Marc Marquez has taken an early stranglehold on the 2014 MotoGP championship with his second consecutive victory in Austin. The reigning champion was never troubled and led home his teammate Dani Pedrosa with the Repsol Honda duo twenty seconds clear of third placed Andrea Dovizioso who gave Ducati their first podium since Misano 2012.
The race began in almost comical fashion as Jorge Lorenzo produced one of the biggest jump starts in living memory, creeping from the middle of the front row to overtake the front row starters before the red lights had even gone out. Predictably, the Yamaha led around the opening lap but after the quickest investigation in history from race direction, Jorge pitted for a ride through penalty before starting lap two.
With their likeliest threat out of contention, the Repsol Hondas were in a class of their own with Andrea Iannone leading the fight for the final rostrum position after an excellent start from row three. Valentino Rossi was upholding Yamaha honours in the early stages but a front tyre problem soon slowed him down and ‘the Doctor’ plummeted down the order.
In his absence, Stefan Bradl and Andrea Dovizioso took up the fight to Iannone and with six laps to go, Stefan sneaked through at turn seven, bringing Dovizioso through with him. Pramac’s dreams of a podium were dashed and Iannone fell back further as Bradley Smith relieved him of fifth, the Briton having been embroiled in an earlier battle with his teammate Pol Espargaro which left him playing catch-up.
Dovizioso snatched the initiative over Bradl with a brave move at turn sixteen but Smith’s progress was such that the Tech 3 rider was right behind them. However, an aggressive attempt to overtake Bradl on the penultimate lap slowed both through the esses and third place was effectively secured for Dovizioso and Ducati.
Bradl held on for fourth with Pol Espargaro scoring his first MotoGP points in sixth after overhauling Iannone in the closing stages. Valentino Rossi’s nightmare afternoon yielded eight points for eighth with Aleix Espargaro and the recovering Jorge Lorenzo completing the top ten on a disappointing day for Yamaha.
The other British riders also had days to forget in the end with Scott Redding crashing out of fourteenth late on but Cal Crutchlow suffered the biggest blow of all with an accident at turn two leaving him with a broken hand. Michael Laverty kept his PBM on the black stuff but he wasn’t rewarded with points either after being pipped by Hector Barbera.