Marc Marquez goes wire-to-wire to win MotoGP at Austin

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In the land of Longhorns, Spanish rider Marc Marquez hooked ’em again at the Circuit of the Americas.

The reigning MotoGP world champion won for the second year in a row at the immaculate Texas road course, dusting Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, third-place Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, and everybody else in today’s Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.

A last-lap bobble going into the final corner added a brief jolt of drama, but Marquez quickly got his Honda under control and went on to the checkered flag.

He beat Pedrosa to the stripe by 4.1 seconds, while Dovizioso was a very distant third at 20.9 seconds off the pace.

“I didn’t expect to lead all the laps in the race,” Marquez said after the race to Fox Sports. “I had a good start – my first good start in MotoGP [grins] – and then I started to push…I saw that I opened a gap and while I think the show for this race was not so good, that 25 points is important.”

Pedrosa on the other hand found himself losing, by his estimation, two to three-tenths a lap to his fellow Spaniard and eventually just focused on maintaining second.

“I had no other places to recover the gap,” he said. “Every lap, I lost a little, so finally, there was a point where there was nothing to win up front…I just tried to keep my pace and get on the podium.”

Honda rider Stefan Bradl duked it out late with Yamaha rider Bradley Smith for fourth position, but the German ultimately got the better of the Englishman for that spot.

As for the two American competitors, Nicky Hayden finished just outside of the Top 10 in 11th position while “Texas Tornado” Colin Edwards was forced to retire from the race before the checkered flag.

Marquez now holds a 14 point lead in the championship over Pedrosa after two races, both of which he’s won. Valentino Rossi sits third at 22 points back after an eighth-place finish this afternoon.

MotoGP will return to action in two weeks at Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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