Suzuki’s Alex Rins secured his maiden win in an incident-packed race in Texas, thus giving Suzuki’s its first premier class victory since the 2016 British GP.
As the lights went out it was LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow who got the better launch out of the front three on the grid, with Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi also getting off the line well as the duo pulled alongside polesitter Marc Marquez up the hill, but it was Marquez who was bravest on the brakes to grab the holeshot.
Rossi and Crutchlow slotted into second and third as the duo tried to keep tabs on the leader, with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso making a stellar start from P13 to move up to P6 on the opening lap.
Marquez didn’t get away from the clutches of Rossi straight away in the opening couple of laps, but the reigning World Champion then started to pull the pin and by lap five, the gap was 1.4 seconds.
Behind the Spaniard it was quickly becoming a battle for second, with Rossi and Crutchlow fighting with Pramac’s Jack Miller and Rins.
Crutchlow’s race then came to a premature end as he crashed out of contention at Turn 11 on Lap 6, which started a chain reaction of misery for Honda. With a three second lead on Lap 9, Marquez was clear of the rest and the magnificent seven was well in sight. But then the unthinkable happened. The King of COTA crashed, tucking the front at Turn 12, and through he remounted, he was unable to restart his RC213V.
Then, sensationally, he was quickly followed by teammate Jorge Lorenzo, with another chain issue forcing the Spaniard to retire.
Back at the front, Rins had got past Miller for third and it was soon Rossi vs Rins for the Americas GP win. With ten laps to go, Rossi was cracking the whip at the front with Rins less than half a second back, and Miller a furher two seconds adrift in a lonely third.
With four laps to go Rins made his move, with a clean and crisp pass up the inside. Rossi attempted to bite straight back at Turn 12, but ran in too hot and ran wide. This left Rins with a 0.7 advantage with three to go and then with two to go, with the gap still hovering at half a second, Rossi ran in deep at Turn 11.
Rins never looked back, crossing the line to take his maiden win in the class, thus becoming the first rider to win at the Circuit of the Americas in all the classes.
Rossi rode to his second consecutive second of the season to claim his 198th premier class podium, with Miller holding off some late pressure from Dovizioso to take his first Ducati podium.
Dovizioso finished fourth, ahead of Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli in fifth, with Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci in sixth. Petronas Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo finished in seventh, with KTM’s Pol Espargaro in eighth, Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia in ninth and LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami rounding out the top ten.
It was a miserable race for Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales. Both he and compatriot Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) were handed ride through penalties after clear jump starts, although Viñales bizarrely penalised himself even further by also taking the long lap penalty before coming through pitlane for his penalty.