MotoGP – Marc Marquez wins second race of the season at COTA as Quartararo extends Championship lead

Marc Marquez rode faultlessly to win the Grand Prix of the Americas for the seventh time whilst Fabio Quartararo extended his Championship lead to 52 points to third-place finisher Francesco Bagnaia.

Marquez started the race in third but gained the lead owing to a tremendous start and taking the inside line at the first corner. The Repsol Honda rider was kept honest by Quartararo through the first half of the race before Marquez extended the gap to comfortably finish 4.679 seconds in front of Quartararo, who himself was unchallenged throughout the race.

Marquez followed his pre-race plan to perfection, telling Autosport: “My plan was to try to lead the race from the beginning because the first laps were my weak points.

“Then I tried to slow the race from the first four or five laps, and then when I felt OK, I just pushed.”

Jorge Martin ran in third place for much of the race, with Bagnaia seemingly unable to catch the Spanish rider until Lap 17 where Martin ran wide in the first sector. Martin was given a long-lap penalty as he was judged to not have slowed enough, gaining an advantage.

Bagnaia overtook and claimed the final podium place before Martin served his penalty, however Martin took too long to serve his long-lap penalty, allowing Alex Rins to claim fourth place.  

Jack Miller was the early pace setter, climbing to fourth from his fourth row starting position. Miller enacted team orders, allowing his teammate and Championship contender Bagnaia through before Miller’s pace dropped dramatically.

Miller and Joan Mir were involved in a last-lap scrap, with the latter making contact and pushing an irate Miller wide. This resulted in Enea Bastianini riding through the battle and claiming sixth, following on from the rookie’s maiden podium in the last race at Misano. Mir was handed a one-place penalty for his misdemeanour.

“I don’t understand it [the penalty] because if all races are like this you don’t overtake”, Mir said.

Virtue of his second-place finish, Quartararo can seal his first Championship if he wins the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.      

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