Today’s Grand Prix of the Americas at the COTA circuit in Austin, Texas proved to be a difficult one for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders with Valentino Rossi taking eighth and teammate Jorge Lorenzo taking tenth.
After a less than perfect start that saw him drop from sixth on the grid to ninth, Rossi re-grouped and started to work his way back through the pack. Displaying his trademark efficiency the nine-time world champion made short work of the opening laps, passing Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl and finally Cal Crutchlow for fourth in turn seven. Rossi then began to close down Andrea Iannone and looked confident of scoring a podium finish until a sudden loss of grip on the right side of the front tire left him unable to keep his pace, dropping him to eighth which he held to the line.
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo experienced his second Grand Prix weekend to forget today, making a jump start at the beginning of the race and receiving a ride-through penalty as a result. He pitted immediately at the end of the opening lap and re-joined at the back of the field in 23rd. The four-time world champion then showed his dedication and professionalism, working hard to move back through the pack to earn his first championship points of the season. As he crossed the finish line he did so in tenth position, less than four seconds from Rossi in eighth.
The eighth place finish gains Rossi a further eight points to give a total of 28, dropping him to third on the overall standings. Lorenzo’s tenth place earns his first championship points of the season, putting him in 16th with six points.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders today finished round 2 of the MotoGP World Championship in a highly determined manner, with both riders achieving their best ever results in the premier class. Bradley Smith finished in 5th position after narrowly missing out on a debut podium, with rookie Pol Espargaro crossing the line in 6th to claim his first MotoGP points and as the quickest rookie.
Bradley Smith delivered a fierce campaign to challenge for a podium position, before guiding his Yamaha YZR-M1 home in what was his best ever MotoGP result. After having qualified in 8th, the British rider dropped back a place during the first lap, but soon set into a smooth rhythm and proceeded to move up the field, progressing up to 7th a few laps later. He then closed in on the Factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi before passing him quickly. On lap 14 the young British rider overtook his teammate and swiftly caught the 5th placed rider three laps later, before hunting down the remaining competitors to challenge for the final podium position. Smith rode tirelessly to reach them, and then exchanged forceful moves with Stefan Bradl right down to the chequered flag fighting for 4th position. Even though the battle didn’t come to a lucky end, on what was once again a difficult racetrack for all the Yamaha bikes, Smith brilliantly showed his progression, finishing as the top Yamaha on the timesheets.
Rookie Pol Espargaro successfully clinched his maiden points scoring finish today at COTA, and completed the race as the fastest rookie by finishing in a highly impressive 6th position. The Reigning Moto2 World Champion had a positive start, and moved forward to 10th on the first lap. Espargaro skilfully forged ahead and continued to battle remaining with teammate Bradley Smith as they moved up the field. On lap ten, the Spanish rookie brilliantly overtook multiple world champion Valentino Rossi. Espargaro finally completed his impressive point scoring race by taking 6th place on the final lap.
The NGM Forward Racing Team leaves Texas with Aleix Espargaro finishing 9th overall and first open. After the great result scored yesterday in qualifying, Aleix struggled to make a good start, losing contact with the front group. He had issues with chattering and preferred to be a bit conservative to finish the race and get some good points. The result puts him 5th in the championship with 20 points.
It was an unlucky day for Colin Edwards who expected to get another result in his home grand prix. As with his teammate, Colin struggled a lot during the race and when there were 4 laps to go his bike stopped, obliging him to retire. With today’s retirement, Colin is 14th in the rider Championship.
The championship stays outside of Europe for round three, moving south for the Gran Premio de la República Argentina on 27th April.