The Spanish conqueror dominated Texas once again.
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez grabbed an early lead Sunday and coasted to a fourth straight win at the Grand Prix of the Americas, ruthlessly dispatching any riders who thought they could challenge his supremacy in a state and a country where he's never lost in MotoGP.
Marquez' 26th victory extended his winning streak in the US to eight races since 2013. His only problem in America may be figuring out what to do with his expanding collection of black cowboy hats given to the Texas winner.
"I love Austin, the people, American style," Marquez said before his champagne podium celebration.
And well he should. He seems to grow more dominant every time he races here. Sunday's 6-second margin was his biggest yet and came against a field that after qualifying thought it finally had the pace to catch him.
Any hopes of that faded quickly. A slippery track caused several crashes and once Marquez was safety in the lead, the riders who were still upright figured it was best to just make it home safely.
Movistar Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo started second but struggled after a morning warmup lap crash and a mistake in the first turn that surrendered the lead to Marquez.
Lorenzo's only real chance to make it race came at the start. He rocketed off the start an up the 130-foot incline in the hairpin left first turn. But he pushed wide, Marquez slipped underneath and was off and running.
"I'm very happy to finish the race. After the crash in warmups it was hard to convince myself I could be competitive," Lorenzo said. "I thought I could be faster but it was impossible. I knew that from lap seven or eight."
That was a vastly different mindset after qualifying when Lorenzo and teammate Valentino Rossi joined Marquez on the front row and the tandem hoped to find a way to finally beat him. But Rossi was one of the first casualties, crashing out in the third lap and his race ended in a cloud of dust as his cycle slid into the gravel safety area.
Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso, who was knocked off the podium a week earlier in Argentina by a last-lap crash with teammate Andrea Iannone, was knocked out of the race Sunday in a violent crash on the sixth lap.
Marquez's Repsol Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa, wobbled his rear wheel and bounced to his right, straight into Dovizioso as they slowed into the first turn. Pedrosa immediately jumped up to check on Dovizioso, who was shaken but was able to walk off the track aided by marshals.
Iannone finished third Sunday, a result he called a relief after taking out his teammate a week ago.
"I needed this," Iannone said. "For us, it was very important. I had a lot of pressure."
Marquez said he told his crew not to tell him about the crashes behind him. All he wanted to hear about was his distance in front of whoever was in second.
"I was concentrating on my pace and I could see the distance increase step by step," Marquez said.
The victory sets up Marquez as the rider to catch for the championship after just three races. The 2013 and 2014 champion slipped back to third in 2015 when a wild season went all the way to a final race duel between Lorenzo and Rossi.
After crashing out in Argentina, Lorenzo needed the podium finish to keep pace with Marquez. The series now heads for Europe, where Lorenzo made his championship run last season. He trails leader Marquez by 21 points.
"Jorge is really tough in Europe," Marquez said. "After last year, our motivation is really high."
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