Victory for Viñales as Martin fights back for third

The Spaniard dominated on Saturday to take a second consecutive Sprint victory in Austin ahead of Marc Marquez and Martin

Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) is now a back-to-back Tissot Sprint winner! The #12 started from a lap record pole, took off at full chat and never looked back at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, leaving the King of COTA – Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) – to battle it out for second on Saturday. It’s the first time the number #93 has both finished and been beaten at the venue, barring that dramatic 2022 that saw him drop to last off the line.

The battle for second pitted the eight-time World Champion against rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) first, and then Championship leader Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing). Marquez dug in and held on, and Martin was able to get ahead of the rookie by the flag too.

There was potential for some statement moves at Turn 1, but for the Sprint it was a drama-free get away – for Viñales more than anyone. Top Gun was off like a shot to take the lead, with Marquez able to pip Acosta at Turn 1 and the trio able to stay just comfortably clear of Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Martin. 

Reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) dropped down the order to 10th after a bad launch off the line. Meanwhile, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) carved through the field towards the points after the South African was unable to make it through to Q2 earlier on in qualifying - starting in 17th.

At the front, Viñales began to put the hammer down, pushing the Aprilia RS-GP to the limit and pulling out a gap of over a second to Marc Marquez. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) began to apply pressure on the #93 next, with Martin past Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) by then and on the chase. The battle for second was exhilarating, with Acosta making a first attempt to pass eight-time World Champion Marquez on lap six. But the #93 quickly repassed the MotoGP™ rookie before Martin then found a way through on Acosta to third.

In the battle for the final point-scoring positions, Bagnaia battled to ninth, passing Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) on a recovery ride after a bad start to the Sprint. A handful of positions ahead of the Italian was Jack Miller (Red Bull Factory Racing), who was having a brilliant battle in sixth with Bastianini after starting in 11th.

On the final lap of the Sprint, Viñales had a comfortable two-second gap, looking unstoppable on the #12 machine. This lead was good enough for the Spaniard to cross the line to win a second consecutive Sprint in a row ahead of Marc Marquez and Martin.

Bastianini came P6 at the head of a freight train fight late on. The ‘Beast’ duelled Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) on the last lap and was able to hold the Aussie off to the line, with reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) forced to follow both home after a tougher day at the office. Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing) was next home in that tightly packed battle, taking the final Sprint point just ahead of a first top ten of the year for Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) as he starts to creep more and more into contention after missing pre-season. 

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) had a technical problem and retired early, and Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3), Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team), Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda LCR) and Castrol Honda LCR's Johann Zarco all crashed out, riders ok.

There is still more to come from Austin, with the MotoGP™ field back on track on Sunday morning at 9:40 local time (UTC -5) before the Americas GP at 14:00 local time, so make sure you keep up to date with the action on!

Top 10:

1 Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing)  
2 Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) +2.294
3 Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) +4.399
4 Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) +6.480
5 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +6.657
6 Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) +8.621
7 Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +9.237
8 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) +9.349
9 Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing) +9.637
10 Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) +9.894




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