MotoGP 2021
Round 15

Marquez Rides to Majestic Second Win of 2021

us Circuit Of The Americas

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) was untouchable today as he raced to a dominant start-to-finish victory at the Circuit of the Americas for his second win of 2021.

Marquez Rides to Majestic Second Win of 2021

Yesterday Honda’s six-times MotoGP World Champion secured his first front-row start since his comeback from a nine-month layoff through injury and he took full advantage of that to grab the lead in the rush to the first corner.

From there the 28-year-old Spaniard controlled the pace from the front, waiting until lap five before really pushing hard aboard his RC213V. He attacked with devastating effect, posting the fastest laps of the race on lap six and again on lap seven. During this stage of the race he stretched his lead to 1.5 seconds, a gap he expanded to 4.6 seconds at the chequered flag.

And Marquez had a unique celebration for his 58th win in the premier class of Grand Prix! On the podium he ate an American donut, after a bet he made with Honda Supercross rider and current 250cc MX Champion Jett Lawrence ahead of the event.

This majestic performance was entirely in keeping with Marquez’s amazing record on American asphalt – it was his seventh victory from eight outings at COTA, and his 13th from his past 14 trips across the Atlantic Ocean to the USA.

Nonetheless, the race was always going to be a huge physical test for Marquez, who still isn’t operating at full strength following the broken right arm he sustained last year. Not only is the COTA one of MotoGP’s most physically demanding circuits, the track surface is very bumpy, requiring riders to wrestle their machines over the bumps.

Yet Marquez never faded in the closing laps, which will give him huge confidence ahead of the final three races of the year. The result also sees Marquez climb two places in the World Championship standings, from ninth to seventh.

Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) ensured both Repsol RC213V machines finished inside the top ten by scoring important points for tenth place. The 30-year-old Spaniard could not find an ideal front-end set-up this weekend, so he wasn’t able to ride at his maximum. The former Moto2 World Champion had a rather lonely ride for much of the race, but the information and data he gathered during the 20 laps will help him take further steps forward for the closing stages of his first MotoGP season with Honda.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu Honda RC213V) had a disappointing race after a weekend of great promise. The 29-year-old from Chiba showed strong rhythm throughout free practice, qualified on the second row and topped this morning’s warm-up session, only for ill luck to arrive for the race

The two-time Grand Prix winner lost one position on the first lap and was attempting to fight back from there when he crashed at Turn 12 on the second lap, after hitting one of COTA’s many bumps. Nakagami valiantly remounted in 21st and posted a strong pace in the remainder of the race, claiming 17th place while also gaining valuable track time using some recently revised settings, which should help him in the final races of the year.

Team-mate Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol Honda RC213V) picked up solid points for 12th place after a challenging time during his first visit to COTA aboard a MotoGP bike. The 25-year-old Spaniard struggled with a lack of rear grip throughout the race, although he felt he could have finished in the top ten, but for a minor error on the seventh lap, which had him run off track at Turn 12.

MotoGP riders and teams now get two weekends to recover before the 2021 season commences its final phase with three races in four weeks, at Misano in Italy, the Algarve International Circuit in Portugal, and the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
The plan was to do exactly what we did today: start well and fight into the first corner, take the first few laps a bit easy and then when the tyres start to drop a little bit – that’s when I would start to push. It’s exactly what I did and I saw the gap increasing with my lap times in in 2’04 highs, very consistent and comfortable. In the last few laps I was very tired and it wasn’t easy to keep my concentration but Fabio was far behind and I my instincts said he would not risk anything as he’s fighting for the championship. Today is a great day, I want to say thanks to the whole of HRC and the Repsol Honda Team who have worked so well all weekend. It’s been a hard season to understand everything, I was really looking for this victory because we know we had a good chance here. It was nice to win here for Nicky Hayden and also for the Vinales family, I have known them since I was eight-years-old and it’s a hard year for them and for the world of racing. 

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
We went into the race knowing it would be difficult and from the start the feeling with the front was not so good, there was a lot of pushing. With the situation we had, I couldn’t do anymore. It’s strange because in previous races the rear has been where we had our problems, but today it was the front. It’s unfortunate because we started the weekend well. Now the next objective is Misano where we know we have a good setting from the test, so we get ready to go again. The year isn’t over, so we keep our head up and keep trying. Congratulations to Marc and the Repsol Honda Team. 

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
At the start of the race I had a good feeling on the bike and I was ready to attack as I saw Marc was trying to go away after the start. I was trying to overtake Joan Mir and then [Francesco] Bagnaia. I was really confident on the braking, so I kept pushing, but unfortunately at Turn 12 I hit the bumps in the apex and lost the front. It’s a shame that I crashed because after that I rejoined the race and I tried to keep pushing to the maximum and the pace was amazing. We had really good pace in the end, so it’s a shame I lost this opportunity. I’d like to say sorry to my team. Now, we are on to the next race in Misano. 

Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez 73
We finished P12 today, I’m not really happy because it’s not the position I wanted to be in and it’s not the performance we needed to show. But I gave 100% throughout the race. The main problem was the rear grip which did not feel good from the beginning to the end. But I was able to keep the lap times and my rhythm quite constant. I made a big mistake on lap seven when I went straight on the back straight at turn 12 and lost three or four seconds there. Without that I think the top ten was possible. It was not the race I expected, I expected a little better so we need to keep pushing. Now, we have three weeks to rest and to reflect on it. We’ll be looking to make a step forward and be more competitive in Misano. 

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