2021 MotoGP: Marc Marquez makes mark at COTA

Giving Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) its 450th premier class victory at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), Marc Marquez marked his return to the podium top step after 13 months away, winning the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas. Starting from third on the grid, Marquez slipped past pole position Francesco Bagnaia of Ducati and Fabio Quartararo of Monster Energy Yamaha, taking the lead into the first corner.

Never looking back, Marquez extended his lead to 2.3 seconds over Quartararo with just over half the race done, romping home across the finish line 4.679 seconds ahead of the Frenchman at race end. Meanwhile, it was a battle of Ducati’s behind the lead Honda and Yamaha, with Bagnaia went past Ducati rider Jack Miller, being allowed through to bolster his world championship chances.

With Jorge Martin just ahead of Bagnaia and eight laps to go in the race, the question came down to if Bagnaia could improve his position and consolidate his championship standing against current leader Quartararo. Fortune seemed to smile on Bagnaia as Martin had to take a long lap penalty, giving Bagnaia third place.

This leaves Bagnaia second in the riders’ championship after COTA, 52 points behind Quartararo with three races left in the 2021 MotoGP Season. Third in the championship is Joan Mir of Ecstar Suzuki with 175 points, Miller with 149 and Johann Zarco of Pramac Ducati with 141.