World Champ Marquez Chalks up His Second Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas Victory
It turned out to be a perfect weekend for the reigning MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez, who dominated the weekend’s activities, leading every practice session, qualifying on pole, and easily winning Sunday’s 2014 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.
Making it look easy, the young Spaniard rode his No. 93 Repsol Honda to a second consecutive win in Texas at the Circuit of The Americas, starting from pole and leading the race from start to finish. In the process, he became the first rider to win the first two races of the year from pole in the premier class since Mick Doohan performed the feat in 1995.
He and team mate Dani Pedrosa also finished 1-2 for the second year in a row, with Marquez besting Pedrosa’s No. 26 Repsol Honda by 4.125 seconds. At the end, Marquez easily led the rest of field by more than 20 seconds.
Actually, Marquez was riding second at the start. Last year’s third-place finisher, Jorge Lorenzo on the No. 99 Movistar Yamaha jumped the light and took an un-earned early lead. Perhaps nervous about navigating the corner at the top of Turn 1, he left his fifth-place grid spot early and was forced to take a ride-through penalty after the first lap, putting him at the back of the field of 23. Despite the penalty, Lorenzo managed to work his way through the field and finish the race in 10th place.
Both Marquez and Pedrosa expressed surprise at his early departure and admitted it was a bit unsettling, but they managed to keep their cool and waited for the light to go green.
“It was difficult to understand why he left early, and he knew right away that it was a really big mistake because I saw him shaking his head,” said Marquez, “but I just decided to stay focused and concentrate on running the very best race I could, no matter what.”
“For a few seconds there, I thought maybe I missed something,” said Pedrosa, “but I was really focused on the light and I saw that it was still red, so my body just wouldn’t move until it went green, and I’m really glad it didn’t. At first I was afraid I wasn’t making a very good start because I saw Jorge take off. Then realized he had made a mistake. I, too, saw him shake his head and realized he was in the wrong.”
Team Ducati earned a hard-fought third place on the podium, when Andrea Dovizioso, having started from the 10th spot on the grid, brought his No. 4 bike across the finish line 1.8 seconds ahead of third-place qualifier Stefan Bradl, riding for LCR Honda.
It was not all good news for Ducati though. Dovizioso’s British teammate Cal Crutchlow moved up from seventh to fourth. He was then was forced to pit early in the race to replace a tire that was losing grip. After rejoining the race, he crashed his No. 35 Ducati on lap 12, injured his right hand and was taken off on a stretcher.
With Marquez and Pedrosa running away from the field, the day’s race essentially wound up being a battle for third through 12th place. In the early laps Andrea Iannone, on the No. 9 Pramac Racing Ducati, overtook those in front of him and replaced Bradl in the third spot. However, he instead wound up seventh, with Bradl finishing fourth.
Moving up from eighth on the grid to finish fifth, less than two seconds behind Bradl was British racer Bradley Smith on the No. 38 Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. Some 3.5 seconds later, his Spanish teammate, Pol Espargaro, rode his No. 44 Yamaha across the finished line in sixth.
The Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaro finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Rossi’s No. 46 Movistar Yamaha finished well behind the second pack of bikes, 17.2 seconds slower than Iannone. Espargaro’s NGM Forward Racing Yamaha took the checkered flag 2.1 seconds after Rossi.
As already mentioned, Lorenzo finished 10th, with American racer Nicky Hayden moving up from 14th on the grid to finish 11th and earn a couple of points in the process. The final point was scored by Japanese rider Hiroshi Aoyama, who piloted his No. 7 Drive M7 Aspar Honda from 16th on the grid to finish in 12th place.
Texan Colin Edwards, who will be retiring from MotoGP™ racing at the end of the year, qualified 19th, but failed to finish the race. Crashes for Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding also ruined Go&Fun Honda Gresini’s weekend.
MARC MARQUEZ: “This was a bit of a new experience for me in MotoGP, because prior to today I had never led the entire race from beginning to end. So at times it was a little bit difficult to keep my concentration levels up during certain parts of the race. But I’m obviously very, very happy with the end result. This being the second time I have raced at this track, it was a little bit easier than last time, although with so many turns the track is very physically demanding, and can take a toll on a rider’s body. But in the end this win was very important for me and the rest of our team. I think our team did a really good job today. We have some momentum going now, and I’m just hoping we can keep up the good work the rest of the season.
DANI PEDROSA: “I did my very best to keep up with Marc and follow his pace, but he was just a bit too quick for me today. There just wasn’t any place on the track for me to pick up any time and close in on him. But since I was also quite a ways ahead of the second pack, there wasn’t much competition for me out there this afternoon. However, I enjoyed the race today because I think I learned some things that I can use to make some positive steps forward during the rest of the season. I’m definitely looking forward to even better performance as the season progresses.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO: “It was really a fantastic day for me and our Ducati team out there. It seems like our strategy just worked to perfection. It’s really great to be on the podium because with the complexity of the track and the kind of speeds we generate out there it’s really easy to make a mistake. But I gave it 100 percent effort out there and was able to save the tires during the early part of the race in order to make a charge at the end, and the strategy worked. It seems like some of the other riders just weren’t getting as much grip and were struggling a bit, having problems with their tires. So I was able to fend off a couple of charges by other riders at the end and finish on the podium today – which is really terrific.”
About Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, is the home of world championships and a world-class destination for premium sports and entertainment. COTA has been nominated as the 2014 “Sports Facility of the Year” by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. The same publication named COTA’s annual marquee event, the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX, “Sports Event of the Year” for 2013. Additionally, COTA is the new North American home for the summer edition of ESPN’s X Games. More than one million visitors come to COTA each year for events such as MotoGP™, United Sportscar Racing, the FIA World Endurance Championships, business and social functions, and more than 20 performances at the venue’s acclaimed Austin360 Amphitheater, winner of Pollstar’s “Best New Major Concert Venue” award for 2013. COTA’s 1,500-acre campus includes a variety of permanent structures, including a 44,000-square foot Event Center, an impressive Main Grandstand with hospitality suites and the Velocity Lounge, a 270,000-square foot Paddock Building with 34 garages, and an iconic 25-story Observation Tower at the heart of the facility. For more information and downloadable video and photos, visit: www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com, www.Austin360Amphitheater.com or COTA’s dedicated FTP site, media.circuitoftheamericas.com. Follow COTA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CircuitofTheAmericas and Twitter @circuitamericas and @COTAmedia.