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MotoGP Americas GP: Rins takes first Honda win after Bagnaia crashes out of lead

LCR rider Alex Rins ended Honda’s MotoGP victory drought with a dominant maiden win for the marque at the Americas Grand Prix after Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of the lead.

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Alex Rins, Team LCR Honda

Bob Meyer

Honda had gone winless in MotoGP since the 2021 Emilia Romagna GP, while LCR has gone without victory since the 2018 Argentina GP.

While times have continued to be tough for Honda in 2023, Rins built on a podium in the sprint race on Saturday to score his sixth career grand prix victory on Sunday having piled early pressure on poleman Bagnaia.

Reigning world champion Bagnaia dominated the sprint and was expected to do so again in the grand prix, but crashed out of the lead on lap eight of 20.

This released Rins into a dominant lead, and despite a brief surge from VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini, the LCR rider cruised to victory by 3.498 seconds.

Marini held onto second for his first podium in MotoGP as 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo scored his first rostrum of the campaign in third.

Bagnaia grabbed the holeshot off the line from pole, narrowly holding the position from Rins, as KTM’s Jack Miller leaped up from 10th to third ahead of Marini.

Behind, Pramac’s Jorge Martin crashed into Gresini’s Alex Marquez at Turn 3 – the latter taken to the medical centre for checks afterwards.

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Luca Marini, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

As Bagnaia headed Rins, Aleix Espargaro crashed at Turn 12, while Quartararo passed Marini for fourth just ahead of the Aprilia rider before his tumble.

Bagnaia opened up a lead of around half a second over the first two laps, but Rins kept the Ducati rider in his sights.

The top two were able to put a second between themselves and Miller, who very briefly in the early stages put them under some pressure.

Bagnaia’s lead swelled to just over a second as he started the sixth lap, but Rins had reeled the Italian in come the end of the tour and had a look at making a move into the penultimate corner.

Miller’s podium hopes ended moments later on lap seven as he crashed out at Turn 7, releasing Quartararo into third ahead of Marini.

This put 2.3s between the leading duo and the rest of the pack, with Rins keeping the pressure on Bagnaia.

As Bagnaia tipped into the Turn 2 right-hander on lap eight, the Ducati rider lost the front-end of his Ducati and fell out of contention.

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Bob Meyer

Rins was released into a 2.3s lead, while Marini found a way past Quartararo using the sheer power of his 2022-spec Ducati on the back straight on lap 13.

Marini briefly got Rins’ lead down to as low as 1.7s at the end of lap 13, but the Spaniard responded brilliantly to boost his gap to 2.6s two tours later.

Rins – who admitted at the start of the COTA weekend that he felt undervalued by Honda – made no mistakes over the rest of the race to score his first win for Honda and LCR’s 100th podium.

Marini was able to pull away from Quartararo to score his first podium in MotoGP by 1.438s, while Maverick Vinales on the factory Aprilia headed RNF’s Miguel Oliveira in fourth.

Marco Bezzecchi was sixth on the sister VR46 Ducati and maintains his championship lead thanks to Bagnaia’s crash, the Argentina GP winner now 11 points clear.

Johann Zarco was seventh at the chequered flag on his Pramac Ducati from Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli, Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio and Tech3 GASGAS rookie Augusto Fernandez.

Ducati stand-in Michele Pirro was 11th from Tech3 replacement Jonas Folger, while KTM’s Brad Binder was the last of the 13 finishers after remounting from a late crash.

Rins was the only Honda rider to finish, as LCR team-mate Takaaki Nakagami, and factory team duo Joan Mir and Stefan Bradl crashed out.

RNF’s Raul Fernandez retired on lap seven with an issue.

Full MotoGP Americas GP results:

Cla Rider Bike Gap Interval
1 Spain Alex Rins Honda    
2 Italy Luca Marini Ducati 3.498 3.498
3 France Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 4.936 1.438
4 Spain Maverick Viñales Aprilia 8.318 3.382
5 Portugal Miguel Oliveira Aprilia 9.989 1.671
6 Italy Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 12.049 2.060
7 France Johann Zarco Ducati 12.242 0.193
8 Italy Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 20.399 8.157
9 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 27.981 7.582
10 Spain Augusto Fernandez KTM 28.217 0.236
11 Italy Michele Pirro Ducati 32.370 4.153
12 Germany Jonas Folger KTM 1'08.065 35.695
13 South Africa Brad Binder KTM 1'23.012 14.947
  Germany Stefan Bradl Honda    
  Japan Takaaki Nakagami Honda    
  Spain Joan Mir Honda    
  Italy Francesco Bagnaia Ducati    
  Australia Jack Miller KTM    
  Spain Raúl Fernández Aprilia    
  Spain Alex Marquez Ducati    
  Spain Aleix Espargaro Aprilia    
  Spain Jorge Martin Ducati    

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