MotoGP Austin: Marquez strolls to sixth straight win

Cal Crutchlow

Starting from fourth following a three-place grid drop for blocking Vinales in qualifying, Marquez eased ahead of Suzuki's Andrea Iannone at Turn 12 on the opening lap. Keeping it calm, he took his first podium of the season in second, and Iannone did the same in third. Nevertheless, Iannone was at his relentless best sitting close to the Honda rider and managed to take the lead briefly as Marquez ran wide on Lap 3, but only for the Spaniard to retake the lead.

Marquez, a four times world champion, has yet to win this season but will still fancy his chances from fourth place at a favourite track. Last year's runner-up Andrea Dovizioso snuck under the radar to finish fifth in COTA and leads the championship by a point from Marquez, with Vinales, second in COTA, five behind in third.

There was enough action behind the race leader with Vinales pursuing to take P2 from Iannone. "I think tomorrow we can be fighting hard for the race". Britain's Cal Crutchlow led the championship going into the American round and was involved in a battle with Johann Zarco for fifth when he slid off at the end of the seventh lap. Tito Rabat ended the race eighth for Reale Avintia Ducati, while Jack Miller finished ninth. Jorge Lorenzo continued to struggle on the second Ducati works and eventually finished at P11, ahead of Pramac Ducati's Danillo Petrucci. Maverick Vinales is not too far behind with 41 points, while last race victor Cal Crutchlow is fourth at 38 point - he made no improvements today and finished outside of points.

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Bradley Smith brought home his KTM in 16th ahead of Scott Redding and Tom Luthi, while Crutchlow clawed his way up to 19th ahead of Xavier Simeon and Franco Morbidelli - the only other finishers - despite a time penalty for cutting the circuit late in the race. With respect to crashes, Alex Rins of Suzuki and Hafizh Syahrin of Tech 3 Yamaha crashed out, while Karel Abraham on the Nieto Ducati retired early due to wrist pain, following Saturday's crash.

The result sees the championship tighten up with just eight points covering the top five places. Iannone held the lead through the slingshot downhill left turn but couldn't fight off Marquez to keep it.

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