MotoGP™: Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia claim landmark win in Argentina
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) collected the first victory of his MotoGPTM career at Sunday’s Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina, third round ...
Sunday’s Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas (Round 4 of the 2022 MotoGPTM World Championship) was won by Enea Bastianini after another thriller at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, USA. The Gresini Racing rider was joined on the podium by Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) and Jack Miller (Lenovo Ducati Team), while the exceptional grip delivered by the MICHELIN Power Slick range saw several records fall over the weekend.
Five Ducati riders monopolized the top five places on the grid after qualifying at Austin, a first at this level since Honda achieved the same feat at Motegi, Japan, in 2003.
It was consequently tough to single out a favorite for the 500
The start of Sunday’s race saw Enea Bastianini (hard and soft MICHELIN Power Slicks front and rear) leap from fifth on the grid to figure in third spot during the first of the 20 laps, with Miller out in front. The Australian was initially chased by Martin until Lap 11, but then came under pressure from the Gresini Racing rider who took advantage of his tires’ outstanding grip to close the gap and pass thanks to a series of quick times, including the fastest lap of the afternoon (2m3.551s) 14
Once in control, the Italian continued to push to take the win by more than two seconds, in the process shaving more than 18 seconds off Austin’s previous race-duration record. Rins was second past the flag after squeezing past Miller at the end of the final lap.
The day’s top-five was rounded out by Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) and Francesco Bagnaia (Lenovo Ducati Team), while eight-time world champion Marc Márquez staged a spectacular fight-back from last place after a disastrous start to finish sixth.
On the tire front, any pre-race-week question marks there might have been following the resurfacing of the track to make it less bumpy were soon eclipsed by the fast, consistent times posted during the different practice sessions. In qualifying, two riders bettered the existing track lap record, while Bastianini, Márquez and Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) all improved on the previous race lap record.
The conditions on race day (track temperature: 34°C) led the majority of the field to fit hard and soft MICHELIN Power Slicks front and rear, with only two riders opting for the medium rear.
Thanks to his second win from four rounds, Bastianini is the new championship leader on 61 points, ahead of Rins (56) and Alex Espargaro (Aprilia Racing, 50).
Next round: Grande Prémio Tissot de Portugal, Portimao (April 22-24).