Alex Rins secured his first-ever MotoGP victory at the Circuit of the Americas after Marc Marquez crashed out of proceedings whilst leading the race.
The Suzuki rider battled with Valentino Rossi once Marquez had crashed out and made his move on ‘The Doctor’ with only a few laps remaining. Rins kept his cool in the closing stages to secure Suzuki’s first victory since the 2016 British Grand Prix. Rins has now won at the Texan circuit in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP.
Rossi remained in second spot to take his second straight podium finish for the Monster Yamaha team. The duo were joined on the podium by Jack Miller, who takes his first podium since his victory at Assen in 2016.
Andrea Dovizioso was closing in on Miller towards the end of the race but had to settle for fourth – a great achievement given that the Ducati rider didn’t make it out of Qualifying 1.
Franco Morbidelli took an impressive fifth place for the Petronas Yamaha team, ahead of Danilo Petrucci on the second factory Ducati machine.
Fabio Quartararo was the top rookie in seventh, whilst Pol Espargaro gained some vital points for KTM in eighth. Francesco Bagnaia (ninth) and Takaaki Nakagami completed the top 10. The Japanese rider was the only Honda rider to finish the race, with Cal Crutchlow crashing out of third and Jorge Lorenzo suffering a mechanical problem.
Both Maverick Viñales and Joan Mir were given ride-through penalties for jumping the start.
At the start of the race it was Crutchlow who initially made the perfect getaway, however Marquez would lead coming out of the first corner. Rossi remained second and tried hard to stay with the pole-sitter.
Dovizioso made a blistering start and had moved up into sixth by the end of the opening lap – from 13th on the grid. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro dropped down to eighth from fifth on the grid.
On the following lap Aleix Espargaro retired from the race after crashing at turn 14. Back on the circuit, Crutchlow was now all over the back of Rossi in the battle for second.
At the front, Marquez was going faster every lap and was, as predicted, pulling away from the chasing pack.
On lap four, race control announced that both Viñales and Mir had been given ride-through penalties for making jump-starts. This decision means that there have now been three jump-start penalties in 2019. When the announcement was made, Viñales was eighth and Mir was in 13th.
On lap five, Morbidelli made his move on Dovizioso for fifth spot. Ahead of them, Crutchlow continued to pile the pressure on Rossi but it would all go wrong for the Brit as he crashed out at turn 11.
The race was turned on its head a few laps later as Marquez hit the deck at turn 12. The reigning champion went into the corner with too much speed and he was unable to stop the Honda. Despite his best attempts to rejoin the circuit, the Spaniard was unable to restart his bike. Rossi would take over as the race leader, with Rins right behind him.
Moments later there was another retirement for Honda. Jorge Lorenzo pulled off the circuit at turn 12 with a mechanical problem.
On the circuit, the battle for victory was on. Rins had closed in on Rossi and was eyeing up potential overtaking opportunities. The 23-year-old made his move with four laps remaining, and managed to outsmart Rossi when he tried to re-take the lead at turn 12.
The pressure was on Rins for the remaining laps but, despite having never won a MotoGP race before, the Suzuki rider kept his cool, avoided any mistakes, and crossed the line with an impressive wheelie celebration.
The result in Texas mean that Dovizioso now leads the championship by two points. Rossi moves into second, with Rins now sitting in third – five points behind Dovizioso. Marquez drops to fourth but is only nine points behind the series leader.
Round four of the 2019 MotoGP Championship takes place at Jerez on 3-5 May 2019.