AUSTIN, Texas -- Spain's Marc Marquez won his fifth consecutive MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday, and the series got a new season leader in Italy's Valentino Rossi.
Marquez earned his 30th career MotoGP win and his ninth in a row on American soil dating back to 2013.
The victory also gets the Repsol Honda rider back into the season title chase. Movistar Yamaha's Maverick Vinales, who won the first two races of the year, crashed early and didn't finish. With Vinales out, teammate Rossi took over the top spot with a second-place finish that made him the points leader as the series heads to Europe.
Marquez started from pole position. Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa grabbed the early lead through the first turn and held it until Marquez passed him with 13 laps to go in the 21-lap race.
A three-time series champion, Marquez has started from pole position in each of his Texas wins and has rarely faced a challenge to the checkered flag.
It looked for a while like Pedrosa would make this one difficult with his quick start off the line. But he never got any separation from Marquez, and the hunt was on.
Vinales, who won in Qatar and Argentina and pushed Marquez to the limit in qualifying, got jumped by Rossi and Pedrosa at the start and never recovered. Vinales was desperately fighting from fourth until a critical mistake on the third lap cost him when he lost balance and crashed out.
Rossi almost took a spill several laps later when his motorcycle brushed against MotoGP rookie Johann Zarco of France, but Rossi stayed upright and cut a corner through the chicane to keep position. Race officials hit Rossi with a 0.3-second penalty, but the time didn't make any difference at the finish as his gap over Pedrosa was larger.
Once passed, Pedrosa kept up the fight with Marquez for several laps before the leader started pulling away. That left Pedrosa fighting degrading tires to hang on to second ahead of Rossi, who caught him on Lap 19.
Out all by himself, Marquez simply had to bring it home without the same sort of mistakes that saw him crash out in Argentina and twice in Saturday practice. He had one nervous moment approaching the turn at the top of the first hill with about four laps to go but straightened out without major problems.
Rossi leads the season title chase with 56 points, six ahead of Vinales. Rossi, 38, has seven career MotoGP championships but none since 2009.