A crash for Honda’s Marc Marquez threw open the Americas GP as Suzuki’s Alex Rins took his first MotoGP victory from Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.
Honda’s Marc Marquez started well from pole at Circuit of the Americas in Americas MotoGP race with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi staying on with him in the opening sequence from LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow and Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller.
Suzuki’s Alex Rins made a superb start to be fifth from another fast-starter Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who gained seven places after starting in 13th. Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales was seventh with Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli in eighth.
While Marquez led the way, Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo dropped places to be 13th after the opening lap. It soon settled down at the front with Marquez leading at ease while Rossi fended off the likes of Crutchlow, Miller and Rins.
But Crutchlow crashed at Turn 11 while Rins cleared Miller to move into third position. Behind, there was drama for Vinales and Mir as both were handed a ride-through penalty foe a jump start – in more trouble, Vinales mistakenly attempted a Long Gap Penalty.
The Yamaha rider was livid with himself for taking that penalty which dropped him way down the order. Meanwhile, the fight for second started to intensify as Rossi defended hard from Rins, Miller, Morbidelli and Dovizioso in the Top 6.
While they battled through, the grand prix turned upside down when Marquez crashed in Turn 12 as he slid across the run-off and tried hard to re-start the bike but to no avail. It put Rossi in the lead with only Rins to fend off as the Top 2 pulled away from the pack.
It was Miller in third with Dovizioso getting past Morbidelli for fourth as Danilo Petrucci moved to sixth ahead of Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Fabio Quartararo as KTM’s Pol Esparagaro, Pramac’s Francesco Bagania and Aprilia’s Andrea Iannone completed the Top 10.
Moments after Marquez’s crash, Honda’s day went from bad to worse with Lorenzo retiring in the same corner with mechanical issues. Meanwhile, the fight between Rossi and Rins intensified as the Suzuki rider started to pile on the pressure on the Yamaha rider.
After laps of trying, Rins finally made the move to take the lead with four laps remaining. Rossi fought back but went wide for Rins to re-take the top position and see-through the final laps to score his first MotoGP victory since he made his premier class debut in 2017.
It is also Suzuki’s first win since the 2016 British GP. Rossi had to settle for second as he still searches for his first MotoGP win since the 2017 Dutch GP. At some distance was Miller, who completed the Americas GP podium as he fended off Dovizioso in the end laps.
The Australian scored his first podium since his victory in 2016 Dutch GP. Even though Dovizioso couldn’t get Miller but fourth place helped him to take a three points lead in the riders’ standings from Rossi. Morbidelli came through to fifth with Petrucci in sixth.
Quartararo finished seventh with Espargaro, Bagnaia and LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami rounded out the Top 10 with the Japanese rider the sole Honda to finish. He passed Iannone in the end stages with the Italian losing out to a recovering Vinales as well.
The Spaniard could only climb back to 11th as Iannone in 12th led KTM’s Johann Zarco, who had a race-long squabble with Tech 3 KTM’s Miguel Oliveira. The Portuguese got ahead of the Frenchman but the factory KTM rider fought back to take 13th.
Avintia Ducati’s Tito Rabat rounded out the points scoring positions with his teammate Karel Abraham missing out by 0.117s in 16th. The other Suzuki of Mir was 17th after serving his penalty with Tech 3 KTM’s Hafizh Syahrin 18th.
DNF: Lorenzo, Marquez, Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaro.