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After Three Straight Wins, Is Marquez Unbeatable at Austin?

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Honda’s Marc Marquez likes racing in the United States, apparently, having won all three Austin, Texas MotoGP events beginning in his rookie year of 2013. He has also ridden well at Indianapolis and Laguna Seca (chocking up a total of four MotoGP wins at those venues). If his performance in practice on the opening day of this year’s event is any indication, Marquez might just extend his winning streak on Sunday.

Marquez was quickest in both FP1 and FP2 … ending with a sizeable gap over the second quickest rider in FP2, Ducati’s Andrea Iannone.

Here is a press release from Honda previewing this weekend’s MotoGP event:

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) arrive in Texas this week still buzzing from a superb double-podium finish in last Sunday’s thrilling Argentine Grand Prix.

Marquez took his first victory of 2016 by an amazing seven seconds, thanks to his genius riding and brilliant engineering input from HRC and his Repsol Honda team. The win also moved the Spaniard into the championship lead and brings him back to the country where he has a remarkable record of success. Marquez is unbeaten in the MotoGP and Moto2 classes in the USA: that’s an amazing record of nine victories over five seasons at three different racetracks: Austin’s COTA, Indianapolis and Laguna Seca.

The 2013/2014 MotoGP king has won all three MotoGP races at COTA – including his maiden premier-class win at the track on April 21st 2013 – in addition to the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Indianapolis GPs and the 2013 US GP at Laguna Seca. He also won the 2011 and 2012 Moto2 races at Indianapolis, riding a Honda CBR600RR-powered Kalex.

Marquez will be looking to extend that record this weekend, but he knows it won’t be easy, despite his unbeaten race and pole-position record at COTA. The 23-year-old knows as well as anyone that MotoGP’s new technical regulations are making the racing more difficult to predict than ever, so despite his earlier pace at COTA he will need to start all over again this week, working to get the best out of the category’s brand-new control software and Michelin tires.

Pedrosa has also shown impressive speed at COTA. The former 125 and 250 World Champion chased his team-mate home in the 2013 and 2014 Americas races and would have been similarly competitive last year. Sadly, he missed the 2015 race because he was recuperating from surgery to fix an arm-pump problem.

The Argentine GP was both lucky and unlucky for Pedrosa. Barged off the track at the first corner, he completed the first lap way down in 15th place. From there he set about making up ground, his finishing position boosted by several top riders crashing out in the closing stages of the race.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) is hoping for his first finish of 2016 after sliding out of the Qatar and Argentine GPs. In Qatar the Briton fell due to a glitch with the control electronics and last weekend he was one of six victims of the low-grip conditions at the Termas del Rio Hondo circuit. Despite those disappointments, Crutchlow knows he is fast on his 2016 RC213V, so he has a very realistic hope of running up front this weekend.

Team-mates Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) and Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) will continue their learning process at COTA. Miller is riding his first season aboard a factory-spec MotoGP machine, after spending his rookie campaign on a lower-spec Open bike. The young Australian showed spectacular speed last weekend, smoking his rear tire around the Termas track, but while he learned plenty over the three days, he also fell several times, including a race tumble, when he was holding an impressive sixth place

Rabat made his MotoGP debut in Qatar last month and scored his first points. Last weekend the 2014 Moto2 champ took his first top-ten result in the premier class, keeping his head in the tricky conditions to finish ninth. The Spaniard knows he is still learning to master a MotoGP machine but he certainly knows the fast way around COTA, having scored two second-place finishes in the 2013 and 2014 Honda-powered Moto2 races.

Honda MotoGP rider quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
“We’ll see how we manage here in Austin this year. It’s a track that I like, where I feel strong, and where I’ve always had good races and good fun. That said, the track rewards strong acceleration, which hasn’t been one of our strongest points so far this year, so we’ll have to wait and see how we can manage the situation. We’ll keep working hard, as we did in Argentina, and we’ll try to find the best pace for the Sunday race.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
“I’m looking forward to this round. There’s something special about the atmosphere of the American races, and besides, this is a track that I like very much. I didn’t make it here last year, but I made the podium the previous two seasons so the memories of the track are good. Our pace in the first two rounds hasn’t been as good as we would’ve liked, and we absolutely need to keep working to find some more speed; all in all, we’re third in the championship, and we need to make a step forward if we want to fight for the podium at every race.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda
“To say I was disappointed with the result in Argentina is an understatement. I had the pace to finish on the podium but I didn’t. Two Grands Prix have gone and I have two non-finishes. But they were two Grands Prix in which I felt I could have had two top-five finishes. That’s obviously easier said than done but my pace around the same as the lap times Valentino [Rossi] was doing. We can take some positives that we were fast enough even though I had a bad feeling with the front tire. I’m looking forward to getting to Austin. I need to get away with the front group and Honda has a really good record there. My team and Honda are happy with how I rode in the past two races, which gives me good confidence going forward.”

Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
“I really enjoy the Circuit of the Americas. I won the Moto3 race in 2014 and I have a lot of fun riding there. It should offer better grip than we had in Argentina, so hopefully we can adapt the bike quickly. The result wasn’t what we wanted in Argentina but we found some good improvements with the bike and I was able to make some steps with my riding style better that suited the package more. The positives far outweighed the negatives last weekend. Now I’ve just got to make sure I don’t push as hard!”

Tito Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
“I think I have been very clever in Qatar and Argentina because I have understood my limit and I made sure I’ve finished in both to gain some crucial experience. The first day in Austin will be the same as the first two races and I’ll be adapting myself to the track on a MotoGP bike. I will be happy again if I continue to make progress in every session and the target will be to fight with the middle group. In Qatar I was so far away but in Argentina I was closer. I want to make another step and fight with a bigger group to help me learn more.”


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44 Comments

  1. mickey says:

    HA… Turns out the answer appears to be YES

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I don’t know what it is about that track that allows Marquez to dominate like that, but he just kills it every time.

  2. Mag3 says:

    Who cares?

    • Hot Dog says:

      A true Moto GP fan cares. I can’t get enough of it and there’s a lot very knowledgeable guys on this site, who have great perspectives. And on the other hand, perhaps it’s time to re-up the subscription (prescription?) to EASY RIDERS.

      As some of my Harley riding buddies say to me, I’ll say to you, “If you’ve got to ask, you don’t understand”.

    • TimC says:

      Good grief, first that Provolone guy, now this. Dirck did you make too much noise trip trapping across a bridge recently?

  3. Norm G. says:

    summamab!#ch, that Jay has gone and signed for Ducati. sure they’re on 3 seperate teams, but the shadows of Ross and Marcus will now loom ever LARGER till such time Michelin sorts the front, and GiGi sorts a frame that turns like an M1. I trust Louie, but those are some “huge planets” that must be aligned.

  4. VLJ says:

    As in Argentina, Lorenzo struggled in this morning’s warmup before losing the front and skittling off into the kitty litter again. Meanwhile, Rossi was only a tenth behind Marquez, who both trailed Iannone.

    Maybe, just maybe, we’ll actually have a competitive race this time at CotA.

    Oh, and I’m rather enjoying the MotoGP ticket at motogp.com. I didn’t think I’d bother to watch practices, qualifying, warmups, and press conferences, but there I am every week, watching each session. Very cool. This is much better than the Fox Sports coverage from years past. Glad I bought it.

  5. Delmartian says:

    If Marquez dominates and runs pole to pole, as I expect he will, it’ll be a mighty dull race.

  6. mickey says:

    Well he certainly looked like it in qualifying, if that counts for anything.

  7. Gary says:

    “Is Marquez unbeatable at Austin?”

    No.

  8. Norm G. says:

    alert, the crank in the vehicle shown above (no, not the “crank” ON the vehicle) now spins backwards. apparently for 2016, HRC boffins modded the cases and there exists an intermediate shaft reversing engine rotation in all 5 Hondas. please make a note of it.

    • Hot Dog says:

      Following in Yamaha’s footsteps, eh?

      • Norm G. says:

        I believe so. I noticed awhile back HRC had changed the swingarm on the 213. which makes me think (pure educated guess) they were trying to run a different set up perhaps using a shorter wheelbase to chase corner speed like the Yamaha. I think they found after running it all last season the bike was more wheelie prone (and naturally it would be) hence in 2016 we now have them going “full Yammy monty” and spinning the crank backwards. all things being equal traction wise, this should allow them to use far less drive destroying anti-wheelie. having to cut power of course – just to keep the front on the ground – defeats the whole purpose of having that million dollar seamless gearbox.

      • Norm G. says:

        breaking news, now there’s a rumour (unconfirmed) that Dall’igna has actually fitted last year’s GP15 with an anti-clockwise engine. counter-rotation, all the cool kids are doing it.

        Louieee…!!! you got some esplaining to do…!!! (Ricky Riccardo voice)

  9. Nomadak says:

    cough….Honda track!

  10. Provologna says:

    With all due respect. This has been a great motorcycle hangout. But the title of this article displays the intelligence of a nine year old. I respectfully request picking up your game, maybe hiring a different writer like Gabe again, something to change the monotone dreary malaise. The title is epic fail, sorry.

    Reply to stupid question of the day:
    “No!”
    “Yes!”
    “Maybe!”

    • mickey says:

      maybe it’s a subliminal Honda message … bwahaahhaa

    • TimC says:

      Man, you just don’t know when to quit. If you don’t like the reporting here, there’s a whole ‘nother internet out yonder.

      That said, Dirck, what IS Gabe up to? I note he’s gone from CB as well….

      • TimC says:

        Oh wow. 3 times I submitted this or a close likeness, never to have it appear. Now it is here, so you get two versions of my witty reply to My Balogna (duh duh duh duh duh duh MY BALOGNA!) up there.

        Oh and I am still curious about what’s up with Gabe.

      • TimC says:

        Interesting. This was in some kind of limbo after 3 attempts, finally showed up. Hence the sort-of-duplicate posts….

    • TimC says:

      So, by “has been” does this mean you’ll go find The Rest Of The Internet and not leave your gibberish here any longer? Seriously, if you don’t like the reporting, is it just some kind of special fetish or what?

  11. mickey says:

    The outcome of the race depends so much on qualifying and the race to the first turn. Lately Jlo has been the best at both followed by Dovi. If either of those 2 qualify well and end up on the front row, it would be hard to bet against them.Of course MMs record there is hard to deny so you can’t count him out. Rossi, Pedrosa, Ianonne, Vinales, are threats as well. What a great crop of riders. Can’t wait until Sunday.

    • VLJ says:

      Give me #93 and you can have “The Field” for this one. I’ll take that bet.

      • mickey says:

        Lol, you know who I’ll be pulling for. Almost seems a waste of my support, but I’m not giving up just yet.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “I’m not giving up just yet.”

          you gave it your best son, now hit the showers. (reluctant MLB coach takes out his best hurler in the bottom of the 6th)

  12. Brinskee says:

    He’s going to crash out of the race and Maverick Viñales will take his maiden victory. Rossi will come in second, with Iannone bringing up the final podium spot. I was already there, I’ve seen the race and just returned back to the present. It’s going to be great for all of you guys and gals who are not Marquez fans. Oh and Jorge finishes 5th.

  13. Scott says:

    What I want to know is: Whose stupid idea was it to schedule the MotoGP race at COTA on the same weekend as the NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway? I’m guessing there are a fair amount of people going to TMS that would also have gone to the MotoGP event if it hadn’t been on the same damn weekend. Way to help boost attendance, people…

    • Martin says:

      I’m a huge motogp/sbk fan, and live in the U.S., but really don’t care for NASCAR at all. I think the fans are so different that attendance would not be affected. Am I wrong?

      • TimC says:

        Wrong, no I seriously doubt it.

        Remember that t-shirt that some fan made with a MotoGP bike and it said “NASCAR IS BORING”?

        • Scott says:

          Well… Half the people who post here think MotoGP is boring. And the other half think WSBK is boring. So…

        • Norm G. says:

          Q: Remember that t-shirt that some fan made with a MotoGP bike and it said “NASCAR IS BORING”…?

          BETTER Q: remember that t-shirt that some fan made with Dale Jr’s car that said “MOTOGP IS BORING”…?

          A: exactly, no you do not ’cause Nascar fans don’t even know our beloved MotoGP exists to bother making up a t-shirt in the first place.

      • Scott says:

        Granted, there’s not a huge crossover, but I think there are enough people who like racing in any form that they would go to both events. While it may not make a significant difference, it would still be helpful. Every body they get through the gate is a benefit to our dinky little sport of MotoGP.

        My preferences are motorcycle roadracing in all forms, F1, and Indycar. But I’ve also attended NASCAR, Supercross, flat track motorcycles, sprint cars, and a few others. I’ve probably spent a few thousand dollars going to racing events that were outside my primary interest. I can’t be the only one…