Alex Rins dominated the 2023 Americas MotoGP in Austin, Texas, ending Honda's MotoGP victory drought in style.
The new LCR rider took the lead when Ducati’s reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia crashed out just before the halfway stage.But the victory battle wasn’t over, with VR46 Ducati's Luca Marini later blasting past Fabio Quartararo's Yamaha for second and facing only a two-second gap to Rins.Rins responded, managing his advantage for Honda’s first win since the absent Marc Marquez at Misano in 2021.
Rins’ sixth premier-class victory, after five for Suzuki, was also LCR’s first since Cal Crutchlow in 2018.Meanwhile, Marini celebrated his first ever (Sunday) MotoGP podium and Quartararo a first rostrum of the season.In a replica of the Saturday Sprint, Bagnaia and Rins battled for the lead on the opening lap. But this time there was no shaking off the Spaniard, who sunk his teeth into the factory Ducati.The pressure paid off when Bagnaia crashed out of the lead, at Turn 2, on lap 8 of 20.The reigning champion’s second fall in as many MotoGP races left the Italian visibly shocked but Bagnaia’s downfall was one of no less than ten race accidents, three of them on the opening lap.
Sprint podium finisher Jorge Martin lost the front of his Pramac Ducati at Turn 3, wiping out an unlucky Alex Marquez. Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro was down soon after, falling from his Aprilia at Turn 12. KTM's Jack Miller, who had jumped from tenth to third, was leading the pursuit of the top two when he suffered his sixth and final accident of the weekend. Repsol Honda's Joan Mir, Miller's teammate Brad Binder, Rins' teammate Takaaki Nakagami, and Honda stand-in Stefan Bradl then fell after Bagnaia, meaning just 13 riders reached the finish.
High front-tyre pressure, which was also an issue in the ten-lap Sprint, could again have been behind many of the falls. Espargaro's teammate Maverick Vinales got off to another poor start before recovering to fourth place ahead of RNF Aprilia's Miguel Oliveira and title leader Marco Bezzecchi (VR46). All riders chose the hard front and soft rear tires, and while Miguel Oliveira and Joan Mir returned to action this weekend, three riders remained absent due to injuries at last month's Portimao season opener.
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