Sam Lowes put a series of recent accidents behind him in sensational style to claim his first Grand Prix victory at the Circuit of the Americas. The Briton kept his head in a tense race which featured steady drizzle throughout to defeat Johann Zarco with Alex Rins claiming his first podium in the intermediate class in third.
Although the predicted downpour didn’t materialise, light rain did keep the riders on their toes in the early stages and it soon became clear who felt most comfortable in the tricky conditions. Tito Rabat grabbed the holeshot on the first lap before an error saw him slip back with Zarco and Lowes making a break, joined in the leading group by polesitter Xavier Simeon and Alex Rins.
For lap after lap, the front four circulated in close formation with each rider waiting for the other to blink but six laps from home, Lowes made his move and slipstreamed past Zarco’s Kalex into turn twelve. The Speed Up had showed phenomenal pace in free practice and the no.22 started to edge away and his cause was helped by a dramatic incident on lap sixteen.
Approaching the uphill first corner, Simeon dived up the inside of Zarco for second but as they descended through turns two and three, the pair came to blows, sending the Belgian sprawling and his Gresini Kalex into the barriers. Zarco survived the contact to maintain second but Lowes’ lead had extended to over a second and the Ajo rider wouldn’t recover that deficit.
Setting fastest laps as he did so, Lowes reeled off the remaining laps to take an emotional victory with Zarco and Rins completing the podium. Rins’ rookie performance was particularly impressive on just his second intermediate class appearance and the teenager now leads the world championship following Jonas Folger’s failure to score points.
Tito Rabat recovered from his early slip-up to finish fourth ahead of Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syahrin while Anthony West brought more cheer to Speed Up with seventh place. Mika Kallio was eighth ahead of Julian Simon while Takaaki Nakagami completed the top ten for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia.
Moto2 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas: Race Result (19 Laps)
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