Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix round-up: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez made it five wins in a row (2x Moto2™, 3x MotoGP™) at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway after an epic race long duel with Jorge Lorenzo (+0.688s) on the Movistar Yamaha. Championship leader Valentino Rossi (+5.278s) maintained his 100% podium record this season to finish in third, and remain on top of the standings by nine points.
After the Moto3™ and Moto2™ races were declared wet earlier in the day, conditions had improved by the time the MotoGP™ riders took to the grid and luckily, apart from a few spots of rain, it remained dry throughout the race. It was Lorenzo who would lead into the first corner from pole man Marquez, and it wouldn’t take long for these two to break away at the front of the field, opening up a second gap by the end of lap 8. The 68,000 fans present at the ‘Brickyard’ then bore witness to some incredible riding between the two Spaniards, as lap after lap Marquez ominously stalked Lorenzo.
The reigning MotoGP™ World Champion Marquez bided his time, sitting behind Lorenzo and studying his strengths and weaknesses before finally making his move with just three laps to go into turn 1. Lorenzo had no response and Marquez pulled the pin to cross the line over half a second ahead of his compatriot, taking Honda’s 700th GP victory in the process. It was also the 9th race in a row that Marquez has won on US Soil and the first time he has achieved back-to-back victories this season.
Rossi started from 8th on the grid but after a sensational opening lap he was up into fourth and hunting down Pedrosa for the final podium spot. The Italian was made to rue his poor Qualifying performance, as while he could match the pace of Marquez and Lorenzo at the front, he could not make any meaningful dent in the gap to the leaders. Rossi finally managed to overtake Pedrosa into turn 1 on lap 18, although the diminutive Spaniard was having none of it and after recovering he managed to re-take third, setting up a dramatic last lap showdown. On the last lap Pedrosa overtook Rossi into turn 1, but ‘The Doctor’ fought back immediately and made it stick, managing to hold on to cross the line 0.181s ahead of Pedrosa (+6.147s).
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+21.528s) was a further 15 seconds back in fifth as he managed to hold off a hard-charging Bradley Smith (+21.751s) on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 towards the end of the race. The Italian, celebrating his 26th Birthday, eventually crossed the line just 0.223s ahead of the Brit.
Smith, starting from 9th on the grid, once again enjoyed a brilliant start and found himself as high as 5th after the first few corners. Unfortunately he would run wide at turn 10 on the first lap and be forced to fight his way back through the field. He had to settle for sixth. His teammate Pol Espargaro was a further 8.627s further back in seventh.
CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow had an eventful race, dropping down to 11th after almost clipping the back of Smith at the start of the race. He had to fight his way back into the top ten, before eventually crossing the line in eighth.
Andrea Dovizioso also ran wide on the first lap (turn 2) first lap and found himself down in very last place. The Italian recovered brilliantly and fought back to finish in ninth ahead of the Factory Octo Pramac Racing Ducati of Danilo Petrucci, who completed the top ten.
The Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR’s of Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro were 11th and 14th respectively, with Scott Redding on the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda finishing in 13th.
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera took the Open class victory in 15th ahead of local Hero Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP Team) in 16th and his teammate Eugene Laverty in 19th.
Stefan Bradl finished in 20th on his debut for the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini while CWM LCR Honda’s Jack Miller was the only rider to crash out of the race as he fell foul of turn 6 on lap 9.
All of this means that Rossi (195pts) remains on top of the MotoGP™ World Championship standings, although his lead over second placed Jorge Lorenzo (+186pts) has been cut to just 9 points, with Marquez (139pts) a further 56 points back in third.
Paginas Amarillas HP40’s rookie Alex Rins took his first Moto2™ race win ahead of Ajo Motorsports Johann Zarco (+0.482s) and Franco Morbidelli (+0.888s) on the Italtrans Racing Kalex in what was one of the most exciting races of the season.
The race was declared wet but with the track drying, the majority of riders decided to start on slicks and it was a fascinating first few laps as they tried to adjust to the conditions. Once things had settled down there was an incredible battle at the front between Rins, Rabat, Zarco and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag Racing Interwetten).
Each rider took turns at the front of the field as fans were treated to a spectacular display of aggressive overtaking in what was more reminiscent of a Moto3™ race. It would take until the penultimate lap for Rins to secure the win after Zarco had ran wide, taking Aegerter with him, to give the Spaniard some breathing space at the front.
Rins eventually crossed the line almost half a second ahead of championship leader Zarco to take his 9th career GP victory (8xMoto3™, 1xMoto2™), with Morbidelli coming on strong towards the end of the race and taking advantage of Aegerter running wide to steal third and secure his first career Moto2™ podium.
Aegerter, fresh from his podium at the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race, was battling at the front for long parts of the race before missing out on the podium by 0.406s as he had to settle for fourth. Rabat (+2.963) took a battling fifth after a duel with Morbidelli that must have brought back memories of their last corner crash at the German GP last time out.
Thomas Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten) was sixth, with AGR Teams Axel Pons recovering from an earlier crash in Warm Up to take seventh. Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Alex Marquez (Paginas Amarillas HP40) completed the top ten.
Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes crashed out while in 6th at Turn 15 with just 5 laps to go, after the British rider had fought his way back into contention for the podium. Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) was also in contention for a top 6 finish when he crashed out on the final lap, while Mika Kallio, who had started from the front row, also went down after contact with Lowes on lap 11.
There were also DNF’s for Tech 3’s debutant Xavi Vierge, Randy Krummenacher, Ratthapark Wilairot, Sandro Cortese and Julian Simon who had actually led the race at the start.
All this means that Zarco (199pts) has extended his lead in the Moto2™ World to 71 points, with Rins (128pts) leapfrogging Rabat (125pts) into second.
RW Racing GP’s Livio Loi made history as he became the first Belgian rider to win in the lightweight class after taking victory in a rain-affected race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Loi finished 38.860s ahead of second placed John McPhee on the SAXOPRINT RTG Honda, with Schedl GP Racing’s Phillip Oettl (+0.57.781s) claiming the last podium spot a further 17-seconds back. Championship leader Danny Kent was caught out by the weather conditions and eventually crossed the line in 21st.
The formbook was thrown out of the window before the race began as a heavy shower meant that it was declared wet. All of the riders lined up on the grid on wet tyres before Livio Loi, Jules Danilo, Andrea Migno and McPhee decided to switch to slicks before the race, with Loi the only rider to make the decision in time to start from his original grid position while the others had to start from Pit Lane.
This proved a masterstroke as the rain stopped as the lights went out and the track dried rapidly, with riders pouring into the pits to change to slicks from the end of the very first lap. Loi managed to take the lead on lap four and never looked back, managing his lead perfectly. McPhee and Oettl also rapidly made their way through the field and for the majority of the race they were the only two riders not to be a lap down on the leader Loi.
While the rain returned with a few laps to go, it was not heavy enough to make a difference to the result, and Loi went on to take his first career Moto3™ victory by a massive margin. The victory would have been made even sweeter by the fact that the Belgian was forced to miss the race at Indianapolis last year after he had been released from his contract with the Marc VDS team at the German GP.
McPhee’s second placed finish came after he had qualified down 18th place and it was his first career Moto3™ podium, in a season that has proven rather tricky for the Scotsman. It was also Phillip Oettl’s first Moto3™ podium finish too, just 19 years and 2 months after his father Peter Oettl’s last GP win at Mugello in 1996.
Sky Racing Team VR46’s Romano Fenati (+1’15.296) finished in fourth, 17 seconds further back from Oettl, with Isaac Viñales filling in for the injured Ana Carrasco on the RBA Racing Team KTM taking fifth spot.
Enea Bastianini managed to close the gap on leader Kent in the standings by 10 points to 56 after he crossed the line in 6th on the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 Honda. The Italian coming out on top of an excellent battle with Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) in seventh, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in eighth and Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) who finished in ninth.
Mapfre Team Mahindra’s Jorge Martin completed the top ten in a race that saw his teammate Francesco Bagnaia given a ride through penalty for a jump start before crashing out at turn 4 on lap 14. Efren Vazquez had earlier topped Warm Up on his Leopard racing Honda, but also crashed out at turn 9 on lap 16.
The result means the Danny Kent (190) still leads the Moto3™ World Championship standings despite his first non-points scoring finish of the season, but his advantage has been cut to 56 points by second-placed Enea Bastianini.