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Austin MotoGP Results

The Texas showdown between reigning champ Marc Marquez (Honda) and the winner of the first two rounds, Maverick Viñales (Yamaha), will have to wait. After sparing with one another all weekend during practice and qualifying, Viñales crashed out of the race today after just a couple of laps, leaving Marquez to take his fifth consecutive MotoGP victory at COTA.

The closest rival to Marquez was teammate Dani Pedrosa, who swapped the lead with Marquez a couple of times during the middle stages of the race.  Pedrosa’s tires seemed to go away in the last few laps, however, and he had to settle for third place behind Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.

Rewarded for his consistency this year (podiums, but not wins), Rossi took over the championship points lead from Viñales, who now sits second. You can find the full race results here.  Visit the MotoGP site for additional details and points.

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Bubba says:

    Rossi will drop off in short order. Vinales / Marquez will rise to the top. Its inevitable.

    • Tim C says:

      “In short order” might be in a couple races. Or a few seasons. Just sayin’ – I ain’t seen nothin’ like this here feller….

    • VLJ says:

      New to this whole MotoGP thing, Bubba? Missed the past few seasons, didja?

      • Bubba says:

        Well, well VLJ…see the latest race for Rossi…??!! Was 9th or 10th? Haha. ___ hugger.

  2. Jeremy in TX says:

    That wasn’t the most exciting race ever, but it was a good one. Marquez is always strong at COTA, so it is hard to determine whether they have finally gotten the Honda more sorted or if he just performed strongly despite the bike’s failings. I am thinking the former. He looked mighty fast on the previous race before losing the front. And he was mighty fast this past weekend. The bike is still clearly less cooperative and more physical than the Yamahas, but I think Honda have made some improvements that let Marquez ride his bleeding edge riding style with less risk.

    Also, I haven’t seen Pedrosa fight like that in a long time. It was good to see and further implies that the extra confidence may be a result of the Honda being a little more sorted.

    Zarco continues to impress me. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win a dry race this year. Nor would I be all that surprised to see him signed to Pedrosa’s spot when the time comes. Which would really irritate Crutchlow. Who also did a great job in the race.

    Lorenzo doesn’t crash enough. By that, I mean a rider like Marquez would have wrecked that Ducati 20 times by now exploring the limits of the bike. That wouldn’t make the Ducati any easier to ride, but it would provide a good map for can and cannot be done on it and likely make for better results under a rider as talented as Lorenzo. I think that is why Iannone performed well on the Ducati. He had such a map.

    I think the MV vs MM rivalry is going well for Rossi. I’d love to see him win another championship, but not by coming in second or third every race. I hope he steps it up and starts really dicing it up with the two wunderkinder.

    • VLJ says:

      Regarding Lorenzo “not crashing enough,” I agree. In fact, the same could be said of Pedrosa, compared to Marquez. Iannone was often faster than Dovi last year, precisely because he pushed harder and hung it out more often. Both Lorenzo and Dani—especially Dani—probably play it too safe, too often.

      As for Rossi, he did finish ahead of Marquez in Qatar, and he was ahead of Maverick when Vinales went down at Austin. He was also fairly close to Maverick in the other two races.

      Considering his relative lack of speed in testing and most practice and qualifying sessions, he’s hanging with the other two fairly well so far, at least on Sunday. But, yes, he will need to win a couple-few races…

      …or mickey won’t recognize him deep-down as the champion, even if he scores the most points and earns the title.

      😉 😉 😉

    • 5229 says:

      “Marquez is always strong at COTA, so it is hard to determine whether they have finally gotten the Honda more sorted or if he just performed strongly despite the bike’s failings”
      Really? The bike that has won the last Three out of four Mototgp championship’s. And 1st and 3rd this past weekend. And Four different riders won on it last year. The bike does make a difference. Ask Jorge Lorenzo,thats the bike(Ducati) that needs to be sorted out. If the RC213V Was as bad as you state no way all those championships. I don’t care who is riding it.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I didn’t say that it was bad. I said that it wasn’t as cooperative as the Yamaha. 2015 was a tough season for Honda, 2016 was better, but the bike still had issues. 2017 testing started out with problems, too. Pedrosa, Marquez and Crutchlow have all been very vocal about it.

        The current Honda is not the bike it was in 2013/2014. So maybe it does matter who is riding it.

        • 5229 says:

          2016 better? Constructor’s and riders championship for Honda 2016 season. That does not happen unless the bike is good, or as you say cooperative. The numbers don’t lie.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “The bike does make a difference”

        gotta spend $5 Million dollars on somethin’.

      • wjf says:

        Honda junk

    • Brian says:

      Think you may have a point on the Lorenzo not crashing thing. Not that I blame him. He had some ugly ones earlier in his career…and I think we tend to forget that despite airbags, etc., coming off a bike is never a fun experience. It’s kind of miraculous to me that MM and Cal haven’t done a Rins (or worse) at some point, as many offs as they’ve had the past few years.

  3. EZ Mark says:

    If Rossi wins the title at 38 years old, no matter how or why, it would just prove even more that he is the greatest ever.

    • Gary says:

      No, it will prove that age and treachery beats youthful talent. There are faster riders than Rossi. But they have not yet learned to stay consistently upright. And consistency often wins championships.

      I hope Rossi wins one more world title. It would be epic.

      • VLJ says:

        The most crucial component of true greatness in any sport is in knowing how to win, as opposed to being merely talented enough to win.

        If Rossi wins this title against a field this deep and talented (easily the deepest field in the history of the sport), there will be no further arguments as to his GOAT status.

        • mickey says:

          There is already no doubt that he is a truly great motorcycle racer.

        • Scott the Aussie says:

          At least he’s the MotoGP GOAT. Previous eras?? Like comparing oranges and apples.

        • Gary says:

          “easily the deepest field in the history of the sport”

          I respectfully disagree.

          • VLJ says:

            Then I invite you to state your case.

            Here’s mine…

            Valentino Rossi: seven-times champion of the Premier class; third most pole positions; generally regarded as the GOAT

            Marc Marquez: three-times (and counting) champion of the Premier class; youngest champion in the Premier class; the most pole positions

            Jorge Lorenzo: three-times champion of the Premier class; second highest number of pole positions

            Dani Pedrosa: the greatest rider never to win the Premier title (at least according to mickey, and that has to count for something, right?); two-times (IIRC) champion in the lower classes; the most wins, podiums, and poles by far of any rider never to win the whole enchilada

            Maverick Vinales: youngest rider to win a Premier class race; Moto 2 champion; has already won three races in the Premier class

            Andrea Dovizioso: multi-time winner in the Premier class; blindingly fast for a dude who may or may not actually be in a permanent coma

            Cal Crutchlow: winner in the Premier class; filthiest potty mouth; most epic helmet hair

            Jack Miller: winner in the Premier class; most likely to get a DUI on the drive home from the track

            Johan Zarco: first two-time Moto 2 champion in a hundred and eighteen years; would likely mop the floor with Randy Mamola in a game of chess

            Scott Redding: fastest soccer hooligan in MotoGP history; worst tattoo, too

            Danilo Petrucci: if Sete Giberneau or some other Euro libertine wanker tries to pass #9, DP can legally arrest him

            Aleix Espargaro: crashes as often as Ruben Xaus, yet remains (occasionally) stupidly fast

            Pol Espargaro: won something somewhere, I’m pretty sure; roughly as fast as his rubberized older brother; not the least bit overweight

            Tito Rabat: crashes even more often than Aleix Gravel Excavator, yet can still walk and chew gum at the same time; won the same support-class title as Pol and Dani

            Luca Cadalora: won the last 500GP I attended at Laguna Seca; was known to beat dudes like Mick Doohan on occasion; currently paid by Yamaha to tell Valentino Rossi how great he is

            Sete Gibernau: ditto, even though he now works for VR46’s long-time caddy

            So, by my count, I see thirteen Premier-class world championships divided among three riders, and not one of them was won by a guy on an overdog MV Agusta racing against a bunch of weekend drunks speedbumping around on motorized Schwinns. I also see a large number of Premier-class wins divided among five other riders; again, none of which came at the expense of grids comprised of only two other competitive bikes plus a bunch of plumbers and brick layers sporting leather goggles while tooling around the track looking for some proper crumpet to take back to the van after the race.

            In other words, yes, I am throwing out the entire Giacomo Agostini/Mike Hailwood years from this discussion, because those fields were shallower than a Royal Family gene pool.

            This leaves two other possible eras: Roberts/Spencer/Lawson/Mamola, and Lawson/Rainey/Schwantz/Gardner/Doohan.

            Between those two groups, I think the latter is clearly superior, particularly due to the addition of the aforementioned Luca Cadalora, along with guys like Kocinski, Beattie, McCoy, etc. The thing there is that Doohan didn’t begin his streak of five straight titles until all those other champions from his early years were already gone. In terms of how many titles were gridded at the same time, you have four from Lawson, three from Rainey, and one each from Schwantz and Gardner.

            Helluva deep field, to be sure, but with Valentino Rossi’s seven titles added to the six so far from Marquez and Lorenzo, plus all those race wins from the rest of the field, I don’t see how any of the late ’80s-early ’90s grids quite match what we have now in this field with the current GOAT (Valentino) and the possible future GOAT (Marquez), plus all the rest and their combined championships, wins, podiums, and poles.

            But I’m all ears, so have at it.

          • mickey says:

            While the depth of talent that Rossi has had to race over his career is indeed immense, I think it would be a mistake to dismiss the talent that Agostini possessed. Sure his MV was a superior bike at the time (Rossi has ridden some superior bikes in his career as well), but Agostini still won 15 World Championships in two classes (and was runner up 5 times…first time in 1965 last time in 1975), 10 Isle of Mann TT wins, 7 Ulster Grand Prix wins, and had some fair competition himself including some pretty talented riders on other MV bikes. Mike Hailwood was but one. He also raced and won against Phil Read, Jarno Saarinen, Barry Sheen, Kenny Roberts, Johnny Cecotto, and Jim Redman. A lot of WC’s in that list as well.

            In 1974, in his first race for Yamaha he won the Daytona 200 beating team mate Kenny Roberts. He also won the ‘74 350 class title for Yamaha that year and the ‘75 500 title the following year (he was runner up in the 350 class that year). 2 grueling races every Sunday for over a decade. (take that Freddie Spencer) 186 races, 122 wins 159 podiums and astonishingly only 9 of those wins in 186 races from pole position.

            He won the first premier class Championship in the 2 stroke era in 1975

            In 1976 at 34 years old he raced but once in the 350 class, on a Yamaha (and won) and he won the last premier class race won by a 4 stroke in 1976 (again on an MV)

            One can’t really say whether Agostini was a better motorcycle racer than Rossi or Vice Versa with any certainty since they never raced each other in their prime. A case could be made for either one, but it would be safe to say each was the premier motorcycle racer for their era, and that those two are the two most talented men to throw a leg over a racing motorcycle up to this point.

            Oh and Dani has won 3 WC’s (one 125 and two 250s) and has at least one GP win every season since he started racing… 13 seasons in a row?. In 2012 he won 7 GPs and finished on the podium 15 times in 18 races against the same depth of field competition Rossi had. Probably would have been champion that year if not taken out by Hector Barbera at Misano and a DNF crash in Australia while leading the race losing the Championship to Lorenzo. I think wunderkid Stoner finished third in the championship that season. Rossi was in his disaster year aboard the Ducati and never won a race.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I agree with you VLJ. They have had racing programs in place for a while now that have kids starting to race street bikes at the same age they start potty training. The pipeline of talent flowing into the various racing series for the past 10 years is unprecedented.

            I guess one could argue that the field wasn’t nearly as rich at the beginning of Valentino’s career as it was in the latter half. What would his career look like if the Lorenzos and Marquezes started showing up in the year 2000 vs a decade later? I don’t know. But the guy has ridden 500cc 2-strokes, the 990s the 800s and now the gizmoed up 1000s in the premier class, winning championships on all but the latter. And he has come damn close at that too. He may yet clinch that 10th title, even among what I think is the most talented rider pool the sport has ever seen.

          • mickey says:

            I think Valentino has 2 things that absolutely play to his favor. (1) he loves racing and competing. You can see it in his face at every race. and (2) he has the ability to adapt to a motorcycle better than anyone past or present. If the bike requires smooth and steady he rides like that. if it requires squaring off and point and shoot he rides like that, if it requires fast corner speeds, he rides like that (Lorenzo has yet to master the art of adaptation). And one other thing he has, if the bike is handling like crap, his tires feel like grease, his qualifying sessions stink and his grid position for the race sucks, none of that matters when the lights go out.. he’s headed for the front.

          • VLJ says:

            mickey, I’m not doubting Agostino’s or Hailwood’s talent. I’m saying the overall depth of the fields those two guys routinely beat like a drum wasn’t remotely close to what we have now. Honestly, there is no way to argue this.

            I would also add that Ago doesn’t win nearly so many titles had he raced in the late ’80s-early ’90s, or today. We’ll never know for sure, of course, but I feel fairly confident in saying Ago doesn’t destroy prime Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Marc Marquez, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson, and Mick Doohan year after year after year, the way he rolled everyone back in his day.

            Oh, and I had a feeling I’d forgotten at least one guy from today’s grid, and it inexplicably came to me this morning while staring at the latest paparazzi shot of Kim Kardashian’s unfettered boobs. No idea how the sight of the latter prompted a recollection of the former, but yeah…Andrea Iannone.

            Crazy though he may be, that guy is fast enough to win races in any era. I suppose I might equate him to the Gary McCoy of this era, or the MotoGP equivalent of Anthony Gobert or Noriyuki Haga.

          • mickey says:

            I understand VLJ, and I’m not disputing your theory at all. Some mighty talented guys out there racing motorcycles right now.

            Since there is no way to measure one against another directly there is no way to make the call. Without competing on the same motorcycles against the same competitors we have no idea how good each one really is. Was Ago just a great racer because of his bike and his competition? or was he just a great racer period? I think his later successes with Yamaha would point out it wasn’t just a case of the former but more a case of the latter.

            I suppose the argument is the same as the one with boxers. Who was better Dempsy or Tyson?

            or football which team was better the Steel Curtain Steelers or the Patriots?

            and in the case of Iannone, I’m sure some of his competitors after dealing with him on track, consider him a bit of a boob, so that’s probably what brought you the epiphany lol

          • VLJ says:

            Jeremy in Tx, regarding Rossi and his early career vs today, one variable that throws a wrench in the mix is the recent proliferation of electronic rider aids. Back when Rossi first started racing at the Grand Prix level, he was riding relatively bare-bones two-stroke 500s. Who’s to say that the current crop of riders could have managed those beasts and continued to ride with the same fearlessness every weekend after getting tossed to the sky a few too many times? Who’s to say that some of those crashes wouldn’t have caused injuries that may have curtailed their careers in general, or, at the very least, their gung-ho/pin the throttle and let the electronics save their bacon approach they employ today?

            As often as Marquez crashes even now, and as close to the edge as he routinely rides, would he have been able to get away with that approach and come away physically and mentally unscathed while riding those wicked old two-strokes?

            Rossi managed it. Alone among the current GP fold, he bridged the gap from the hoary old two-strokes to today’s modern techno-wizardry, adapting and even reinventing his very riding style along the way.

            We know Rossi did this. We don’t know who else may have been able to duplicate his achievement.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I hope Rossi wins one more world title”

        you and Carmelo’s accountant.

  4. Vrooom says:

    Lorenzo was more competitive, but it still has to burn him getting beaten by Crutchlow on a satellite bike and Dovi on the same bike. He’s #2 in that garage.

  5. Artem says:

    Great photo.

  6. dt 175 says:

    two 2nds > first/fourth. i’m sure rossi remembers 2006…

    • Scott says:

      And if he wins the title with only 1 or 2 race wins and a bunch of podiums, surely everyone will say his fake championship doesn’t count, right?

      • mickey says:

        No more than they would say that if Rossi had 7 wins, but a few dnf’s and Marquez only had 2 wins but finished in the top 5 enough to earn more points, that Marquez was the deserved champion …. and you know they wouldn’t say he was.

      • VLJ says:

        ~mickey slowly backs out of the room~

        • mickey says:

          LOL… look in my opinion there are champions and deserved champions. If two guys tie on points, the championship goes to the rider with the most wins, because a premium is placed on winning and not just finishing.

          I thought Rossi deserved to win the championship in 06. He was the dominant rider of the season. Except for some buzzard luck in 5 races he would have handily won the championship after coming back from a 51 point deficit.

          I also think Rossi deserved to win the Championship in 15 but because of his own arrogance handed it to Lorenzo who ended up having more points (gee I am sensing a theme here)

          I think Dani deserved the Championship in …forget the year 11? 13?.. when he won the majority of the races because he was clearly the dominant rider that season, but again that dang buzzard luck that sometimes decides championships reared it’s ugly head and put Dani in the hospital.

          and in the scenario I listed in the post above if Rossi had 7 wins but had mechanical issue or crashes and failed to score points and Marquez only 2 wins but a bunch of 3rd, 4ths and 5ths..I would consider that Rossi deserved to be champion via his wins and dominance rather than Marquez who played it safe and squeaked by on points, even though Marquez would be handed the title.

          I have no favorite,don’t care who wins…Rossi, Marquez, Vinales, Lorenzo don’t care, I am a fan of the sport,and I want my champion to be dominate…the victor..the guy who stood on the top podium the most, not just an also ran.Just how I feel. I recognize whoever might be champion any given year, I just don’t have to believe they actually deserved it.

          • Scott says:

            Nobody deserves a championship. You earn a championship based on the rules. In this case, the most points wins. If the championship was given to the guy with the most wins, I think you might see a *slight* change in tactics – by Rossi, and everyone else. And if Rossi is as ruthless as you always like to imply, guess whose chances would rise substantially under those circumstances…

            Mmm, hmm…

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I’ve always felt that the top step on the podium should get awarded more points than it does. Everyone else did lose after all.

          • mickey says:

            I respect your opinion Scott, muy opinion is just a little different.

            Rossi, ruthless? Nooooooooooo, that’s not his rep at all. Like in practice cutting off Vinales. No doubt in my mind a calculated move to send a message to young Maverick. Then in an interview Rossi said “oh was there a problem? I don’t know anything about it. Vinales said something but I don’t know what he was talking about. I will have a conversation with him and we will work it out”. lol

  7. ROXX says:

    That penalty on Rossi from Race Direction was pure BS!
    Zarco forced the issue and Rossi did the safest thing he could do.

    It created a possible situation for Pedrosa and Rossi that would have been extremely unfair.
    It also obviously created confusion in the pit lanes since the teams can only communicate via board.

    Bad form from the race directors in creating a possible mess!

    • Vrooom says:

      Agreed, that was forced on him by Zarco.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      If RD didn’t hand out penalties for that kind of thing, we would have riders setting traps for the guy behind them to manufacture a close call and run off track to gain a few tenths.

      That said, it was a bum deal for Rossi. No way he could have seen Zarco slipping in there. Rossi’s actions following the contact were reasonable to me. At least it didn’t matter in the end.

      • mickey says:

        again there was no contact. It was tight but the on board cameras clearly show there was no contact between the riders and both riders said as much in their post race interviews.

    • Fivespeed302 says:

      What was the actual penalty? I missed that part.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “That penalty on Rossi from Race Direction was pure BS!”

      ironically it was actually one of the few CORRECT calls i’ve seen the stewards make in the past 25 years. i mean since they have so few…? it’s understandable how we might be quick to lump this one in with all the rest.

      re: “Bad form from the race directors in creating a possible mess!”

      OVERRULED…!!! (Supreme Court Justice and author of NATCORK voice)

  8. Hot Dog says:

    The track surface at COTA is pretty damned bumpy for such a new facility. I saw riders out of their saddles, on many occasions, due to bumps on the track surface. I wonder if the cheapest bid was accepted for engineering, compaction and materials to build the racing surface? Just wondering……..

    • Scott says:

      Earth moves. Don’t blame the track designer, blame whoever designed this planet.

      • Hot Dog says:

        “Don’t blame the track designer”, my backside! If a road can be built in Dakota, that doesn’t heave when it’s -40 deg F and the frost is 4’deep, I say a race track in Texas, with it’s sissy warm temps, could be built without a undulating surface. Somebody’s got some ‘splainin to do.

        • Tim C says:

          Fine, as mentioned below, here’s some ‘splainin.’ Not saying it’s not possible to do better, but it does appear that there are unexpected difficulties.

          “That is evidently not at all the case. The soil consultant’s recommendation was that the circuit be excavated to a depth of 8 feet, that a liner be put in (presumably to exclude the local water table) followed by specified stable backfill. This was supposedly carried out at great cost and sounds to me like proper ‘due diligence.'”

          PS – The crux of the biscuit, is the apostrophe (‘).

        • SF848 says:

          According to the MotoGP commentary, heavy touring cars with high horsepower created those undulations by “pulling” on the surface and displacing the ground underneath. Seems to me the engineers did not take into account that type of racing.

          • Tim C says:

            Well, I’d be interested where they’re getting that. Cameron mentions specifically that this is different from issues caused by cars (albeit braking) at Laguna Seca, so I’d infer that his remarks likely apply to acceleration loads as well.

            At any rate, TV commentary vs. someone as thorough as KC – no offense intended but I think I’ll go with Cameron’s take initially.

            Incidentally, I tried some more digging without much luck, but the Wikipedia article on the track says part of the site is flood plain….

          • PatrickD says:

            When truck racing was all the rage in the UK in the late 1980s, they were rippling the track at the braking points to an alarming degree. This seems to have been overcome, but the braking of racing cars causes a similar issue. Of course, the braking areas and tip in points of the bikes verses the cars are quite separate, but I did think that might be the issue with the MM crash at the last round. I’d guess that the MotoGP guys are tipping in kind of close to where the cars are at their heaviest deceleration.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “heavy touring cars with high horsepower created those undulations by “pulling” on the surface and displacing the ground underneath.”

            Formula 1 cars G-loading in the braking zone. a very well known and well documented problem.

            F1 aerodynamics, “they kick like a mutha”.

    • Tim C says:

      I am not sure if mentioning another site is poor form, but since MD doesn’t really have engineering-analysis articles, head over to CW for some stuff from Cameron on it. One of his posts mentions how the soil was apparently prepped correctly and everything, but the nature of the ground there makes it look like this wasn’t enough.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “MD doesn’t really have engineering-analysis articles”

        no worries they’ve got something better…

        (wait for it)

        an IN-HOUSE ANORAK.

  9. Chris says:

    I think Lorenzo needs mindfulness training

  10. VLJ says:

    On a different note…

    How long will it be until Zarco wins a MotoGP race, and will he be the first guy in forever to take a satellite ride and use it as a stepping stone to a factory seat and a MotoGP championship?

    He is just astonishingly good. Pick a category: bike control, sheer speed, fearlessness, competitiveness, set-up skills, commitment, intelligence, race craft, adaptability, level-headed maturity. Most MotoGP riders possess a couple-few of these traits, but Zarco seems to nail them all.

    I think he will win a race this season, maybe even a dry race. Winning a title will require landing either Dani’s or Valentino’s seat, and we know #46 is signed for two years, so Johan needs to grab Dani’s ride next season, otherwise it won’t happen.

    • PABLO says:

      Yep, he has a serious amount of skills. Unfortunatly he also has zero chance of getting Dani’s ride as he is not Spanish.

  11. VLJ says:

    The obvious question is whether Rossi deserved the .03-second penalty. On the one hand, he clearly had nowhere to go. Once Zarco came up from behind and made contact, forcing Rossi off line, Rossi either runs off the track or they both crash. That one was completely Zarco’s fault. Knowing this, I assume Race Direction made the decision that Rossi stayed on the gas too long, thus profiting from being forced off the track.

    So, apparently Rossi was supposed to exit the track, but slow down enough so that when he re-entered the track he would maintain only the same advantage he held before he was run off the track.

    Yeah, good luck with that. The collision forcing him off line happened in the blink of an eye, and he was back on track in another blink of an eye. Apparently he was supposed to gauge what would have been a curving blind spot behind him and let off the gas just enough to maintain the original gap upon re-entry.

    I just don’t see how RD could expect him to gauge such a thing in real time and execute it precisely to their satisfaction.

    I agree with the announcers who said that Rossi had no choice but to do what he did, and the penalty was unduly harsh. In any case, I would imagine that everyone involved is glad the penalty ended up having no bearing on the outcome.

    Otherwise, while this was clearly a huge result for Marquez, I think it was even bigger for Rossi. Going into this weekend, most people were fairly confident that Marquez would finish this race in no worse than second place, so it was really only a matter of whether he would garner twenty or twenty-five points. For Rossi, however, CoTA was just as clearly one of his obvious bogey tracks, a place where he easily could have given back all the hard-earned results of the first two rounds. Now, instead of heading to Europe a mile behind his teammate and only slightly ahead of Marquez, suddenly he finds himself leading the championship upon garnering a career-best finish in Texas.

    He still needs to win races, but now he knows he’s in this championship hunt for the long haul.

    Now it’s real. Game on.

    • mickey says:

      First off, Zarco did not come up and make contact, the riders never made contact and Zarco came underneath and was parallel to Rossi when Rossi tried to tip in and shut the door too late. If Rossi had continued they would have made contact and in all likelihood both would have crashed so Rossi stood it up, went straight, and looked back at Zarco to assign blame. We have seen this movie from Rossi several times over the years allowing him to cut across the curvy part of the track and resume while gaining distance. I think he used it against Marquez last year. I swear he knows the best place to pull this manuever at every track and uses it if opportunity presents itself. He had little choice once he stood it up other than go straight but you are not allowed to gain advantage when leaving the track and reentering, thus the penalty.

      It was obviously an aggressive move on Zarcos part, but MotoGP is chock full of aggressive moves, it’s what makes it exciting. Rossi makes aggressive moves, Marquez makes aggressive moves. Dani makes few aggressive moves and it’s one of the strikes against him, one of the things that he needs to win although too late at this point. It was a good and solid move by Zarco, especially for a rookie

      • VLJ says:

        “First off, Zarco did not come up and make contact, the riders never made contact and Zarco came underneath and was parallel to Rossi when Rossi tried to tip in and shut the door too late.”

        There was contact, and it was initiated by Zarco trying to squeeze into a space already occupied by Rossi, who was on his normal racing line.

        The rest of your bit about Rossi there is pure tin foil hat conspiracy theory nonsense. In each instance, Rossi was the leading rider, so he couldn’t plan in advance when the trailing rider would try to stuff it in and run him off the track. Rossi is great, but he’s not a hypnotist or mind-reader.

        Pure nonsense.

        • mickey says:

          watch it again, read the interviews and please point out where either rider said there was contact. Both said it was “tight”. Neither claimed contact had been made, and if it had Rossi would have surely said so. Reporters would be reporting it, and probably race direction would have penalized Zarco for causing contact.

          Show me a race where no rider has cut inside another rider causing him to back off and alter his line. It happens aaaaaall the time.

          Lessee Marquez and Rossi at Assen, Rossi and Stoner at Laugna Seca, Rossi and Lorenzo at.. It seems to happen a lot to Rossi.

        • mickey says:

          Johann Zarco, P5: “I wanted to follow the top group so I pushed to stay close to Valentino and I was able to fight with him, which was fantastic. We came very close at one point because I had a bit more speed than him in the third corner, and maybe it was a bit too tight but fortunately, nothing serious happened and he went on to finish second. I was quite fast into the corner and I could keep the line, but he had to cut the track

          Valentino Rossi: “Today, the problem was Zarco. He’s very fast, he rides very well and has great potential but this isn’t Moto2 and if you want to overtake you overtake in a different way – he always arrives too delayed. He needs to stay a little more quiet!”

          Marc Marquez: “The move was aggressive but everyone is pushing 100%. I’m an aggressive rider, Valentino is an aggressive rider. We’ve overtaken strongly in the past, we do now and we will do in the future. I think if you are an aggressive rider, you need to understand that others are aggressive too. This is racing. It was tight and aggressive.

          • mickey says:

            another Rossi quote

            “For me it’s not right, because I have two choices: or I do like this or we touch and we crash,” Rossi said.

            and Zarco

            “It was necessary to do it like this,” Zarco explained, “because there was an opportunity to pass him, and if I asked myself, ‘can I do it?’ maybe I crash. So, necessary just to do it. “

          • VLJ says:

            mickey, you failed to include the rest of Marquez’s quote, in which he went on to say that there should have been no penalty imposed on Rossi.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “For me it’s not right, because I have two choices: or I do like this or we touch and we crash, Rossi said.”

            OR there’s option #3…

            YOU GET OWNED…!!!

            “suck it up buttercup”. (Sete Gibernau voice overlooking last corner at Jerez)

      • SF848 says:

        Interestingly, hyperaggressive moves by Lorenzo or Marquez (meaning full on contact, sometimes resulting in riders crashing) gets a slap on the wrist. Rossi does not seem to get such margin of error…

    • Ricky Crue says:

      Yeah, I am not so sure I agree with RD on the penalty, but in the end Rossi more that covered the spread when he got around Dani. All things considered I agree with you, it was a bigger weekend for Vale, than it was Marc.

    • Vrooom says:

      Excellent analysis. Rossi seemed to have no choice, and having a firm grip on the championship puts him into good shape for the return to Europe.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      We all saw Rossi’s line. He left a door open, and Zarco put his foot through. Rossi closed it up, but it was just a little too late. It was an aggressive but fair move by Zarco. Rossi also reacted as expected when leaning in and suddenly finding another rider where one might not expect. What else was there to do really?

      Race Direction’s opinion was that Rossi needed to effectively cede the position to Zarco once he decided to make the move to run off track. Instead he bee-lined for Pedrosa rather than wander back on along side of or behind Zarco. I don’t know how easily Rossi could have implemented such a thing under those circumstances, but that is apparently the penalty-free move Race Direction would have wanted him to take. At least Rossi didn’t suffer for it.

      We need these kind of penalties, even if the innocent have to pay a price now and then. Otherwise you will have riders sucking in the guy right behind them just so that they can be “forced” off track to pick up a few tenths. That is both unfair and dangerous.

      • VLJ says:

        Unless you believe Rossi is also clairvoyant in addition to all his other qualities, there is no way Rossi intentionally sucked Zarco in there. He was on his normal racing line, and when he turned in he found Zarco jammed into the same spot. There is no way Rossi planned it or intentionally made it happen.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: The obvious question is whether Rossi deserved the .03-second penalty(?)

      A: yes.

      right, it’s all settled, time for tea.

  12. mickey says:

    Did Norm call it or what? A digger for Vinales. That sure tightens up the championship.

    Marquez was flawless. Rossi superb, steady, crafty. Dani looked a bit like his old self and a got a podium. Awesome.

    Zarco continues to impress and Crutchlow ran a good race.

    Lorenzo can’t be sleeping at night.

    Yea baby, I love watching MotoGP.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: Did Norm call it or what? A digger for Vinales.

      A: it’s a gift. (Norm breathes on finger nails then shines them on his polo)

      re: “Marquez was flawless”

      OMG, don’t short me on me MARAUD call, though that was a “gimme”.

  13. Scott says:

    “Well, well, well… Just keep it up, boys! Muwahahaha!”

    – Rossi, rubbing his palms together

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