MotoGP COTA: Alex Rins secures Honda's first victory in 539 days as Pecco Bagnaia crashes out

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Alex Rins claimed his maiden victory for LCR Honda in Sunday’s Americas Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas after reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia crashed out of the race.

A chaotic race saw 11 riders crash out of contention, with Bagnaia tucking the front and crashing out of the lead for the second consecutive Grand Prix. Rins, who had been fast all weekend, took full advantage to take his second premier class victory at COTA.

539 days and 24 Grand Prix had passed since Honda last celebrated victory in MotoGP; Marc Marquez’s success at the 2021 Emilia Romagna GP at Misano. As Rins rides for LCR Honda, HRC’s factory team, Repsol Honda’s barren run continues.

Alex Rins crosses the line to win at COTA

As for LCR Honda, Rins’ victory was the team’s first since Cal Crutchlow’s win at the 2018 Argentina GP. It’s also Lucio Cecchinello’s team’s 100th podium within the GP paddock.

Rins now has three GP wins in the last six races, two for Suzuki and one for Honda, and sits third in the championship with 47 points from the opening three rounds of 2023.

Luca Marini claimed his maiden GP race podium in second (Marini podiumed in the sprint race in Argentina), whilst Fabio Quartararo turned his fortunes around to secure the final podium position in third. It’s the Frenchman’s first podium since Sepang last season.

Maverick Vinales fought back from a slow start to finish fourth ahead of fellow Aprilia rider Miguel Oliveira, whilst championship leader Marco Bezzecchi was sixth. Bezzecchi now holds an 11-point advantage over Bagnaia following the latter’s crash.

Luca Marini celebrates his maiden MotoGP podium at COTA

Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli were seventh and eighth respectively, whilst Fabio Di Giannantonio and rookie Augusto Fernandez completed the top 10. It’s Fernandez’s first top 10 result in the premier class.

Michele Pirro, Jonas Folger and Brad Binder were the final riders to cross the line, with just 13 riders staying onboard their MotoGP machines. Binder had been battling for a top six position but crashed out of contention at turn 15.

Elsewhere, Binder’s KTM teammate Jack Miller crashed out of third position, whilst Joan Mir’s tough start to life as a Repsol Honda rider continued when he fell off his RC213V. Fellow Honda riders Takaaki Nakagami and Stefan Bradl also crashed out of the race.

A fall for Jack Miller at COTA

Raul Fernandez retired from the race, whilst Aleix Espargaro crashed out on the opening lap at turn 12. Reports suggest that the crash was caused by a faulty holeshot device on his Aprilia RS-GP – an issue which may have triggered Raul Fernandez’s DNF as well.

Alex Marquez and Jorge Martin also failed to complete the first lap after the latter tucked the front at turn three and took Marquez out with him. It summed up a rough weekend for both riders, with both Marquez and Martin being unwell in America.

The fourth round of the 2023 MotoGP season takes place at Jerez on April 28-30.

  • Pedro Acosta won the Moto2 race after a brilliant battle with championship leader Tony Arbolino.
  • Ivan Ortola was victorious in Moto3 after an eventful outing. Ortola pulled off a sensational save early on, before recovering from 20th position to take his maiden victory.