Bagnaia Triumphs in Drama-Filled MotoGP Sprint at the Circuit of the Americas
Ducati’s current MotoGP champion, Pecco Bagnaia, easily claimed victory in the series’ most uneventful sprint race at the Circuit of the Americas, while Fabio Quartararo’s disastrous 2023 season persisted with a crash.
Bagnaia anticipated his main competition to come from Alex Marquez in the 10-lap sprint, but he faced off against LCR-run Honda rider Alex Rins early on as other Ducati riders experienced various issues.
Both Marquez and points leader Marco Bezzecchi had slow starts, while Bezzecchi’s VR46 teammate Luca Marini nearly crashed at Turn 3, plummeting not only from third but out of the top 10.
Rins proved to be a tough initial challenger, briefly taking the lead at Turn 1 before running wide and allowing Bagnaia to reclaim the position. Rins overtook Bagnaia at Turn 7, only for the reigning champion to swiftly regain the lead on the back straight.
Striving to maintain pressure on Bagnaia, Rins ultimately faltered at Turn 12 during the following lap, veering wide and letting Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro move into second place.
Quartararo nearly lost third place as well after making contact with Rins’ back at Turn 13. The 2021 champion’s chances for a sprint podium finish faded when he dropped positions to Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin and Marquez at Turn 12 on the fourth lap.
Quartararo slid out of contention at Turn 1 during the fifth lap but managed to rejoin the race and finish 19th, just ahead of Tech3 Gas Gas substitute Jonas Folger, who was making his first MotoGP start since 2017.
Bagnaia capitalized on Rins’ error to secure a solid lead, and his victory seemed certain even before reaching the halfway mark. The real excitement came from the contests for the remaining podium spots.
Rins ultimately secured second place with a successful Turn 7 overtake on the seventh lap, and Espargaro fell behind Martin after failing to counter Rins’ move at Turn 12.
Despite battling illness, Martin held off Espargaro’s aggressive challenge to claim third place. Marquez could have joined the fight but crashed at Turn 12 on the sixth lap.
Brad Binder finished a distant fifth for KTM, followed by the VR46 pair of Bezzecchi and Marini. Bezzecchi’s result allowed him to maintain a one-point lead over Bagnaia in the championship standings.
The last point-scoring positions in the top nine went to RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira and KTM’s Jack Miller, who capitalized on Johann Zarco’s decline after an initially strong performance in the top five.
Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales had a disastrous start and faced an uphill battle throughout the race, but he eventually finished 10th, narrowly missing Miller by 0.291 seconds and earning a single point.
Ducati test rider Michele Pirro also crashed shortly after Quartararo in the same spot and remounted, but he ultimately brought his Ducati into the pits.
Sprint race outcomes from the 2023 MotoGP Americas round at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, representing the third event of the 21-round world championship.
Position Rider Nationality Team Time/Difference 1 Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP23) 20m 35.270s 2 Alex Rins SPA LCR Honda (RC213V) +2.545s 3 Jorge Martin SPA Pramac Ducati (GP23) +4.706s 4 Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP23) +5.052s 5 Brad Binder RSA Red Bull KTM (RC16) +8.175s 6 Marco Bezzecchi ITA Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22) +8.877s 7 Luca Marini ITA Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22) +9.453s 8 Miguel Oliveira POR RNF Aprilia (RS-GP22) +10.768s 9 Jack Miller AUS Red Bull KTM (RC16) +12.448s 10 Maverick Viñales SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP23) +12.739s 11 Johann Zarco FRA Pramac Ducati (GP22) +14.251s 12 Joan Mir SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +14.988s 13 Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V) +15.592s 14 Franco Morbidelli ITA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +16.534s 15 Raul Fernandez SPA RNF Aprilia (RS-GP22) +19.290s 16 Augusto Fernandez SPA Tech3 GASGAS (RC16)* +23.128s 17 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA Gresini Ducati (GP22) +25.626s 18 Stefan Bradl GER Repsol Honda (RC213V) +25.787s 19 Fabio Quartararo FRA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +27.169s 20 Jonas Folger GER Tech3 GASGAS (RC16) +46.973s DNF Alex Marquez SPA Gresini Ducati (GP22) DNF DNF Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP23) DNF
MotoGP Sprint Americas 2023 MotoGP Sprint Americas 2023 MotoGP Sprint Americas 2023
- MORE MOTO GP!
- Texan circuit – Francesco Bagnaia secures pole position
- Also make sure you follow us on social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for all the latest updates between issues.