Enea Bastianini took the lead from Jack Miller with five laps remaining in the United States MotoGP Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas and held on to become only the third different winner in nine editions of the event.
After failing to score a single podium in his rookie season of 2021, Bastianini got this year’s campaign off to a great start with a win in Qatar before earning minimal points in the next two rounds with an 11th-place finish in the Grand Prix of Indonesia and a10th in Argentina.
With his second win of the season, Bastianini reclaimed the points lead over Alex Rins, who finished second in the United State Grand Prix and who entered the event as the only rider other than Marc Marquez to win at COTA previous to this weekend. Bastianini regularly improves as races progress and after taking the top spot during Lap 12, he steadily built his advantage until he was two seconds ahead of the battle for second on the final lap.
“The feeling is amazing because it was a really hard race,” Bastianini said afterward. “It was important to stay soft and ride relaxed in the first part of the race to save a little bit of the body and the tire. When I saw Rins so close to me, I understood it was time to push and go to the front.”
On that last trip around the circuit, Rins slipped past Miller.
While the three podium finishers put on a great show at the front of the pack, most eyes were locked on Marquez as he returned after missing two races to injury.
A mechanical gremlin caused Marquez to stutter from the launch and he watched as riders blasted by on either side. He was the last rider in the field entering Turn 1.
Marquez completed that lap 18th and gave the leaders a five-second advantage. As he meticulously worked his way through the field, Marquez would lose only one additional second to the leaders as he passed 12 more riders and finished sixth.
Marquez and fantastic comebacks go hand in hand 🤝
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Marquez felt he clearly had race-winning pace.
“I am disappointed, of course, because the speed was there,” Marquez said. “I started from the back, but 25 points today were possible. … We finished sixth, so the speed was there. I leave here with higher confidence, so that is most important.”
MotoGP awards 25 points to the race winner.
Defending champion Fabio Quartararo finished seventh.
“To be honest, I gave 100 percent all of the time, but unfortunately this was the best I could get today,” Quartararo said. “From the first races, I’m getting a little deficit of power. Today, I fought with what I had and gave it all. Even if it’s P7, I am happy – not about the result, but about the race.
“I fought like it was for the victory.”
Quartararo is currently fifth in the standings, 17 points behind Bastianini.
In Moto2, American Cameron Beaubier gave his countrymen a reason to cheer. He won the pole, but fell back to seventh by Lap 3. Beaubier was climbing back toward the front and had a podium finish in site before he crashed on Lap 17 and failed to finish.
Joe Roberts started 16th and worked his way to eighth at checkers. Roberts has earned points in all four rounds this season and sits ninth in the standings. He is 46 points behind leader Celestino Vietti.
The only other American in the field, Sean Dylan Kelly finished 17th, the last rider to compete the distance.
Tony Arbolino beat Ai Ogura to the line by 3.4 seconds, but the feel-good ride of the day belonged to Great Britain’s Jake Dixon, who earned his first career Moto2 podium in third.