After debuting in 2013, Circuit of The Americas has become one of the most popular races on the MotoGP calendar, especially among Marc Márquez fans. Here’s five memorable moments from the Grand Prix of The Americas.
The King of COTA
Marc Márquez was aged 20 years and 63 days old when he won the inaugural MotoGP event at Circuit of the Americas in 2013, making him the youngest ever race winner in MotoGP. This maiden win was just the start of the Catalan rider’s giant killing run in MotoGP, which saw him win the World Championship in his rookie year. He has now won a total of 55 races and six World Championships! Márquez also maintained an unbeaten run at COTA until this year, with six straight victories. Given that the Honda rider is aged only 26, there’s a fair chance he will rack up a few more records before he hangs up his helmet.
With only three minutes remaining on the clock in qualifying for the 2015 Grand Prix of The Americas, Marc Márquez pulled off to the side of the circuit on the Main Straight after a warning light started flashing on his dash. Most riders would have accepted that their session was done, but not Márquez. Sprinting back to the pits, the World Champion jumped aboard his spare bike and completed one of the most incredible laps ever seen at the circuit to take pole position by 0.3 seconds, setting a new lap record for good measure.
Márquez notched up his fourth consecutive win at COTA in 2016 after a series of crashes took out many of his main rivals. The first major casualty was 7-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, whose race was over after he lost the front end of his bike in Turn 2 on the third lap. Four laps later, Dani Pedrosa lost control going up the hill into Turn 1, ploughing into the hapless Andrea Dovizioso. The latter was out on the spot, while Pedrosa continued for some laps before pulling into the pits to retire due to the crash damage. Both Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith also hit the deck, but were able to continue. Out front, Márquez increased his lead and eventually cruised to an easy victory, 6 seconds ahead of Jorge Lorenzo
The reign of Marc Márquez as King of COTA came to an abrupt end in this year’s Grand Prix of The Americas. Starting from pole position, Márquez was cruising to yet another victory at COTA until 12 laps from the end when he slid off the circuit under braking and was unable to get going again. This handed the lead to Valentino Rossi, but the Italian soon came under sustained pressure from the young Spanish rider Álex Rins, who got past with 3 laps remaining to record his maiden MotoGP victory.
Remembering the Kentucky Kid
Eddie Lawson, Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, Nicky Hayden. The USA has produced some of the best MotoGP riders of all time. The latter was remembered in a moving ceremony before the start of the 2019 Grand Prix of the Americas. With his family and a host of former champions in attendance, Hayden’s race number 69 was officially retired from MotoGP as the sport paid tribute to one of the most popular riders on the grid, who was tragically killed in a cycling accident in 2017. Third on the all-time list of race starts (218 between 2003-2016), Hayden won the 2006 World Championship for Honda. His best result at Circuit of The Americas was ninth in the inaugural 2013 race.