(Reuters) - Polesitter Marc Marquez extended his perfect start to the MotoGP season by storming to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday to cap another dominating week in Texas.
It was the second consecutive wire-to-wire win for the 21-year Spanish world champion, who also took the checkered flag at the season-opener in Qatar last month after starting from pole.
Marquez, who claimed his first career MotoGP premier class win at the Circuit of the Americas last year, continued his love affair with the Austin layout, storming home 4.12 seconds in front of compatriot and factory Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa.
Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso on a Ducati was a distant third 20 seconds back of the winner followed by Germany’s Stefan Bradl and Britain’s Bradley Smith.
”I‘m so happy for this victory,“ said Marquez, who ended the race with a bit of drama with a wobble on the final corner. ”OK, we can say the race was too quiet and then for the show I did something in the end...but anyway I am very happy.
”The start was good, looks like I improved a little bit at that point.
”But anyway the race I think was, even for me, a little bit boring but those 25 points are important.
“This is my favorite circuit, so for that reason I get that victory. The next races will be different.”
It was the 11th time in 20 career starts that Marquez had started from pole and he reached the podium all 11 times.
The Spaniard’s legend continues to grow, becoming the first rider to win the first two races of the year from pole in the premier-class since Mick Doohan in 1995.
Boring or not, Marquez will head to Argentina for the third round of the championship sitting firmly atop the standings with a maximum 50 points with Pedrosa 14 back.
His performance all the more remarkable considering that the Spaniard fractured the fibula in his right leg while dirt-bike riding in February and is still recovering from the mishap, taking painkillers to race.
After dominating every practice session and qualifying, Marquez was quick to stamp his authority on the race as he and Pedrosa steadily pulled away from the field.
By the midway mark of the 21 lap-race, the contest had boiled down to a two-way battle between Marquez and Pedrosa, the two Honda riders opening up an 11 second gap on the chasing pack.
But by the final lap, Marquez was in complete control having built a nearly six-second advantage on Pedrosa and after a little scare at the finish celebrated another win.
”He (Marquez) was just a little too fast today,“ said Pedrosa. ”He had this three tenths maybe per lap and there was really no part of the track where I could pick up again. Every time I lost more.
“At the end it was hard because I had nothing to win in front, nothing to lose at the back. I just tried to keep my pace and get today a second because Marc was too fast.”
It was a surprise third place finish for Dovizioso and a big day for Ducati as they returned to the podium for the first time since September 2012.
”The feeling is something really special because we (Ducati) are struggling a lot for one year and we are still struggling but we keep pushing, we keep working,“ said Dovizioso. ”We didn’t have the pace to make a podium but we always tried.
”At the beginning I didn’t have the pace to stay at the front but I was focused and I didn’t make a mistake.
”I was really consistent all race and many riders have problems with the tires. We had a problem but maybe less.
“To get the podium at the end is an amazing feeling after one really difficult year.”
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Gene Cherry