The ‘Beast’ wins #GP500, Rins makes some Suzuki history and Miller takes his first rostrum of the season… as Marquez steals some headlines with 24th to sixth
Monday, 11 April 2022
Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) is now a two-time MotoGP™ race winner! The Beast delivered a Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas masterclass to retake the World Championship lead heading to Europe, taking Ducati’s first win at the venue and staking his claim on a serious charge for the crown. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) scrapped it out on the last lap for second, with the Suzuki rider coming out on top with a late lunge – and thus securing Suzuki’s 500th podium. Miller, nevertheless, took his first rostrum of the season.
Behind the fight for the win, there was also an almighty comeback ride from Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)…
As the lights went out, Miller got the best start of the leading Ducati trio on the front row and grabbed the holeshot ahead of Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), but thus began the drama for the number 93. The eight-time World Champion suffered an issue off the line, plummeting through the order to the very back of the field. He got going, and then the race was on.
Up ahead, Bastianini got the better Bagnaia for P3 on Lap 1 as Martin lunged for the lead at the penultimate corner. Miller instantly retaliated though and it was the Australian who held the race lead baton on Lap 2. It was a Ducati 1-2-3-4-5, with Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) scrapping away with Pecco for P4, followed by Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Rins and Joan Mir in P6, P7 and P8 behind the Desmosedici quintet.
By Lap 5 meanwhile, Marc Marquez had climbed his way up to 13th. Lap 7 saw him pass teammate Pol Espargaro at Turn 12 and in doing so, the number 93 was inside the top 10 – 0.6s off Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) in eighth and just five seconds off the lead.
Further up the road, Rins had pounced on Pecco and the Ducati stranglehold had been breached on Lap 6. Rins was an absolute demon on brakes into Turn 11 and the Spaniard picked off Zarco on Lap 9, crucially holding the Frenchman at bay coming out of Turn 12 too. Rins then latched himself onto the coattails of third place Bastianini, diving up the inside of the ‘Beast’ at Turn 11 on the next lap but Bastianini able to power back past.
Meanwhile, Marc Marquez had picked off Aleix Espargaro and had Quartararo next on his list as the number 93 set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 11 of 20.
Lap 12 saw Bastianini slice past Martin into second at Turn 1, and Rins followed Bestia through and into third. Up ahead, Miller had opened up a 0.7s lead as the Australian pushed on doing the leg work of leading, with Bagnaia, Mir and Zarco battling it out as the top nine riders down to Marc Marquez were split by five seconds – and the latter, once again, set the fastest lap of the race.
It was all happening. Lap 14 saw Quartararo push his way past countryman Zarco as the number 5 dropped backwards, and Marc Marquez then passed Quartararo on the back straight as, up ahead, both Mir and Pecco made their way through on Martin. Bastianini, in second, then set the best lap of the race as Miller’s lead was cut to 0.3s, the race for the win very much on. The top two also had 1.4s in hand to Rins, who in turn had 1.3s to teammate Mir. Could the Suzukis bridge the gap?
With five laps to go, it looked like it was only a matter of time before Bastianini took the lead off Miller. Sure enough, ducking into the slipstream of the Australian, Bastianini then sliced up the inside of the number 43, hitting the front at Turn 12.
How would Miller respond? Bastianini eked out about three tenths and with three laps to go, the gap was half a second. From there, it only grew – and Rins was closing in fast, too. The Suzuki was now 0.7s behind Miller, Mir was a further second down the road, Bagnaia 0.8s off Mir, and Marquez and Quartararo were getting their gloves off as they shoved Martin down to P8.
Starting the final lap, Bastianini had 1.6s in his pocket and it seemed his to lose. Miller was now on defence duty against a charging Rins, with Mir not too far off the podium fight either. Bagnaia was in a lonelier fifth, and Marquez vs Quartararo was a sensation in the battle for sixth.
For second, the fight started at Turn 11 as the Suzuki got by, but Miller got his Ducati hooked up on the straight and the Aussie was back into P2. Rins then got a great run out of Turn 18, and at Turn 19, the number 42 went for it and dived up the inside. Stopped and turned to perfection, there was no way back for Miller and that was that: Bastianini a MotoGP™ race winner once more, Rins taking second and making that history for Suzuki, and Miller forced to settle for third but still taking a first podium of the season.
Mir’s podium attack didn’t quite come to fruition in the end but it’s a second consecutive P4 for the 2020 World Champion, with Bagnaia also taking a second successive result, his of fifth. And then came Marquez…
From 24th to sixth was a truly stunning comeback, enough even without threatening the podium for it to be a serious warning shot for the rest. Quartararo gave it some elbows to try and deny the number 93 though, taking P7 in the end but the top Iwata machine by some margin.
Martin slipped to P8 as the Pramac duo struggled in the second half of the race, with Zarco just behind in P9. Maverick Viñales got the better of Aprilia Racing teammate Aleix Espargaro as the Aprilias pick up P10 and P11 from P13 and P14 on the grid, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) coming home in P12 on a difficult weekend for KTM.
A fatigued and under the weather Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) saw the chequered flag in P13, just ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) crossed the line in P15 but was demoted one place, handing Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) the final point.
Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) crashed out, the former headed to the medical centre for a check-up and was declared fit.
What a way to celebrate 500 GPs of racing together, with Bastianini putting on a show to remember at the Circuit of the Americas. The Beast is back on top and in winning race #GP500, joins Cal Crutchlow (400th), Casey Stoner (300th), Valentino Rossi (200th), Kenny Roberts Jr (100th) and Mick Doohan, the first winner of the era back in 1992, with a nice little milestone.
Now the stunning Autodromo Internacional do Algarve awaits, with a very different looking Championship table to the one on MotoGP™’s last visit. What will the rollercoaster bring? Find out in two weeks!
Also the MotoGP™ podium
1 Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) – Ducati – 41’23.111
2 Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – Suzuki – +2.058
3 Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – +2.312
Enea Bastianini: “Fantastic day! It has been really hard this race. The first part of the race Miller put a very fast pace, but then during the middle of the race when I saw Rins very close to me trying to overtake me many times I decided it was time to push for the front because also the temperature of the front tyre was too high. In the end I pushed like a bastard. It’s incredible to win here in America it’s a fantastic track, fantastic people and now it’s time to eat some hamburgers.!”
Arbolino takes maiden Moto2™ victory in Austin, Vietti and Canet crash out
Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) kept it calm under pressure at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, the Italian pulling clear to take his first Moto2™ win in some style. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) charged through to second for his first back-to-back Moto2™ podiums, with another first in third: Jake Dixon (Shimoko GASGAS Aspar Team) gets his first rostrum finish in Grand Prix racing, battling Ogura and eventually taking P3.
Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), who retains that moniker, crashed out early, and then his closest rival at the time, Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40) also crashed out in a dramatic Americas GP.
Polemen Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) got off the line well but was denied the holeshot by a Vietti divebomb, and Canet and Arbolino then pushed the hometown hero back to P4 as the podium battle began to take shape. There was drama elsewhere early on too, first with a multi-rider crash involving, amongst others, Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) as he made contact with Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), before Fermin Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up) also headed into Turn 12 too hot. Gabriel Rodrigo (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Zonta van den Goorbergh (RW Racing GP) were both caught up, riders all ok. Chantra was given a Long Lap for Portugal for the incident.
The drama continued through to Lap 2, with Canet losing and then taking P2 back from Arbolino, before the Spaniard began to set his sights on the lead. The deficit between first and second had narrowed to just a couple tenths and the lead soon changed hands at Turn 9, with Canet taking charge of the race and Vietti slipping to second. Then, just a couple of corners later at 11, a Beaubier error allowed a host of riders through as he dropped to eighth.
The American wasn’t the only rider struggling to keep himself upright at COTA, with Simone Corsi (MV Augusta Forward Racing) the next rider to crash out at Turn 14, before Pedro Acosta’s (Red Bull KTM Ajo excellent race start, P10 to P5, was in vain, as he slid out of the race and the top five at Turn 6 – riders OK.
Turn 6 then claimed another victim, this time in the form of Championship leader and race contender Vietti. It meant Arbolino and Dixon moved into the top three, and handed a comfortable advantage to new race leader Canet, but it didn’t last long. The Flexbox HP40 rider seemed to be cruising to a win before disaster struck on the eighth lap, losing the front end of his Kalex at Turn 7 to throw another twist in the tale of a fascinating Moto2™ race in Texas. As a result, three riders were thrust into victory contention, Arbolino leading Dixon and Ogura, but a classy performance from a cool and composed Tiger Tony ensured he opened up an unassailable lead over the next few laps.
Lap 12 then saw the order of the podium decided, with Ogura taking over from Dixon at Turn 12. Luckily for the Briton, he had built up enough of an advantage over Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) and Beaubier that he just had to keep it steady to claim his first-ever Grand Prix podium.
Arblolino crossed the line in some clear air for an impressive first Moto2™ win, extending the advantage lap by lap to taste Prosecco in the intermediate class for the first time. Ogura kept second despite a late nibble from Dixon on the penultimate lap, with the number 96 choosing calm and that first ever Grand Prix finish.
For poleman Beaubier, what started out as a dream home race then sadly turned into a nightmare, as he cost himself a P4 finish and 13 valuable Championship points on the final lap, sliding out and handing Schrötter a first top four finish since the Valencia GP in 2020.
Jorge Navarro recovered from a Long Lap Penalty to take a top five finish while Jeremy Alcoba made it two Liqui Moly intact riders inside the top six for his best rookie results so far. Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) were next up, Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) going from P18 to P9.
A fine ride from Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP) saw him round out the top 10 ahead of Albert Arenas (Shimoko GASGAS Aspar Team) and Marcos Ramirez (MV Augusta Forward Racing). Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team), Filip Salač (Gresini Racing Moto2™) and Romano Fenati (MB Conveyors Speed Up) complete the points finishers.
The Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas certainly delivered Moto2™ drama by the bucketload in Austin, and next up for the intermediate class is a date at the Autodromo do Algarve in two weeks’ time. Join us then for more!
1 Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) – Kalex – 39’06.552
2 Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) – Kalex – +3.439
3 Jake Dixon (Shimoko GASGAS Aspar Team) – Kalex – +4.787
Tony Arbolino: “I want to show my eyes to prove the words are real. I worked a lot man, I worked a lot. Since Moto3 I was already feeling I could do the first year the Championship in the Moto2 class. Honestly, I worked so hard. I didn’t sleep during the night because I was thinking of this moment, this is what brought me here. I swear on my life, this is an incredible feeling. I want to keep going, keep having fun. I have an amazing team, amazing crew, amazing people that work during the night for me so it’s incredible. This is a win man!”
Masia back on top after classic Moto3™ finish at COTA
For the first time since the 2021 Qatar GP, Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is a race winner after coming out on top of a classic Moto3™ battle at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) takes the World Championship lead and with some margin after a second place finish, the Italian beating compatriot Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) to the second step on the podium. Former points leader Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) suffered a DNF, with his place in the standings taking a dent.
Polesitter Migno was able to hold onto P1 as the lightweight class field piled into Turn 1, but Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) was soon the race leader, the Turk through with an aggressive move at Turn 7. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), after contact on the home straight with Öncü, took over in the lead on Lap 2 though, and there was big progress for Garcia as he picked his way through to P8 from P15 on the grid. Foggia was going in the wrong direction early doors, meanwhile, the Italian had been shuffled down to P10.
Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) took his turn leading for a couple of laps, but then came the drama for Garcia. On Lap 6 at the exit of Turn 13, there was contact between the Spaniard and compatriot Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Garcia was down and out of the running for points, as Holgado himself then tucked the front at Turn 20. Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), after jumping the start, had to take two Long Lap penalties.
A lead group of seven had formed at the front: Masia now led from Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max), Öncü, Moreira, Artigas, Foggia and Migno with nine laps to go. With seven to go, Foggia hit the front for the first time, but a lap later, Masia was back through.
With five to go though it was a costly Turn 12 for Foggia, the Italian shuffled down to P4 behind Masia, Migno and Sasaki after running slightly wide. It was all to play for with two laps to go in Austin, the top seven all locked together.
Heading onto the last lap, Moreira highsided out – unhurt – at the final corner, as Masia and Migno scrapped for the lead. Foggia was P3, Sasaki P4, Öncü P5 – it was between these five riders for victory. Migno led onto the back straight but Masia grabbed a nice slipstream and made a move stick into Turn 12.
It was advantage Masia heading into the final sector, and Migno dived up the inside at the penultimate corner but went wide, allowing both Masia and Foggia through. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider made no mistake at the final corner and took victory ahead of Foggia and Migno, with Sasaki missing out on a podium by 0.096s in P4.
Öncü was in the fight for victory throughout but just lost touch on the last lap and the Turkish rider came home in P5. Artigas also lost touch in the closing stages, the Spaniard finished P6 ahead of Guevara, who did well to recover to P7 from his two Long Lap penalties. Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP), Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) rounded out the top 10.
Rookies Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) and Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team) produced great rides to pick up P11 and P12 on their first visits to COTA, the duo finished ahead of Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team), Adrian Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and the final point scorer Lorenzo Fellon (SIC58 Squadra Corse) – that’s the Frenchman’s first World Championship point.
With Garcia eventually retiring after his crash, Foggia takes a 16-point lead to Portimão as the European leg of the season now appears on the horizon. And the Portuguese venue is one we’ve seen the Italian master. Will he extend his lead next time out?
1 Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – KTM – 38’58.286
2 Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) – Honda – +0.172
3 Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) – Honda – +0.394
Jaume Masia: “It’s amazing this feeling. Winning is always incredible. It’s the best taste you can ever feel. Really good weekend working. The beginning of the season has been really unlucky I have crashed two times neither my fault. So, two races I’ve finished, and one I could win, so I hope to finish more races like this.”
Shedden does the double as the North America Talent Cup begins at COTA
The North America Talent Cup started this weekend alongside the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, and it’s Jesse James Shedden who leaves with a full 50 points after doing the double.
The all-new NATC has the goal of giving riders from North America a new opportunity to further their careers, designed to become a stepping stone between lower level regional championships and FIM JuniorGP™ World Championship paddock, Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, and/or the MotoAmerica championship series. The NATC is a Cup for teams and riders, using the incredibly successful European Talent Cup as a blueprint. The limit on entries is 20 riders aged between 13 and 16 in 2022, with all racing on equal Aprilia RS250SP2 machinery.
At the opener, Shedden proved the star of the show but there were some close fights for the podium. In Race 1, Aiden Sneed got the better of Alessandro Di Mario at the final corner, and on Sunday it was another close fight. This time, Alexander Enriquez pipped Di Mario to second (pictured above). Check out more about the NATC here!