AUSTIN, Texas (AP)Marc Marquez returned to his winning form with a victory at the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday, while championship leader Fabio Quartararo coasted to second and further tightened his grip on a likely first career title.
Marquez earned his seventh win at the Circuit of the Americas and career victory No. 58 in a nearly perfect race for the six-time series champion.
Marquez started his Repsol Honda from the No. 3 spot – his first start of the season from the front row of the grid – and shot past Quartararo’s Yamaha and Ducati pole sitter Francesco Bagnaia before the three riders had even reached the first turn.
Marquez was in cruise control from there as he earned his second win of the season. The race was just as easy for Quartararo, who came into the race with a 48-point lead in the championship standings over Bagnaia and now leads by 52 with three races remaining.
Once firmly in second, Quartararo seemed happy to watch Marquez drive off in the distance as settled in for a ride that protected his championship lead. Bagnaia, who had won the two previous races from pole position, was dropped to sixth after a poor start and never threatened to overtake Quartararo.
With his lead growing lap by lap, all Marquez had to do was avoid an unforced error like the one that caused his late crash here in 2019, the season of his sixth championship.
Marquez missed most of the 2020 season after a bad arm and shoulder injury in the first race and has struggled to regain top racing form and speed this season as Quartararo presses for the championship. Sunday’s win was just his third podium finish of the season.
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