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Austin MotoGP: Marvellous Marquez makes history with Texas win
21 April 2013
A veritable inch-perfect performance from Marc Marquez has seen him record an astonishing maiden MotoGP victory in only his second start around the new Circuit of the Americas, ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
An absorbing race that came to life with just under ten laps remaining, aside from a botched attempt at holding the lead from the first corner, Marquez put in a mature and controlled performance from start-to-finish, even during the opening half of the race as he intentionally played second-fiddle to Pedrosa.
Indeed, with Pedrosa getting his trademark lightning start from second, Marquez attempted to recover the ground by going deep into turn one, but would instead slip behind both his Repsol Honda team-mate and Stefan Bradl.
Quickly dispatching of Bradl, Marquez proceeded to spend the first half of the race shadowing Pedrosa, looking ominously comfortable as the Spanish pair put on a display of precision riding, one that would see them break the chasing pack within the opening five laps.
With a Repsol Honda victory seemingly a foregone conclusion, it remained to be seen whether Marquez's choice of a hard rear tyre – unlike the soft-shod Pedosa – would pay dividends in the critical closing stages.
The key moment came with nine laps to go when Marquez pounced unexpectedly at one of the fast left-handers, a corner that hadn't seen many successful overtakes, firing up a race that had been engrossing, rather than exciting to that stage.
With Pedrosa immediately attempting to wrest the position back, though he would settle into the role of close following chaser over the coming laps, his challenge would ultimately fade as the chequered flag loomed, allowing Marquez to cross the line a winner by almost two seconds.
A sensational effort for a rider that has dominated almost the entire weekend, Marquez's win not only comes in only his second grand prix, it sees him break Freddie Spencer's three-decade-old record to become the premier class' youngest ever winner at 20 year and 63 days.
With Qatar victor Jorge Lorenzo already resigned to the fact Yamaha could not get on terms with its Honda rivals around the new venue, the Spaniard's worst fears were realised as he circulated in a fairly lonely third place. Despite this, he remains top of the standings, albeit level with Marquez.
With the high-speed Texas circuit unable to yield the same frenetic action that distinguished the support races, a fairly spread out finishing order would see Cal Crutchlow come home in fourth position, though only after an early run-off forced him to fight his way up from sixth. That comeback would give him the satisfaction of beating Stefan Bradl, the other rider to test at the circuit prior to the event.
Following a headline-grabbing turn on his Yamaha return in Qatar, Valentino Rossi's afternoon would prove distinctly underwhelming as he grappled with evident set-up issues from start-to-finish. Eventually getting the better of Alvaro Bautista after a fierce battle during the early stages, he would finish 16 seconds off the leaders in sixth.
Behind him, Bautista would lose another place to a fighting Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati to come home seventh and eighth in favour of the Italian, while Nicky Hayden finished as the top local rider in ninth after holding off Andrea Iannone.
Outside the top ten, Aleix Espargaro carried his excellent CRT form through to the race, ceding just two of his starting positions in 11th to finish comfortably ahead of Bradley Smith and almost half a minute up on struggling Texan Ben Spies.
Randy de Puniet and Yonny Hernandez rounded out the points, though Michael Laverty deserved special recognition for battling his way up from last position to 16th on the in-house PBM chassis.
Circuit of the Americas MotoGP:
1. Marc Marquez
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Jorge Lorenzo
4. Cal Crutchlow
5. Stefan Bradl
6. Valentino Rossi
7. Andrea Dovizioso
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Andrea Iannone
11. Aleix Espargaro
12. Bradley Smith
13. Ben Spies
14. Randy De Puniet
15. Yonny Hernandez
16. Michael Laverty
17. Hiroshi Aoyama
18. Hector Barbera
19. Claudio Corti
20. Bryan Staring
21. Blake Young