Honda’s Marc Marquez has cruised to his fifth-consecutive victory at the COTA track in Austin, after the Spaniard overcame a small tussle with Repsol teammate Dani Pedrosa, which gives Marquez his maiden win of the 2017 season. Valentino Rossi completed an incredible late charge to take an amazing second position with the vain Pedrosa completing the podium in third.
It was Pedrosa, who stole the holeshot into the steep turn one, taking the race lead from teammate Marquez, with the Yamaha duo of Rossi and Maverick Vinales stalking the two Respol Honda machines in third and fourth.
Vinales, who was aiming to win his third consecutive race in 2017, fell out of contention with 18 laps to go, as his Yamaha strangely slid out at turn 18, leaving the Spaniard with his first DNF since Argentina in 2016.
With Vinales crashing out, this left Rossi alone with the Honda duo at the head of the field, while Marquez was making several unsuccessful attempts at overtaking his teammate.
Marquez made his move on lap eight, where he finally made a move stick, however his gallant teammate stuck close behind in the hope of forcing a mistake from his compatriot.
By the end of lap 14, Marquez put the hammer down and began drawing away from his diminishing teammate, opening up a one second advantage within one lap. The Spaniard continued to extend his lead as the laps ticked away and with a 5 second gap out front, Marquez romped to his first victory of the 2017 season, keeping his 100% USA race record intact.
With Pedrosa’s tyres beginning to wear away, Rossi soon found himself within striking distance of the Honda rider with a mere three laps remaining. The Italian however was handed a 0.3-time penalty for gaining an advantage at turn 3 earlier in the race where he was forced off track by Frenchman Johann Zarco.
The penalty did not seem to influence the Yamaha rider as he easily made his way past Pedrosa and instantly began opening a gap. With the gap being well over two seconds as the “Doctor” took the final corner, he cruised to the line to take a valuable second position and move to the top of the Championship standing six points ahead of his stricken teammate.
While the cameras were focused on the fight for second, an entertaining battle was ensuing for fourth position between Cal Crutchlow and Zarco. After a sequence of brilliant overtakes, Crutchlow made the decisive move on the final lap, edging his way past the gallant Tech 3 rider, crossing the line in fourth and taking the top independent rider award.
Andrea Dovizioso took the chequered flag as top Ducati in sixth, with former teammate Andrea Iannone racking up his first points of the season with a solid seventh. Danilo Petrucci finished a creditable eighth, while Jorge Lorenzo crossed the line a disappointing seventh having been within the top five for most of the race.
Jack Miller completed the top ten, ahead of Jonas Folger, Scott Redding, Tito Rabat, Hector Barbera and Alvaro Bautista, who rounded out the rest of the point scorers.