An Americas GP masterclass was put on by Marc Marquez as he carved through the field, overcoming a problem at the start to show what he and the Honda RC213V are capable of. Pol Espargaro dug deep to conquer illness and net more points.
The King of COTA may not have walked away with another crown, but a heroic recovery after problems on the start line showed that Marc Marquez has lost none of his speed or talent – especially in Texas. A technical problem at the start, which Honda HRC are investigating, saw Marquez drop back from ninth on the grid. Arriving last into Turn One, the seven-time Americas GP winner put the start behind and began his comeback through the field with unrelenting efficiency. By the end of the first lap the #93 had already made up six places and would continue with the laptimes of the race leaders.
As the race entered its second half, Marquez continued to increase his pace, improving on the fastest lap of the race on multiple occasions as he reeled in the likes of Quartararo, Martin and Bagnaia. Firmly inside the top ten, the Repsol Honda Team rider spent the closing laps fending off a ferocious Fabio Quartararo who launched a late counterattack.
Welcomed back to the garage with a round of applause by the team, Marquez’s champion spirit shone through as he was left wanting more from a race which promised so much. Sixth place moves Marquez to 13th in the championship points table, 40 points behind World Championship leader and Americas GP race winner Enea Bastianini. Although sixth left him unfufilled, Marquez leaves America with renewed and refreshed confidence upon his return from injury.
On the other side of the Repsol Honda Team garage, Pol Espargaro’s incredible physical effort was rewarded with a handful of points for 13th place. Battling against illness throughout the weekend, Espargaro used all of his remaining energy and effort to finish the race. A promising start had the #44 well placed in the top ten after another lightning launch aboard the RC213V. Doing all he could to maintain his position, Espargaro put together an overall consistent race to collect valuable points before the paddock returns to Europe. With 23 points, Espargaro is 11th in the championship.
The MotoGP World Championship now prepares for its return to Europe, the Portimao circuit in Portugal starting the calendar’s European tour.
Marc Marquez (6th) said: “On one hand I am disappointed because it is clear we had the speed today and I was able to enjoy the race a lot, coming through from the back, but 25 points were possible today. We had a technical problem at the start, but it resolved itself and the bike was working well after that – even if I was last. I recovered many positions and had a great race despite some mistakes, which is normal when you are recovering like this. We can see the speed is there and we can walk away from here with a lot of confidence which is important. At the end we had a really nice battle with Fabio but when the race finished, I was destroyed, from that first lap I was giving everything I had on track to recover and finally finish in sixth. Another exciting race in Texas.”
Pol Espargaro (13th) said: “Physically, this was maybe the hardest MotoGP race of my life. With about ten laps remaining I was honestly thinking about retiring from the race because I was feeling so weak. But I saw that we were in the points and I wanted to do it for the team. I was slow and the fast changes of direction were almost impossible. I am finished, I am exhausted. Now we can go home and recover and prepare for the races in Europe. The bike’s potential is much higher than what we have shown and where we are in the standings.”