Bagnaia, Marini, and Marquez take over – Americas GP Saturday recap
The premier motorcycle championship, the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, is already more than halfway complete. Riders showed up and showed out, but the day delivered surprising results. This year, the intense two-wheel race comes with a bonus—the Tissot Sprint race—that brought revs and cheers to Saturday afternoon.
Moto3 and Moto2 wrapped up their practice rounds in the morning, followed by MotoGP’s free practice. Qualifying 1 and Qualifying 2 for MotoGP had fans on their feet early as Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia broke the fastest lap record and secured pole position for the Grand Prix.
The Moto3 qualifying rounds saw key riders on their A-game. Reigning Moto3 2022 Americas GP champion Jaume Masia of Leopard Racing showed that he still has what it takes and secured pole position for Sunday.
Moto2 riders impressed thousands of fans in both the first and second qualifying rounds. Riding for Fantic Racing, Celestino Vietti is no stranger to the podium, racking up 13 podiums across Moto3 and Moto2 races and setting the fastest lap time. Vietti will start the 16-lap Moto2 race in pole position.
One of two American riders on the grid, Sean Dylan Kelly “SDK” of American Racing in Moto2 had hopeful words for the home crowd later that evening during the Rider Q&A, saying, “[Teammate Rory Skinner and I] are going to give it absolutely everything and try to give the home crowd an amazing race. I’m just looking forward to enjoying it out there and saying hi to everyone on the stands after the race!”
With the track still hot from Moto2’s qualifying rounds, MotoGP riders prepared for the Tissot Sprint, newly added to all MotoGP races on the calendar. A full-throttle, 10-lap dogfight, the Sprint is half of the distance of the Sunday race. When the lights went out, Pecco immediately claimed the lead and held it almost the duration of the sprint, only letting Alex Rins pass him for a few seconds.
Behind him, Big Red continued to prove a challenge. Michele Pirro of Ducati Lenovo Team and Fabio Quartararo of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP fell one after the other coming around Turn 1 on lap five. Alex Marquez of Gresini Racing MotoGP, after dominating the weekend so far, also slid out of the race but at Turn 12. Luckily for Marquez, his fourth place Qualifying 2 finish will carry over to Sunday.
The starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix:
Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team)
Alex Rins (LCR Honda CASTROL)
Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)
Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP)
Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing)
Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing)
Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing)
Joan Mir (Respol Honda Team)
Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
Miguel Oliviera (Crypto RNF MotoGP Team)
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP)
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team)
Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team)
Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3)
Stefan Bradl (Respol Honda Team)
Jonas Folger (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3)
Stay tuned in on COTA and MotoGP socials for live updates and posts from the Grand Prix tomorrow!