Enea Bastianini Triumphant In Texas
Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) is now a two-time MotoGP™ race winner in 2022 as The Beast delivered a Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas masterclass to retake the World Championship lead heading to Europe. The Beast led home Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) as the Suzuki and Ducati duo scrapped it out on the last lap for P2 and P3; Rins’ success brings up a magical 500 podiums for the Hamamatsu factory in the 500th GP for Dorna, IRTA, FIM and MSMA.
The Beast on fire in GP500, Marc Marquez produces stunning comeback
As the lights went out, Miller got the best start of the leading Ducati trio on the front row and grabbed the holeshot ahead of Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). It was a nightmare start from P9 for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) though, something went wrong off the line for the eight-time World Champion and at Turn 1, the number 93 was plumb last.
Bastianini then got the better Bagnaia for P3 on Lap 1 as Martin lunged for the lead at the penultimate corner. Miller instantly retaliated at the final corner though and it was the Australian who held the race lead baton on Lap 2. It was a Ducati 1-2-3-4-5, Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) scrapping away with Pecco for P4, with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Team Suzuki Ecstar duo – Rins and Joan Mir – P6, P7 and P8 behind the Desmosedici quintet.
On Lap 5, Marc Marquez had climbed his way up to P13. Further up the road, Rins pounced on Pecco and the Ducati stranglehold had been breached on Lap 6. Lap 7 saw Marc Marquez pass teammate Pol Espargaro at Turn 12 and in doing so, Marquez was inside the top 10 – 0.6s off Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) in P8 and just five seconds off the lead.
Rins was an absolute demon on brakes into Turn 11 and the Spaniard picked off Zarco in Lap 9. Crucially, the Suzuki man held the Frenchman at bay coming out of Turn 12 as Rins latched himself onto the coattails of third place Bastianini. Rins dived up the inside of the Italian at Turn 11 on the next lap, but Bastianini was able to power back past on his GP21 rocket ship. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez had picked off Aleix Espargaro and had Quartararo next on his list, as the number 93 set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 11 of 20.
Lap 12 saw Bastianini slice past Martin at Turn 1 into P2, Rins followed Bestia through and into P3, as Miller opened up a 0.7s lead. Bagnaia and Mir got the better of Zarco, Mir then passed Bagnaia on Lap 13, as the top nine riders down to Marc Marquez were split by five seconds – and the latter, once again, set the fastest lap of the race.
It was all happening. Lap 14 saw Quartararo push his way past countryman Zarco, Marc Marquez then passed Quartararo on the back straight as both Mir and Pecco made their way through on Martin. Bastianini, in second, set the best lap of the race as Miller’s lead was cut to 0.3s. The top two had 1.4s in hand to Rins, who in turn had 1.3s to teammate Mir.
With five laps to go, it looked like it was only a matter of time before Bastianini took the lead off Miller. Sure enough, ducking into the slipstream of Miller, Bastianini placed his GP21 up the inside of the red GP22, and Bastianini took the lead at Turn 12.
Now, how would Miller respond? Bastianini eked out about three tenths and with three laps to go, the gap was half a second. Rins was now 0.7s behind Miller, Mir was a further second down the road, Bagnaia 0.8s off Mir, as Marquez and Quartararo shoved Martin down to P8.
On Lap 18 of 20, Bastianini stretched his lead to one second and that famous late-race pace he possesses was yet again soaring to the surface. Miller’s main job now was to keep Rins at bay. Starting the final lap, Bastianini had 1.6s in his pocket but Miller had just 0.3s to Rins. Mir was 1.3s off the podium scrap, Bagnaia was a lonely P5 with Marc Marquez and Quartararo fighting tooth and nail for P6.
Turn 11, Rins’ favourite corner, saw the Suzuki man get by. But Miller got his Ducati hooked up on the straight and the Aussie was back into P2. Miller was defending well but Rins got a great run out of Turn 18, and at Turn 19, Rins was up the inside. Rins got it stopped and turned to perfection, no way back for Miller, as Bastianini rounded the final corner to win his second race of the season and claim COTA’s converted crown. Rins produced a stunner to pip Miller, the latter enjoying his first rostrum of the season.
All change in the Championship picture
Mir’s podium attack didn’t quite come to fruition in the end but it’s a second consecutive P4 for the 2020 World Champion, as Bagnaia finishes P5 from the front row. Marc Marquez produced a truly stunning fightback after a terrible start to claim P6, but it’s a case of what could have been for Marquez and Honda in Texas. Quartararo battled as hard as anyone to pick up P7, it’s not the result he would have been after but with the next best Yamaha down in P15, you have to feel El Diablo is getting the very best out of his package.
Martin slipped to P8 as the Pramac duo struggled in the second half of the race, with Zarco P9. Maverick Viñales got the better of Aprilia Racing teammate Aleix Espargaro as the Aprilias pick up P10 and P11 from P13 and P14 on the grid, as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) comes home in P12 on a difficult weekend for KTM. A fatigued Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) saw the chequered flag in P13, just ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) crossed the line in P15 but was demoted one place, handing Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team) the final point.
Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) crashed out, the former headed to the medical centre for a check-up.
What a way to celebrate 500 GPs at the Circuit of The Americas. Bastianini takes charge of the 2022 title race as we now head to the all-important European leg of the season – Portimao’s rollercoaster is up next.
“We had exactly this time of plan for the race. In the beginning I struggled a little in the first sector, but I chose to not take too many risks and try to tail Martin. Then when Rins came from behind and we almost collided, I decided it was time to push harder. I passed Jorge and then Jack: I saw I had a little extra and I tried. I made a few mistakes during my first lap in the lead, but then I was able to put together a good pace. This is a fantastic win, which is the result of incredible teamwork. We can be quick on every track, even though I’m living this season like a rookie, as I see that we still have something to learn from the others on the track.”
2022 Grand Prix of The Americas MotoGP Top 10
1. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™)
2. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 2.058
3. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 2.312
4. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 3.975
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 6.045
6. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 6.617
7. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 6.760
8. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 8.441
9. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 12.735
10. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) + 12.642