Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez proved why he was called the King of Texas as he took his 5th consecutive pole position and victory at the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin. Marquez overtook his teammate, Dani Pedrosa in the middle of the race in what would become the decisive move. Championship leader Maverick Viñales crashed out of the race at Turn 16, ending the perfect start to his Yamaha career. His teammate Valentino Rossi raced to a third consecutive podium finish of the season to steal the championship lead from Maverick by 6 points.
Dani Pedrosa finished 3rd after an outstanding ride to take his first podium position since he won at Misano last season. Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco were involved in a pretty heated battle towards the end of the race for 4th position which would eventually be won by the former aboard his Honda. Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati finished 6th while his former teammate, Andrea Iannone broke his poor string of results and finished the race in a strong 7th place. Danilo Petrucci finished the race in a superb 8th position, with the Italian being the third highest finishing independent rider. He was followed by Jorge Lorenzo who crashed out of the race in Argentina after making contact with Iannone. The two fought once again but Lorenzo had to relenquish the position to Iannone. Things got worse for the Spaniard when Petrucci also overtook him in the latter stages of the race, ruining all hopes of what would be a fantastic revelation ride to 7th place.
Did rossi deserve the 0.3 second penalty?
During the race while Zarco was in 4th place, he was in pursuit of Rossi in 3rd and he went very aggressive at one of the curves in Sector 1 pushing Rossi out of the track. Rossi could either go straight on, cutting the corner or crash and the 9-time World Champion chose to do the former resulting in him gaining an unfair advantage as he came out right behind Marc Marquez’s Honda. A few laps later, the race officials calculated the advantage gained by Rossi and gave him a fair 0.3 second time penalty which would be added to his time at the end of the race. Rossi wasn’t told about the penalty until the end of the race. Luckily for ‘The Doctor’ the penalty didn’t affect him much as he stormed 1.4 seconds clear off Dani Pedrosa into 2nd place. Rossi’s penalty created a minor controversy on whether or not he deserved it but the penalty stayed.
In my opinion, this shouldn’t be called a penalty as only the advantage he had unfairly gained was taken away from him but I also feel that Rossi made the right call by running wide or else it would result in a major crash. Had Pedrosa been in the 0.3 second range of Rossi, the controversy would have been much larger.
Ever since he debuted back in Qatar, Johann Zarco has been fantastic aboard his Tech 3 Yamaha briefly leading the race in Qatar after unfortunately crashing out and finishing a fantastic 5th in Argentina. Zarco added another 11 points to his total by finishing 5th once again in Austin after hard fought battles with Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow, both of which he lost. The former 2 time Moto2 World Champion is a fantastic aggressive rider and is fortunately only 26, so there is a lot more to come from him. He has been taking his Yamaha to greater heights while his teammate Jonas Folger has a lot of work to do.
I expect Zarco to be involved in a season-long war with Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa with the latter two both riding Hondas. With his aggressive style and the latest Yamaha which seems to be the best bike on the grid at the moment, Zarco can be very competitive but Crutchlow and Pedrosa won’t make things any easier for the Frenchman.
Woes continue for suzuki
At the start of the season in Qatar, Suzuki looked weaker than last season with Iannone crashing out and MotoGP rookie Alex Rins only scoring 7 points. Things got worse for them in Argentina with Rins racing with an ankle injury and Iannone’s race being ruined due to him getting a penalty for a jumpstart. Rins crashed and Iannone finished 16th and the Japanese manufacturers getting no points from the weekend. In Austin, Rins crashed out during Saturday morning practice and fractured his left wrist, ruling him out of the race. This meant that only 1 bike would race for Suzuki and fortunately for them, Iannone scored 9 points. But, all is not well for Suzuki as they are 10th in the Team’s standings with 16 points. At this stage last year, Suzuki had 21 more points than they have this year. They just don’t seem to have got the edge they had last season and that is affecting them. Whatever it is that is causing the issues, they have to solve it soon or else the other manufacturers will go far ahead in the points table.
On the other hand, Valentino Rossi leads the World Championship from his teammate Maverick Viñales by 6 points heading into the crucial European leg of the season. MotoGP returns to Jerez on 7th May, where we may see some great racing between the Movistar Yamaha riders.
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