The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) was home to the 15th round of the 2021 MotoGP Championship, and was absolutely annihilated by the returning King of Cota, Marc Marquez. One of the most physically demanding circuits on the calenda, Cota always separates the men from the boys. And yesterday’s race was no exception. It was the MotoGP race of the Americas and this is what we’d score the performances of the top ten.. out of ten.
1st Marc Marquez – 10/10
You’d have to say that MM93’s race went exactly to plan. He might not have started from pole position, but he was odds-on favourite to win the race. When he cleared off after about 5 laps, I don’t think anyone was surprised. That said, it was far from a forgone conclusion; a couple of years ago (last time the MotoGP crew were in the Americas) he handed Rins the win by crashing out of a comfortable lead. Given Marc’s form this year, I was half expecting him to throw it away again. But he didn’t, and he won. So it’s full marks for Marc.
2nd Fabio Quartararo – 9/10
Fabio Quarter-pounder didn’t have the pace to stay with Marquez in COTA, but he didn’t really need to. He extended his championship lead and beat the people that he had to; why risk a race for the lead if you don’t need to. He’s been on the podium more times than not this year, and now all he needs is a couple more and he’ll be the 2021 MotoGP World Champ. Go on, my son.
3rd Pecco Bagnaia – 8/10
It might not have looked as though Pecco had the pace in the early stages of the race, but as the laps ticked away, everyone started to come back to him. Still, he’ll have to do better than that, if he’s going to stand any chance of taking the championship away from Fabio. And with three rounds left, he’s running out of time.
4th Alex Rins – 7/10
It looked like Rins was going to be right in the mix in the first lap or so, but he soon started to drop back. Like Pecco, he was gifted a few places by the waning Miller, and the long-lap-penalty-taking Martin. A decent result when all things are considered, and one that’s probably better than he deserved… possibly.
5th Jorge Martin – 8/10
I thought we were going to see Jorge Martin on the podium, but after about 15 laps, it looked as though he started to struggle. Whether he was struggling with the tyres, the heat or his fitness, I don’t know, but his pace did seem to fall off a bit of a cliff. If you ask me, the long-lap penalty was a bit harsh, because he lost a lot of time when he ‘cut the corner’. But rules are rules.
6th Enea Bastianini – 9/10
When you start from 16th on the grid of a MotoGP race, you probably don’t expect a top six result. But that’s exactly what Bastia pulled off yesterday. Some will argue that he was handed an extra two positions on the last lap thanks to the Miller/Mir incident. I reckon he deserved it, though. And if the race had been another lap or two, he’d have probably had them anyway. With the race pace he had, he could have probably managed another podium finish. If only he’d he qualified a bit higher up.
7th Jack Miller – 7/10
Thriller Miller looked as strong as anyone (apart from maybe Marquez) at the beginning of the race, pushing his way through from 10th on the grid. But his pace soon disappeared. Maybe he pushed his hard rear tyre too hard? Unfortunately for him, he found himself in the clutches of Mir, who punted him wide on the last lap and let Bastianini through. And Jack was not happy about it.
8th Joan Mir – 6/10
It wasn’t just Kevin Schwantz’s famous number font that Mir borrowed for the MotoGP of the Americas. It was his famous win it or bin it riding style, too. As it happens, he didn’t win it or bin it, but it looked like he was prepared to crash on the last lap; and take poor old Jack Miller out with him. The move was harsh but those are the kind of moves you’ve got to put on people when they have so much more power than you. You could say he needn’t have bothered as he ended up further back than he started (after Bastia squeezed through and he was demoted one position). But nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.
9th Brad Binder – 6/10
Everyone always expects Brad Binder to shine on a Sunday. And whilst yesterday wasn’t a podium finish, he was the first KTM home. He did improved on his qualifying position by two as well, so that’s something. Not a terrible day at the office. But at the same time, not the best.
10th Pol Espargaro – 5/10
It must be difficult being on a Repsol Honda, and seeing your teammate, Marc Marquez win by nearly five seconds. But I suppose that’s what Pol signed up for. Like binder, he improved on his qualifying position by two places, so that’s something positive to take away.