Paginas Amarillas HP 40’s Alex Rins had a tough start to the 2016 Moto2 season, only earning eighth at the season opener in Qatar. He did better at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, just missing the podium.But things changed drastically for the Spaniard at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas (CTOA) this Sunday for round three of the Moto2 Championship. Rins earned the pole by over two seconds ahead of Ajo Motorsports’ Johann Zarco, the winner of round two in Argentina, and followed this up with a dominate performance Sunday during the 19-lap Moto2 at the 3.4-mile Texan F1 circuit containing 20 corners.
Though Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten) beat Rins to the sharp turn one at COTA, Rins was got into the lead and had a half of second on the field by the time he crossed the start/finish line to start lap two.Behind, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Sam Lowes rode very aggressively, passing both Aegertare and Zarco for second on the second lap, and went to chase down Rins. The Brit would get close, but couldn’t make it happen.Rins beat Lowes to the line by 2.091 seconds. Earning third was Zarco, who finished 7.737 of a second behind.Rins, who has won all three Moto2 races he started from pole, is now second in points with 46 after three of 18 rounds. He trails Lowes by a mere point, and is only a point ahead of Zarco and two ahead of the man who won the season opener in Qatar, Garage Plus Interwetten’s Thomas Luthi.Speaking after the race, Alex Rins says “It was an incredible race and I just tried to push hard from the beginning. The last lap when it started to rain a little bit, my balls came up a little bit! Anyway, thanks to all the people who came here to support me and we’ll keep pushing the next race.”
Following is the official Argentina Moto2 Race Recap:
Starting in pole position for the first time in 2016, Rins looked to be back to his best as the Moto2 World Championship lined up on the grid for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas. There were a number of developments down the grid, Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) lining up on a completely rebuilt bike in ninth.All riders in the intermediate class opted for the same tyre combination: medium front and hard rear. Riders had been experiencing a drop in the tires after four or five laps in practice.The lights went out and it was Aegerter who led the 28 rider field uphill into the tight Turn 1. His lead wouldn’t last as Rins and Zarco slipped back past him, a number of other riders sent wide but all remaining upright. A strong first lap would see Rins cross the line over half a second ahead of second place, several aggressive moves from Lowes, helping to bunch the group up.Lowes continued on like a man possessed, pushing his way through on Aegerter with ease and setting his sights on Zarco. Before the second lap was over, Lowes was leading the second group and frantically pushing to stop Rins from running away even further. On the second lap it was also announced that Axel Pons (AGR Team) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) were handed ride through penalties for jump starts.Immediately in the 2:09s, Lowes broke away from the chasing pack and quickly reduced Rins’ lead to under a second. Zarco remained in third as Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) did all he could to get past, the German running off track on multiple occasions as he looked for his chance. As Folger dropped back, Aegerter took up his cause and hunted for a way through on Zarco. The battle for third allowed Lowes and Rins to extend their advantage.Able to consistently produce laps in the 2:09s, Lowes was able to slowly eat into Rins’ lead a tenth at a time. There was no such steady progress in the chasing group as Aegerter slammed through to third, his teammate Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) following him through at Turn 12 as he got past Zarco on the brakes. With Zarco no longer slowing him down, Aegerter immediately set his personal best lap of the race with clear track now ahead of him.On lap seven, Rins was able to respond to Lowes’ challenge and open his lead to over half a second once more. Behind, Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) battled with Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) as the pair joined the battle for the final podium step. After a slow start to the race, Zarco was able to get himself back to the head of the group.Zarco would not have it his own way as Luthi cut back ahead of him once more, the French rider now sandwiched between two Swiss riders with Aegerter behind in fifth. The second group would continue to brawl, Corsi and Nakagami capitalizing on every chance they were given.Lowes and Rins went through the motions of their dance at the front, the Brit edging in ever so slightly before Rins responded to maintain the gap at just over half a second. Lowes worked hard to stay with Rins as Zarco did the same with Luthi, all the while Nakagami edged closer and closer to a potential podium return. The Japanese rider tried an unconventional line at Turn 11, but was unable to stop his bike and dropped down to fifth.With five laps remaining, Zarco once more awoke and pulled himself back into third. Nakagami continued to show well, but soon found himself pushed off at Turn 1 by Simone Corsi, the Italian stealing the inside line. This gave Zarco breathing room once again, by this stage the podium seemed set as Lowes was now over a second back on Rins.But Folger had other ideas, the German, having had a quiet race at the back of the chasing group, burst into life as he began to battle with Luthi for fifth place. With this the final lap of the race began, Corsi once again throwing it up the inside at Turn 1, this time passing Luthi without issue.For the third time in his intermediate class career,Rins took victory. The Spaniard dominated the field and crossed the line two seconds ahead of Lowes who was in turn over six seconds ahead of Zarco. Aegerter would take fourth ahead of Folger.Simone Corsi, Tom Luthi, Xavier Simeon (QMMF Racing Team), Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team) and Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team) completed the top ten.For the first time in his career, Lowes leads the Moto2 World Championship with 47 points, but Alex Rins sits just a point behind on 46 and Zarco also remains in contention with 45 championship points. Luthi slips to fourth in the standings as he leaves Austin with 43 points.At the start of lap six, Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) pulled into the pits with a clutch issue. It would be a disastrous day for the Leopard Racing team as Miguel Oliveira fell at Turn 6, retiring soon after. Luca Marini (Forward Team) suffered a fall at Turn 11, brining Robin Mulhauser (CarXpert Interwetten) down with him. Both were unharmed.Efren Vazquez (JPMoto Malaysia) continues to receive treatment at a local hospital, having being diagnosed with a compressed T12 vertebra and a fractured right ankle after falling during Qualifying.The 2016 Moto2 Championship now breaks for two weeks ahead of round four in Jerez.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.