Indianapolis, Indiana – World Champion Marc Marquez (Honda) won his 10th consecutive MotoGP race on Sunday at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, with Yamaha team-mates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi joining him on the podium.
A hard-fought win saw Marquez become the first rider since Mick Doohan in 1997 to win 10 premier-class races in a row. It was also the 100th win for a Spanish rider in the premier class and the 500th win for Spain across all categories.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso got the hole shot but Rossi, in a stunning return to form after the summer break, came up off the second row of the grid to grab the lead in the second corner, with Marquez, who’d started from pole, in third.
Lorenzo, by contrast, got mugged at the start and wound up in sixth by Turn 2; it took him three laps to catch up to Marquez, but by lap five the top four were within touching distance of each other, changing places on almost every corner.
At the start of lap 10 lap Rossi led from Marquez, Lorenzo and Dovizioso; both Lorenzo and Marquez dived past Rossi in Turn 2, but the two Yamaha riders almost colliding, putting Marquez in the lead with Rossi second and Lorenzo third.
Rossi immediately struck back in the last corner but had a huge moment as his knee clipped the kerbstones, causing him to lose vital seconds. Lorenzo then began to close the gap of 0.4sec to his team-mate again and passed Rossi on lap 15.
He then set off in pursuit of the world champion but couldn’t close the gap, finishing 1.8 seconds adrift with Rossi a further 4.5 seconds in arrears, becoming the first rider in the history of motorcycle Grand Prix to score 4000 premier-class points.
Dovizioso faded to seventh in the closing stages while Marquez’ team-mate Dani Pedrosa’s gamble on a harder front tyre paid off as he came through from eighth on the grid to finish fourth, ahead of Yamaha Tech 3 team-mates Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, who’d had a heavy crash on Saturday in which he aggravated an old finger injury.
Cal Crutchlow came home 20 seconds behind his Ducati team-mate Dovizioso in eighth, just ahead of Honda privateer Scott Redding. Hiroshi Aoyama on another open-class Honda rounded out the top 10 but there was bad luck for his substitute colleague Leon Camier, who retired with six laps to go.
Mika Kallio (Kalex) held his nerve for a charge to victory in a shortened 16-lap contest, after the race cut short by a red flag due to a crash involving Azlan Shah (Kalex), Anthony West (Speed up), Mattia Pasini (Kalex) and Randy Krummenacher (Suter) in Turn 10 on lap 4.
Pasini was initially unconscious after the crash, but revived to walk away; he was taken to hospital for precautionary scans, whilst Krummenacher’s Suter was too badly damaged to re-start.
The race was restarted for 16 laps with the riders in their original grid positions and Kallio repeated the great start that had seen him build up a lead of more than two seconds in the first stint.
He came home 1.38 seconds ahead of impressive rookie Maverick Viñales (Kalex) while Suter rider Dominique Aegerter’s good form continued in third.
A mistake from Tito Rabat (Kalex) under pressure from Viñales with two laps to go dropped him from second to fourth, allowing Kallio to close to within seven points of Rabat in the championship standings.
Simone Corsi (Kalex), Sandro Cortese (Kalex), Hafizh Syahrin (Kalex), veteran Alex De Angelis (Suter), West and Johann Zarco (Caterham Suter) made up the top 10.
A great battle saw a front running group pull away in the early laps with the lead changing hands throughout the 23-lap race, but Efren Vasquez (Honda) was in front when it mattered for his first Grand Prix win after 116 starts.
Romano Fenati (KTM) held the lead in the final stages but missed out by 0.065sec on the finish line to finish second place, with Jack Miller (KTM) third to keep his title challenge alive.
A remarkable ride saw Honda rider Alexis Masbou just miss the podium after he started 11th and dropped to 30th on the first lap, incredibly fighting back to contest the lead and eventually finish fourth.
Spanish team-mates from the Estrella Galicia Honda outfit Alex Rins and Alex Marquez finished fifth and sixth respectively, with Rins holding the lead at the half-way stage after coming from 12th on the grid.
Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra), Juanfran Guevara (Kalex KTM), South African Brad Binder (Mahindra) and Jakub Kornfeil (KTM) completed the top 10.