Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) scored an awesome first victory of 2018 in bright Texan sunshine today, moving himself into second position in the World Championship. Honda’s second victory of the year also extended the company’s advantage in the Constructors World Championship.
Marquez’s success was the 25-year-old Spaniard’s 12th consecutive win on American asphalt, which comprise six successive MotoGP victories at COTA, three at Indianapolis, one at Laguna Seca and two Moto2 wins at Indy. It was also his 36th premier-class win, which puts him one success behind Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood and two behind Repsol Honda’s 2011 MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner. Fittingly, today’s race was the number 93 rider’s 93rd MotoGP start.
This was another perfect display from the reigning World Champion who started from the second row of the grid, took the lead on the first lap and was never troubled by his rivals, none of whom could match his own talent or the performance of his Honda RC213V around this most challenging of circuits. With two of the 20 laps to go he was almost eight seconds clear of nearest-challenger Andrea Iannone, before easing his pace on the final lap to cross the line 3.560 seconds ahead.
During his victory lap Marquez carried a number 69 flag to pay tribute to Honda’s 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, who last year lost his life in a cycling accident.
If Marquez’s latest success was heroic, so was the performance of team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) who two weeks ago broke his right wrist in an accident that wasn’t his fault. The 32-year-old former 125cc and 250cc World Champion underwent surgery in Spain and many people expected him to miss this weekend’s race, so he could get fully fit for the subsequent Spanish GP. However, at the last minute Pedrosa decided to travel to the US and at least attempt to ride. Today, he did much, much more than that, spending much of the race in the group battling for fifth place. At the finish he was seventh, a truly remarkable ride and result.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) went into today’s race leading the MotoGP World Championship after an excellent victory in Argentina on April 8. The 32-year-old Briton was going well, in the middle of an enthralling contest for fifth place, until he slid off at turn 12. He bravely remounted to finish in 19th position
MotoGP rookie and former Moto2 winner Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) had another great day. The 26-year-old from Chiba finished 14th and top rookie, after a very well-ridden race.
Honda’s other two rookies had a more challenging afternoon at COTA, which is arguably the most complex MotoGP track of them all, with 20 corners per lap, or 400 during a 20-lap race! Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) finished the race in 18th, three places out of the points, while Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) finished 21st, outside the points for the first time in his MotoGP career, following promising rides to 12th and 14th at the first two races.
Following 2018’s season-opening three flyaway races in Qatar, Argentina and the USA, the MotoGP paddock packs up and heads to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on May 6.