The third race weekend of the 2017 season in MotoGP did take part in the United States, at COTA. It is Circuit of the Americas, the track is located near to Austin, Texas. Marc Márquez took pole position there, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi was in the front row as well.
Dani Pedrosa, Johann Zarco and Jorge Lorenzo started from the second row while Andrea Dovizioso, Jonas Folger and Cal Crutchlow were in the row number three.
Dani Pedrosa did a perfect start and went into the lead. Marc Márquez was going 2nd, Valentino Rossi 3rd, Maverick Viñales 4th, Johann Zarco 5th, Jorge Lorenzo 6th.
Already in the second lap Karel Abraham crashed. The Czech rider went to the race with broken ankle and some other minor injuries. The TV director didn’t show the crash for the viewers but as Karel wrote on his facebook page it was quite a big crash and the bike was pretty damaged. So hopefully Karel didn’t hurt himself more.
And in the second lap also Maverick Viñales crashed. As he said after the race, he didn’t know what happened but probably there was some issue with the tyre, according to him.
Dani Pedrosa was still in the lead but Marc Márquez was close behind him. Johann Zarco was trying to catch Rossi on the 3rd place and he even tried to do an overtaking manoeuvre. But there wasn’t a space enough and these two had a small contact. Rossi had to go wide to avoid a possible crash. But actually it helped him a little bit to get closer to Márquez.
Later Rossi got a penalty of 0.3 second for gaining the advantage in the incident. If I may say my own opinion on that I think that was very wise decision. To give him a penalty of taking one place back would be too strict but to leave it without any further action also wouldn’t be the best option from my point of view. So to give him 0.3 second penalty was a wise compromise from the Race direction.
Meanwhile, Marc Márquez overtook Pedrosa for the lead but it was just for a small moment as Pedrosa overtook him back. But a few moments later Márquez tried it again and it was successful attempt.
Loris Baz crashed so he didn’t continue in the race (but he’s still the man of the weekend after his unbelievable save in the qualification). Also Pol Espargaró didn’t continue in the race but in his case there were some technical problems with his KTM.
Later Álvaro Bautista crashed but he was able to continue in the race then.
Pol’s brother Aleix also went to the pits with some technical problems but then he came back to the track with 2 laps gap.
In the lead Dani Pedrosa seemed to fight with Márquez but how the race was going he started to struggle with his tyres. And even Valentino Rossi was closer and closer. We also could see that the Honda mechanics were drawing some sign to show Pedrosa that Rossi would have a penalty at the end of the race. But then Rossi overtook him and built more than 1 second big gap so he secured the second position.
In that time we also lost Sam Lowes who crashed.
With 2 laps to go Marc Márquez had already a comfortable lead of more than 3 seconds.
There was still a battle for P4 between Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco when Crutchlow was able to overtake the French rider.
Marc Márquez did it. He won for the 5th time at COTA. It is very impressive as MotoGP went there for the 5th time. So it is his circuit. He is unbeatable there so far.
Valentino Rossi came 2nd (and he had a comfortable gap to the 3rd one so the penalty didn’t mean anything in the end), Dani Pedrosa was 3rd.
Crutchlow kept the 4th place, Zarco was 5th which was another great result for the rookie. Andrea Dovizioso was the best Ducati rider on the 6th place, Andrea Iannone was 7th, Danilo Petrucci 8th, Jorge Lorenzo 9th and Jack Miller completed top 10.
Jonas Folger, Scott Redding, Tito Rabat, Héctor Barberá and Álvaro Bautista also took some points. So Bautista took 1 point even after the crash. There you see that sometimes (when rider is fine and bike isn’t damaged it’s worth to try to continue).
Bradley Smith was 16th and Aleix Espargaró 17th with some big gap.
Here are full results.
Valentino Rossi now leads the Championship with 56 points, Maverick Viñales is 2nd with 50 points and Marc Márquez is already 3rd when he has 38 points. Here you can see the full standings.
Now all is coming for the long European series. From the May until the middle of October there will be only races in Europe. The first one of it will be in Jerez in Spain. The race weekend will take place from 5th to 7th May.