MotoGP Austin: Marc Marquez dominates to take seventh COTA victory
Marc Marquez dominated the American Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas to secure his second victory of the 2021 MotoGP season.
Just as he did at the Sachsenring, Marquez proved that despite not being at 100%, he is still the king of the Texan circuit. The Repsol Honda rider took the lead at the start of the race after a perfect getaway off the line.
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He then proceeded to pull away from the field whilst the podium chasers battled each other. Marquez took the chequered flag with an advantage of 4.679s, clinching his seventh victory at the American circuit. The victory also gave Repsol Honda their 450th premier class podium.
Behind the runaway leader, Fabio Quartararo took a huge step towards the 2021 title in second. The Frenchman now holds a 52-point advantage with only three races remaining, which means he can clinch the title at Misano in two weeks' time.
His closest rival Francesco Bagnaia battled back from a poor start to take the final step on the podium. The pole sitter fell back to sixth in the opening laps and had a big task ahead of him to salvage some worthy points. Pecco made his move on Alex Rins on lap nine, before Ducati teammate Jack Miller allowed him to overtake him for fourth.
Bagnaia set his sights on Pramac Ducati's Jorge Martin and the final step of the podium. The Italian closed the gap with some ease before Martin lost the front and cut the course between turn four and five. He was given a long lap penalty as a result, promoting Bagnaia to the podium.
Rins also took advantage of Martin's penalty to finish fourth, with the latter having to settle for fifth. Fellow rookie Enea Bastianini picked up where he left off at Misano by completing the top six. Martin holds an 11-point advantage over Bastianini in the fight for the Rookie of the Year title.
Behind them, there was yet more controversy between Miller and reigning champion Joan Mir. An attempted move the Suzuki rider at turn 15 ended in the duo making contact with one another and Mir was consequently handed a one place penalty - with the pair swapping positions in the final classification. Miller was seventh, with Mir in eighth. The pair exchanged words on the cool down lap.
Brad Binder and Pol Espargaro completed the top 10, Miguel Oliveira crossing the line in 11th spot. Alex Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Luca Marini and Valentino Rossi secured the final points on offer in America.
Takaaki Nakagami crashed out of the top six at turn 12 early in the race. The LCR Honda rider remounted and finished the race in 17th. Aleix Espargaro and Johann Zarco both crashed out of the race in separate incidents.