With his third win of the 2013 season, the rookie Marc Márquez extended his MotoGP championship lead at the Red Bull US Grand Prix. Combined with his German GP performance, Marquez became the youngest rider to win to races in a row in the premier class. Marquez is also the first-ever rider to win at the challenging Laguna Seca track in his rookie appearance there.
The Repsol Honda rider got the better of Stefan Bradl to seal victory after stalking the LCR Honda until passing him on lap 19 of 32, and eventually took the chequered flag almost 2.3 seconds clear of the German.
For Bradl it was a career first podium in the MotoGP class, after starting from pole position for the first time. The 2011 Moto2 World Champion led the race off the start and looked confident out front, but could not hold off the advances of a determined Márquez.
Valentino Rossi completed a third consecutive podium by taking third, after holding off the late challenge of Álvaro Bautista who pushed him hard for the final rostrum spot in the final laps and ended just 0.1s off the Yamaha rider.
Rossi got a great shot off the second row of the grid to slot into second position heading into Turn 1, but he soon had Márquez on his tail. One of the highlights of the race came on the fourth lap when the young pretender passed his boyhood hero on a section of track that has come to be so well associated with The Doctor.
Márquez went up the inside of the Yamaha rider through the Corkscrew to force his passage into second, and the pair shared a laugh about it in parc fermé after the conclusion of the race. Rossi performed a similar move on Casey Stoner at the famous section of the track back in 2008.
“I expected before I came here that I would struggle more because on TV it looks so tricky, this circuit," said Márquez after victory. "But from FP1 I felt so good.
"It takes time to learn where the bumps are. Yesterday I found one in Turn 8 when I crashed! But today in the race it was so good!
I'm very very happy. It's a new circuit, we took 25 points so I'm really happy because now it's the summer and it's so good to go into it with that result!
Dani Pedrosa, back in action less than a week after fracturing his collarbone at the Sachsenring and missing the German GP, rode to an admirable fifth place with Jorge Lorenzo – also riding in a considerable amount of pain with the same injury – taking sixth as the pair did their utmost to limit the damage of Márquez's romp to victory.
Cal Crutchlow claimed seventh, with Ducati pairing Nicky Hayden – who this weekend confirmed he will not be remaining with the Italian factory team in 2014 – and Andrea Dovizioso and CRT rider Héctor Barberá completing the top 10.
Coming off a brutal international schedule, the competitors will enjoy a four-week break before returning to the U.S. for Round 10, the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
MotoGP World Championship standings after Laguna Seca:
1. Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda – 163 points
2. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda – 147
3. Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing – 137
4. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing – 117
5. Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Tech 3 – 116
6. Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda – 84
7. Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team – 81
8. Álvaro Bautista, Gresini Honda – 71
9. Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team – 65
10. Aleix Espargaró, Aspar ART – 52