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MotoGP Austin: The King of COTA reigns again

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez returned to his Texan throne after dominating the 20-lap AmericasGP in Austin on Sunday afternoon.

The Catalan claimed his seventh victory of eighth visits to the Circuit of the Americas, having recorded the same number of pole positions, with the top two in the championship completing the podium as Fabio Quartararo rode to second ahead of a late-race resurgence from Pecco Bagnaia.

The final show kicked off any COTA with the winner of the previous two bouts sitting pretty in pole. Bagnaia headed the grid from Quartararo and Marquez, with the ‘King of COTA’ still a formidable force around the vast 5.5km layout despite his still not 100% recovered physical condition.


As the lights went out it was the Repsol Honda who took the lead, holding a strong advantage through the opening corner and building an immediate three-tenth gap in the opening sector. An equally rocket start placing Alex Rins up to third, from seventh, by the middle of the first lap.

Bagnaia dropped to fourth, ahead of Jorge Martin and Takaaki Nakagami as the second lap began, Quartararo remaining comfortably in second.

The Ducati battle saw Martin advance through the second sector of the second lap, as Nakagami crashed out looking for his own way through on Bagnaia at turn 12. Joan Mir circulated in sixth as the race bedded in, ahead of Brad Binder and the second Ducati duo of Jack Miller and Johann Zarco.

Miller was up to sixth next time around after a dramatic lunge took two riders in one, Enea Bastianini challenging on the edge of the top 10 behind Pol Espargaro after quickly dispatching Alex Marquez.

Rins and Martin were the next to fight, the final podium position the prize. Martin winning out midway through lap four with Mir and Binder doing likewise for seventh. Zarco was the next to succumb to the challenging track, the Frenchman falling foul of the first corner before limping his Pramac machine back to the pits.

Marquez sat half a second clear after five laps of action with Martin taking a look at Quartararo for second, the title leader immediately striking back as the Lenovo Ducatis began to bicker further back. Miller was quickly through on both Bagnaia and then Rins as lap six counted down, the Australian now just half a second down on the remaining Pramac ahead and pushing hard.

The double winner looked to be struggling as Bagnaia dropped back into the clutches of Binder with 13 laps to go, Marquez repeatedly setting fastest laps out front, as Bastianini made his way to ninth.

Andrea Dovizioso looked to be getting to grips with the Yamaha M1 as he challenged ALeix Espargaro for 12th, the Aprilia ending a difficult American visit by dropping out of the race on the next lap with his fifth crash of the weekend.

Bagnaia looked to be regrouping at the halfway stage as he promptly dispatched Rins into the sights of the second Suzuki, the Italian having run his fastest pace of the race so far on lap nine.


Valentino Rossi got the better of his fellow Yamaha Franky Morbidelli as he advanced into the points, in 15th, the Monster Energy rider dropping to 17th shortly after before he recaptured the position from Iker Lecuona.

Miller and Bagnaia began battling for position with eighth laps to go, the Australian letting his title-challenging teammate through as the Italian picked up the pace once again. Further disappointment coming for Miller as Rins swept through three laps later.

A mistake from Martin brought the gap down from two-seconds to just two-tenths with four laps to go, Bagnaia with his sights firmly on the podium as the rookie visibly began to fade. The Pramac rider being hit with a long lap penalty after being deemed to have gained advantage due to a shortcut at turns four and five.

Bagnaia was on the podium as the penultimate lap began, over four-seconds separating him from his championship rival ahead, with the same distance again out front to Marquez. Bastianini’s impressive run continued as the Avintia rider threatened Mir and Miller in the battle for sixth, the two-year-old Ducati having started the contest from 16th on the grid.
The last lap saw Marquez cruise to a commanding near five-second victory from title rivals Quartararo and Bagnaia, to recapture his King of COTA title. Celebrating with the Nicky Hayden #69 flag on the cool down lap in front of the roaring American crowd.


Rins collected fourth from Martin and the ever-impressive Bastianini with Mir, Miller, Binder and Pol Espargaro completing the top 10.

Miguel Oliveira headed Marquez, Dovizioso, Luca Marini and Rossi in the final points positions with Lecuona, Nakagami, Danilo Petrucci and Morbidelli completing the finishers.

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