Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez dominated Sunday’s Grand Prix of the Americas, building a big gap between himself and the field early and winning the race by six seconds.
The 23-year-old Spaniard has won all four MotoGP races at Circuit of the Americas since it’s inaugural season (and his rookie season) in 2013.
COTA is the only North American track on the schedule after Indianapolis Motor Speedway was removed following last season. At Indy, Marquez claimed wins in three of his four premier class visits.
Leading up to Sunday’s race, Marquez topped the charts in all four free practice sessions and qualifying. All of his wins at COTA come from pole position starts.
In the three races this season, Marquez has claimed victories in the last two and placed third in the season opener at Qatar, launching him to a 21 point lead in the championship over Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. His comfortable lead is due in part to being the only factory Honda, Yamaha or Ducati rider not to have crashed out of any of the three races thus far this season.
His easy win may have been partly influenced by an early Valentino Rossi low side, followed by a hard wreck between Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Lorenzo appeared to be the only rider with anything for Marquez, but even his clean race couldn’t put him in contention for the win. The Movistar Yamaha rider may have elected to accept the second position and avoid pushing his bike too hard after crashing out of last weekend’s grand prix in Argentina.
Ducati’s Andrea Iannone finished third, eleven seconds behind Marquez, with a comfortable seven-second gap to fourth place finisher Maverick Vinales. Iannone also improved heavily on crashes in the first two races, particularly last week’s final turn slide that took himself and Ducati teammate Dovizioso out of the race. Worth noting is that Dovizioso’s crash this week was due to competitor error as well.
Fifth went to Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro, who engaged in close action with teammate Vinales from Lap 6 to the checkered flag.
The series heads to Jerez, Spain in a few weeks, yet it goes without saying that Marquez would like an extended Western Hemisphere swing in the schedule.