MotoGP COTA: Enea Bastianini secures his second victory of 2022

Enea Bastianini celebrates his second win of 2022 with the Gresini Racing team
Enea Bastianini celebrates his second win of 2022 with the Gresini Racing team

Enea Bastianini has returned to the top of the MotoGP standings after clinching his second win of the season at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

The Italian came out on top in a Ducati battle, one which saw the Bologna manufacturer lockout the first five spots on the grid, and the top five positions in the race at one stage.

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As he always does, Bastianini came on strong in the final stages of the race after preserving his tyres in the heat of Austin, Texas. The Gresini Racing rider made his move with five laps remaining, flying past Jack Miller’s GP22 Ducati heading down into turn 12. Miller had led every lap up until that moment.

Bastianini immediately opened up a gap of 0.3s on the Aussie, increasing this to half a second with three laps remaining. Bastianini crossed the line to win the 500th Grand Prix and he now holds a five-point lead over Alex Rins in the championship.

“We had exactly this type of plan for the race,” Bastianini said. “In the beginning I struggled a little in the first sector, but I chose to not take too many risks and try to tail Martin. Then when Rins came from behind and we almost collided, I decided it was time to push harder. I passed Jorge and then Jack: I saw I had a little extra and I tried.

“I made a few mistakes during my first lap in the lead, but then I was able to put together a good pace. This is a fantastic win, which is the result of incredible teamwork. We can be quick on every track, even though I’m living this season like a rookie, as I see that we still have something to learn from the others on the track.”

Rins crossed the line in second to clinch his best result of the season so far. Despite starting from seventh on the grid, Rins was able to stay in touch with the dominating Ducati riders and pulled off some excellent, well-executed overtaking manoeuvres on them – despite his power disadvantage.

The Suzuki rider was strong on the brakes heading into the tight turn 11, and then proceeded to out-brake Johann Zarco into turn 12 on lap nine after the Frenchman had initially powered his way back by Rins down the straight. Rins did the same to Bastianini on the following lap, however Bastianini held his ground on the run to T12.

Undeterred, Rins got the better of Jorge Martin on lap 12 and set off with Bastianini on a mission to catch Miller. Rins had caught the Aussie by the start of the final lap, and once again used T11 to get by, but Miller used Ducati power to get by once more down the straight. Rins got a great run out of T18, and went down the inside at T19.

Job done. It’s another step forwards for Rins, who is enjoying a consistent start to the season. Rins’ results so far are 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 2nd. Things look promising heading into the European rounds.

Miller finished third to take his first podium of 2022, the 10th rider to do so in the opening four races. Joan Mir secured fourth, with Francesco Bagnaia completing the top five on his Ducati GP22.

Marc Marquez came home in sixth after producing a stunning fightback from last position at the very first corner. A technical problem at the start saw Marquez crawl from his grid position (9th) at a slow pace, almost like his pit limiter was one.

The Spaniard was left dead last, but proceeded to carve his way back through the order at a pace which was often equal to, or faster, than the leaders. There were some hairy moments along the way, notably going into turn one too quickly and almost taking out Brad Binder. Still, a late battle with Fabio Quartararo saw him hold on to sixth.

Quartararo was seventh ahead of Jorge Martin and Zarco. Maverick Vinales completed the top 10 for Aprilia, ahead of teammate Aleix Espargaro. Brad Binder came home in 12th, with Pol Espargaro 13th on the second Repsol Honda. Pol was suffering from illness all weekend after a case of food poisoning.

Takaaki Nakagami and Andrea Dovizioso secured the final two points on offer in America. Alex Marquez and rookie Marco Bezzecchi both crashed out of the race.