AUSTIN, Texas (AFP) - World motorcycling champion Marc Marquez of Spain won the Grand Prix of the Americas for the third straight year on Sunday, to get his 2015 MotoGP campaign on track.
After a disappointing fifth-place finish in the season-opening race in Qatar, Marquez rebounded at the Texas track, where he won for the first time in the elite MotoGP class.
A day after capturing pole position with dramatic late-session heroics, the 22-year-old Honda rider was in dominant form.
He finished more than 2.3 seconds ahead of Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, with nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi third on a Yamaha.
Rossi, the nine-time world champion who opened the season with a win in Qatar, remained atop the standings with 41 points, followed by his fellow Italian Dovizioso on 40 and Marquez on 36.
In a race delayed as organisers dealt with patches of water on the track, Dovizioso seized the initiative at the start, powering to the first-turn lead ahead of Rossi and Marquez.
The leaders were tightly bunched when Marquez made his move heading into the back straight on lap four. His move past Dovizioso was quickly answered by the Ducati rider, but Marquez would not be denied and at the end of the straight he again manoeuvred past to take the lead for good.
From there, he was never threatened, stretching his lead to as much as four seconds as Rossi and Dovizioso duelled for second behind him.
"I decided to keep calm in the early laps to try to understand the situation well, and when I started to find a feeling similar to practice, I decided to push the pace a bit," Marquez said. "That was when I was able to open up a gap."
Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo left it late, overtaking the Ducati of Andrea Iannone with only three laps remaining to snatch fourth place from the Italian, with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Bradley Smith rounding out the top six.
In the Moto2 race, Speed Up Racing's Sam Lowes of Britain shook off the effects of big crashes in practice and qualifying to win his first race at the level.
British Honda rider Danny Kent won the Moto3 race, his first win of 2015 and the third of his career.