Enea Bastianini won the Americas Grand Prix for the second time in his career after overcoming factory Ducati rider Jack Miller in the final laps.
After passing Francesco Bagnaia on the first lap, the Italian stayed in third place during the early laps, trailing leader Miller and pole-sitter Jorge Martin.
As the race approached mid-distance, Miller appeared to be dictating the pace up front to protect his tyres, a hunch he confirmed as he began to try to break away from the pack, Bastianini rapidly passing Martin in an attempt to keep the Aussie within attacking range.
In his pursuit of Miller, the Gresini rider set an all-time two-wheeled race lap record at the Circuit of the Americas, passing for the lead with less than a quarter of the race remaining.
Bastianini raced away from his pursuers over the final few tours after skilfully saving his tyres behind his stable-mates, eventually lifting the chequered flag for his second victory of the year by just over two seconds ahead of the dramatic battle for second place.
Despite being unable to do much about Bastianini, Alex Rins seemed hungry to relieve Miller of second place as he strained for grip on the penultimate tour.
Miller was able to get clear of the Suzuki driver into Turn 11, but the Ducati was able to close the gap down the long back straight to Turn 12.
Rins, on the other hand, refused to give up and set up a pass through the quadruple right-handed series of curves near the end of the lap, slicing through on entrance to Turn 19, a move he completed to take second place ahead of Miller.
Joan Mir finished fourth ahead of Bagnaia on the sibling Suzuki GSX-RR, while Marc Marquez finished sixth after a spectacular comeback from a sluggish start that sent him to the rear of the field.
After burning through his rubber, he was forced to cling on in the closing few circuits, with reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo attempting to pass Marquez through the esses on two occasions – though Marquez eventually hung on in front of the Yamaha racer.
After passing teammate Aleix Espargaro on the final lap, Martin dropped to eighth, ahead of Johann Zarco. Maverick Vinales won the battle of the Aprilias to complete the top 10.
Brad Binder was the highest-placed KTM rider, finishing 12th, while Franco Morbidelli finished 15th on the sister factory Yamaha.
Raul Fernandez was the best rookie, finishing 19th ahead of Tech 3 KTM teammate Remy Gardner, while Marco Bezzecchi and LCR Honda’s Alex Marquez were the only two riders to crash out after separate incidents.
Bastianini’s victory sees him reclaim the points lead on 61, with the consistent Rins now in second place just five markers behind, and Espargaro slipping to third overall ahead of Mir and Quartararo, who will be competing in Portugal in two weeks.
AUSTIN MOTOGP, COTA – RACE RESULTS
|1||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)||41m 23.111s|
|2||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+2.058s|
|3||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+2.312s|
|4||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+3.975s|
|5||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+6.045s|
|6||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+6.617s|
|7||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+6.760s|
|8||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+8.441s|
|9||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+12.375s|
|10||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+12.642s|
|11||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+12.947s|
|12||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+13.376s|
|13||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+17.961s|
|14||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+18.770s|
|15||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||+29.319s|
|16||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+29.129s**|
|17||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||+29.630s|
|18||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+32.002s|
|19||Raul Fernandez||SPA||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+37.062s|
|20||Remy Gardner||AUS||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+42.442s|
|21||Fabio Di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)*||+42.887s|
|22||Darryn Binder||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*||+1m 42.171s|
|Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||DNF|
|Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*||DNF|