until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Vinales wins COTA MotoGP from 11th, Marquez crashes out of lead

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Aprilia MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales took an improbable win in an all-time premier-class classic at the Circuit of the Americas, as COTA specialist Marc Marquez crashed from the lead.

Vinales was down in 11th on the opening lap, yet scythed his way back through the field to become the first rider in the MotoGP era to win grands prix with three different premier-class manufacturers (having won with Suzuki and Yamaha).

He was aided in his quest for victory by his choice of the medium rear tyre, which was also used by second-placed rookie Pedro Acosta - while all the other frontrunners had gone for the soft rear.

Vinales was the heavy pre-race favourite after his dominant 10-lap ride on Saturday, but got a much worse start this time by - which left him in a bad position coming into Turn 1.

With Jorge Martin lunging down the inside of Pecco Bagnaia, the knock-on effect was Vinales being barged wide and out of the top 10.

But Martin - the only other rider who was thought capable of making a breakaway - was denied the opportunity despite having overtaken Enea Bastianini for an early second, because rookie Acosta held firm out front.

Martin lunged on Acosta twice on the second lap, but was overtaken on corner exit both times. The same happened again on lap three, leaving Martin under attack from Bagnaia, who had likewise cleared Bastianini and picked up two more places in quick succession when Jack Miller and Marquez had a small clash coming out of a corner.

On the fourth lap, Martin did finally clear Acosta, and it briefly did look like the win was in his hands, especially when Acosta ran wide at Turn 11 and dropped back to fourth.

Yet, all of a sudden, it seemed like the soft/medium rear tyre discrepancy began to play its part. Martin fell back into the clutches of the chasing pack, but a Marquez lunge instead dropped him behind Bagnaia and Acosta - the former then overtaking the latter.

A couple of laps later, Acosta overtook Martin, before both were overtaken by Marquez - only for the Gresini Ducati rider to hit the deck braking into Turn 11 just as he'd taken the lead.

Remarkably, though, by that point Vinales was back in the mix.

From 11th, he first cleared Fabio Di Giannantonio, then worked his way past Alex Rins and Alex Marquez.

He encountered a major roadblock in Bastianini, yet finally overtook him too a handful of laps later, immediately dealing with Miller as well and coming back up on the lead pack.

As the 20-lap race had ticked over its halfway point, Vinales was already up in fourth at Bagnaia's expense. Marquez's crash made him third, and on that same lap he got the move on Martin done at the final corner.

All that was left was dealing with the rookie, and while Acosta successfully defended a Vinales lunge at the end of the back straight, a block-pass coming onto said back straight on the following lap gave the Aprilia man the lead.

There was no matching him from there, although Acosta briefly threatened a comeback in the closing stages - only to settle for a career-best second-place finish.

Martin continued to fade after being overtaken by Vinales, though put up a good fight against 2022 Grand Prix of the Americas winner Bastianini - before being overtaken on the back straight on the penultimate lap.

It means Bastianini is now 21 points back from leader Martin, with Vinales and Acosta the only other riders closer than 30 points off.

A fifth-place finish for Bagnaia also leaves him fifth in the championship coming out of COTA.

VR46 Ducati rider Di Giannantonio brought home a sixth place as the best of the year-old Ducatis, followed by Vinales' team-mate Aleix Espargaro, Di Giannantonio's team-mate Marco Bezzecchi and Brad Binder - the next-best KTM RC16 rider, 13 seconds down on the brilliant Acosta.

Trackhouse Aprilia posted a top-10 finish in its first grand prix on home soil, courtesy of Raul Fernandez and his 2023-spec RS-GP.

Miller faded horribly in the second half of the race, finishing 13th.

Aside from Marquez, there were five other riders who crashed, among them his younger brother and Gresini team-mate Aleix - although Alex remounted to finish 15th.

Last year's winner Rins ran as high as seventh in the Yamaha early on but crashed, as did his sometime team-mate Joan Mir (now at Honda) and Pramac Ducati's Franco Morbidelli, who was on for a top-10 finish.

Neither LCR Honda made the finish, Takaaki Nakagami crashing out and Johann Zarco pulling into the pits.

Race Results

PosNameCarLapsLaps LedTotal TimeFastest LapPitstopsPts
1Maverick ViñalesAprilia20841m09.503s2m02.575s037
2Pedro AcostaKTM206+1.728s2m02.966s026
3Enea BastianiniDucati200+2.703s2m03.051s020
4Jorge MartinDucati206+4.690s2m03.100s020
5Francesco BagnaiaDucati200+7.392s2m02.901s013
6Fabio Di GiannantonioDucati200+9.980s2m03.212s010
7Aleix EspargaróAprilia200+12.208s2m03.329s014
8Marco BezzecchiDucati200+13.343s2m03.503s08
9Brad BinderKTM200+14.931s2m03.463s07
10Raul FernandezAprilia200+16.656s2m03.314s07
11Miguel OliveiraAprilia200+18.542s2m03.179s05
12Fabio QuartararoYamaha200+22.899s2m03.938s04
13Jack MillerKTM200+24.011s2m03.468s06
14Augusto FernandezKTM200+27.652s2m03.803s02
15Alex MarquezDucati200+32.855s2m03.466s01
16Luca MariniHonda200+33.529s2m04.425s00
Alex RinsYamaha100DNF2m04.115s00
Marc MarquezDucati100DNF2m03.149s09
Joan MirHonda80DNF2m03.939s00
Franco MorbidelliDucati70DNF2m03.197s00
Johann ZarcoHonda60DNF2m04.211s00
Takaaki NakagamiHonda60DNF2m04.577s00
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