as Espargaro’s teammate Rabat went head-to-head with Marc VDS’ Kallio and Technomag carXpert’s Aegerter. The Spaniard would come out on top from the Finn, with the Swiss escaping a lurid last-lap wobble.

Barcelona’s Alex Rins has triumphed for the first time, winning Sunday’s opening Moto3™ Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. At the end of a dramatic five-lap sprint following a red flag, the 17-year-old battled with championship leader Luis Salom, who lost second place to Maverick Viñales at the final corner.

The weekend was controlled by Rins, who on Saturday sealed his second pole position by a comfortable margin. At the start of Sunday’s race, the Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider seized the advantage after being momentarily overhauled by Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom at the uphill first corner.

On lap 12, the action was broken up courtesy of a race stoppage after Dutchman Jasper Iwema suffered a heavy accident. The RW Racing GP rider lost control of his bike on the exit of turn 17, flying into the air. The 23-year-old was treated in the circuit Medical Centre before being transported to hospital in Austin.

On the restart, Salom had learned from his first experience and slowed on the apex of turn one in order to seize the lead and keep it. After several changes for position, it was Salom who took control at the start of the final lap. Rins retook the advantage at the end of the back straight, sealing the win when Salom ran wide at the final corner – thus allowing Viñales into second.

Salom and Rins now share the championship lead with 41 points apiece, with Viñales just a further one in arrears.

The story continues in Jerez with the Gran Premio bwin de España in two weeks’ time.

MotoGP Race Results (courtesy Repsol Honda)

  1. 1              Marc Marquez  43'42.123             SPA        HONDA                Repsol Honda Team
  2. 2              Dani Pedrosa     +1.534   SPA        HONDA                Repsol Honda Team
  3. 3              Jorge Lorenzo    +3.381   SPA        YAMAHA             Yamaha Factory Racing
  4. 4              Cal Crutchlow    +6.616   GBR       YAMAHA             Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  5. 5              Stefan Bradl       +12.674                GER        HONDA                LCR Honda MotoGP
  6. 6              Valentino Rossi +16.615                ITA         YAMAHA             Yamaha Factory Racing
  7. 7              Andrea Dovizioso             +22.374                ITA         DUCATI                Ducati Team
  8. 8              Alvaro Bautista  +22.854                SPA        HONDA & FTR    Go & Fun Honda Gresini
  9. 9              Nicky Hayden    +33.773                USA       DUCATI                Ducati Team
  10. 10           Andrea Iannone               +42.112                ITA         DUCATI                Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
  11. 11           Aleix Espargaro +48.837                SPA        ART        Power Electronics Aspar
  12. 12           Bradley Smith    +50.705                GBR       YAMAHA             Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  13. 13           Ben Spies            +1'14.132             USA       DUCATI                Ignite Pramac Racing Team
  14. 14           Randy De Puniet              +1'15.651             FRA        ART        Power Electronics Aspar
  15. 15           Yonny Hernandez            +1'19.591             COL        PBM      Paul Bird Motorsport
  16. 16           Michael Laverty                +1'34.391             GBR       PBM      Paul Bird Motorsport
  17. 17           Hiroshi Aoyama                +1'39.823             JAP         FTR         Avintia Blusens
  18. 18           Hector Barbera +1'39.952             SPA        FTR         Avintia Blusens
  19. 19           Claudio Corti      +1'46.773             ITA         FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
  20. 20           Bryan Staring     +1'48.084             AUS       HONDA & FTR    Go & Fun Honda Gresini
  21. 21           Blake Young       +1 lap    USA       APR CRT               Attack Performance
  22. 22           Danilo Petrucci  DNF       ITA         IODA-SUTER       Came IodaRacing Project
  23. 23           Lukas Pesek       DNF       CZE         IODA-SUTER       Came IodaRacing Project
  24. 24           Colin Edwards    DNF       USA       FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing

MotoGP Standings (courtesy Repsol Honda)

  1. 1              Marc Marquez  41 pts    SPA        HONDA                Repsol Honda Team
  2. 2              Jorge Lorenzo    41 pts    SPA        YAMAHA             Yamaha Factory Racing
  3. 3              Dani Pedrosa     33 pts    SPA        HONDA                Repsol Honda Team
  4. 4              Valentino Rossi 30 pts    ITA         YAMAHA             Yamaha Factory Racing
  5. 5              Cal Crutchlow    24 pts    GBR       YAMAHA             Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  6. 6              Alvaro Bautista  18 pts    SPA        HONDA & FTR    Go & Fun Honda Gresini
  7. 7              Andrea Dovizioso             18 pts    ITA         DUCATI                Ducati Team
  8. 8              Nicky Hayden    15 pts    USA       DUCATI                Ducati Team
  9. 9              Andrea Iannone               13 pts    ITA         DUCATI                Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
  10. 10           Stefan Bradl       11 pts    GER        HONDA                LCR Honda MotoGP
  11. 11           Aleix Espargaro 10 pts    SPA        ART        Power Electronics Aspar
  12. 12           Ben Spies            9 pts      USA       DUCATI                Ignite Pramac Racing Team
  13. 13           Randy De Puniet              6 pts      FRA        ART        Power Electronics Aspar
  14. 14           Bradley Smith    4 pts      GBR       YAMAHA             Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  15. 15           Yonny Hernandez            3 pts      COL        PBM      Paul Bird Motorsport
  16. 16           Hector Barbera 3 pts      SPA        FTR         Avintia Blusens
  17. 17           Hiroshi Aoyama                1 pts      JAP         FTR         Avintia Blusens

--From motogp.com

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John Hopkins

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