MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas: Rins Crowned Victorious on Texas Turf, Bagnaia Falls Again
LCR Honda pilot, Alex Rins secured a dominant victory on Texas turf in the Americas GP, while Francesco Bagnaia made his second major mistake of 2023 crashing out of the lead.
At lights out, it was pole-sitter and defending champion, Francesco Bagnaia who led the way into the tight turn 1, Alex Rins and Marco Bezzecchi slotted into second and third.
A bunched-up opening few corners saw Jorge Martin collect Alex Marquez in a front-end losing incident. More opening lap drama unfolded as Aprilia man, Aleix Espargaro crashed out, becoming the third rider out in only the first lap.
It was an astonishing opening lap of the race for Jack Miller, who fought his way through seven places to cross the line in third at the end of lap 1.
Bagnaia remained at the front by just under 0.6 seconds, with Rins chasing down the lead and slowly eating away the gap to the lead.
Lap three saw KTM’s Jack Miller adjust into some smooth form, setting the fastest lap of the race and demonstrating some solid pace while maintaining third position.
As the race progressed, Bagnaia was struggling to break free from a victory-hungry Rins, the LCR Honda rider continued to apply pressure to his rival in red.
Positioning at the front remained consistent with 16 laps to go, as Marini back in fifth had pulled away from an early race battle with teammate, Bezzecchi now sat in sixth.
On lap 6, Frenchman, Johann Zarco was grouped with Maverick Viñales and Miguel Olivera for a three-way battle for seventh. Meanwhile, up the road, Rins had attached himself firmly to the back end of Bagnaia’s GP23 machine, looking eager to attempt an overtake with 15 laps to go.
Disaster struck in the KTM camp on lap seven, with Miller crashing out from podium contention after a blistering start to the Grand Prix. The Aussie’s mistake saw Quartararo enter into third with Marini now hot on his heels, chasing down a potential podium finish.
13 laps to go and Bagnaia crosses the line, still maintaining a lead over Rins. Hearts sank just two corners later, with the Italian falling victim to his second major mistake of the season, his race-winning hopes went tumbling with him into the gravel.
With the race favourite down and out at half-race distance, Quartararo and Marini were engaged in a battle for second, while Joan Mir falls from tenth place.
The gap separating Quartararo and Rins was now down to 2.1 seconds, as the front runners edged past half-race distance. The Frenchman was showing promising pace as the second half of the race got underway.
Downfield, Oliveira poached a position from Zarco to into the top six, while Brad Binder tops off KTM’s disastrous race day, crashing out before remounting.
The fallers continued on lap 12, with Taka Nakagami hitting the deck, only 14 race runners remained.
Back at the front, the gap to second was now down to just under two seconds, while Franko Morbidelli, Fabio Di Giannantonio and Augusto Fernandez rounded out the top ten.
Bezzecchi remained in fourth place come lap 13, 3.6 seconds behind VR46 teammate and podium contender, Marini.
It was a demonstration of power delivery between the Yamaha of Quartararo and the Ducati of Marini down the back straight with eight laps remaining. Quartararo, like a sitting duck, lost second position to his Italian rival, in a helpless fashion.
With Marini now charging in second, the gap to the front was decreased down to 1.6 seconds, before Marini’s pace was responded to by Rins, who had increased the lead back up to 2.5 seconds with six to go.
Rins, 5 laps away from a dominant victory on USA soil, was maintaining a sizable lead at the front. Meanwhile, a 0.6-second gap separated Marini and Quartararo.
All remained the same up front, with Rins continuing his faultless performance to edge closer to victory. Towards the final laps, it was Viñales who stood out as possessing fantastic late-race pace, the Aprilia rider set his fastest lap on 17-lap old tyres in fourth.
With two laps to go, Rins had increased the gap to 2.9 seconds and had one hand on the Texas winner’s trophy, but Marini was still riding on rails back in second.
The gap increased to 3.2 seconds on the final lap, the LCR Honda man had done enough to come out on top by a country mile as the chequered flag was waved on his 20-lap ride to victory. Marini took second place at the flag, followed by Quartararo, claiming his first podium finish of the year.
The two Aprilia riders of Viñales and Oliveira came in fourth and fifth, followed by the Ducati’s of Bezzecchi and Zarco in sixth and seventh.
Morbidelli, Di Giannantonio and Fernandez rounded off the top ten across the line, with Michele Pirro, Jonas Folger and faller Brad Binder making up the remaining of the 13-rider order.
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