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Motorcycling-Marquez loses Austin pole with three-place penalty

24 April, 2018, 03:30 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • Cal Crutchlow

It was an important move; with Crutchlow out of the points and Marquez a mile in front, the points for fifth were enough to give Dovizioso a slender one-point championship lead.

The reigning world champion annihilated the MotoGP field to win the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas to his sixth consecutive victory at the Austin circuit. For Vinales, it was his return to the podium after a long time, and his first visit to the rostrum in the 2018 season.

Vinales was promoted to the top slot, ahead of Suzuki's Italian Andrea Iannone and Tech 3 Yamaha's French rider Johann Zarco.

During the cool-down lap, Marquez - who came in first, trailed by his countryman Viales, with Andrea Iannone a close third and Italy's Rossi in fourth - paid tribute to the late American rider Nicky Hayden (1981-2017) by displaying an American flag with the number 69.


Vinales was confident he could challenge Marquez in the race even before the penalty was announced.

"Here normally I don't need slipstream but I know that a fast rider behind me can improve his laptime a lot and Iannone [on Friday] was fast", said Marquez. The decision was taken by Race Direction after investigating the world champion after he disturbed Maverick ViƱales on a flying lap in qualifying. "But in the race, I hoped and expected to be a bit stronger to fight for the podium". The last three spots in the top 10 list were taken by Tito Rabat of Avinitia Racing, Jack Miller of Pramac Ducati and Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro.

Behind him were Pol Espargaro of KTM, LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami and Alvaro Bautista of Nieto Ducati taking the last of the points. In a miserable day for the British riders, Bradley Smith and Scott Redding also finished out of the points and, over the three Grand Prix classes, John McPhee was the only Brit who managed to score points over the weekend, down in 14in the Moto3 race. Cal Crutchlow, who was leading the championship with a smashing win at Argentina, is now fourth on the points table. Alex Rins and Hafizh Syahrin crashed in the opening half of the race, while Karel Abraham was forced to retire due to pain in his wrist from his qualifying crash.

With Dovizioso finishing in the top five, the Ducati rider now leads the rider standings for the season by a single point over Marc Marquez with 45 points.

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