Marc Marquez victorious at Indianapolis
Three is the magic number, as the Spaniard completes a clean sweep at the 10th round of the MotoGP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Three is the number you need to be looking at here - this weekend, he dominated Practice, Qualifying and the morning warm-up session, and with today's victory, not only has Marc Marquez completed a hat-trick of race wins (he ruled at Sachsenring and Laguna Seca, too), he has also managed to win all - three, to be exact - MotoGP races organised in the States this season.
It didn't look like Marquez would be riding his luck today, at the start at least. He had a really bad start off the line, which meant Jorge Lorenzo and fellow stablemate Dani Pedrosa eased past him on the opening lap itself, and soon enough Lorenzo found his rhythm and began to weave round the track with the sort of silken precision you would only expect from a world champion. Marquez would've been glad to be in third place after that bad a start, because within a few laps, the top three had separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
While Pedrosa worried about trying to get past the world champion, he had enough to worry about with Marquez chipping away at the gap between the two, and come Lap 9, he didn't have to worry anymore, as the rookie pulled off a brave overtaking manouevre around the outside. Lorenzo could sense the young Spaniard coming for him, and no matter how hard he tried to pull away, Marquez's RCV213 reeled him in and resigned him to the second position. Which he would go on to lose to Pedrosa, on the home straight, on the penultimate lap. Not very happy with the result was the world champion, but he's still recovering from that broken collarbone of his, something's better than nothing, right?
At the other end of the scale, Alvaro Bautista and Cal Crutchlow were engaged in a battle of their own for fourth position. The duo exchanged spots many, many times, until Valentino Rossi came along with a handful of laps left. The Doctor, having started from a lowly ninth, spent more than half the race languishing in seventh, and then sprang a surprise by getting involved in the Crutchlow-Bautista fistfight with just three laps to go. He first overtook Bautista, and then saw the Briton off on the second to last corner on the final lap to finish fourth.
The other interesting thing on the last lap was what happened with the Ducatis. Dovizioso and Hayden, in eigth and ninth spots respectively, looked set to finish the same way until Hayden went all "paint-trader" on his team-mate's Duc, and the impact dragged both men wide on the last corner, jumping over the kerb and rejoining the race, where Hayden seemed to have snatched eigth from Dovi. Which was when Bradley Smith, who had a brilliant start early on, capitalised and moved up from tenth to pass both Ducatis and end the race eigth by eleven-thousandths of a second. Close finish? Very.
This is Marquez's ninth podium out of 10 races this season, his fourth win, his third in succession. He leads Pedrosa by 21 and Lorenzo by 35 points on the championship table. What's more worrying for rivals perhaps is the margin of his victory. Pedrosa finished nearly 3.5 seconds after Marquez crossed the chequered flag, with Lorenzo a further 2.2 seconds behind. That's light years apart.
The action's headed to Brno next. If #26 and #99 are to catch up with the new kid on the block, they'd better start this Friday.
1. Marc Marquez
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Jorge Lorenzo
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Cal Crutchlow
6. Alvaro Bautista
7. Stefan Bradl
8. Bradley Smith
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Andrea Dovizioso
11. Andrea Iannone
12. Aleix Espargaro
13. Colin Edwards
14. Claudio Corti
15. Hiroshi Aoyama
16. Hector Barbera
17. Danilo Petrucci
18. Michael Laverty
19. Bryan Staring
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