As the dust settles after the Argentina GP, the paddock begins the journey north to the USA and the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX. One of the most beautiful purpose-built racetracks in the world in one of the jewels of the central US, COTA is a unique venue both in location and layout – as well as its MotoGP™ history, with a full house for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). COTA has only ever had one star performer – from his first win in his second ever premier class race to every single season since.
In 2017, however, the pack has shuffled as the paddock touches down on American land. After a difficult weekend with the weather in Qatar, it was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who made good on his preseason promise – and the Yamaha man did it again in Argentina, where Marquez fell from a lead of almost two seconds. In terms of points, the pressure is on for the rider from Cervera to hit back – and it seems there could be no better stage than Marquez’ hunting ground. That also means that a Viñales win this weekend would be more than simply another 25 points.
Last year it was the number 93 with the best hand early on. With a combination of aces, holds and jokers, Marquez took back a crown he has won 75% of the time he’s raced for it – and he was the man making the decisions and reading those around him. Viñales is now the man with the poker face, and his record at the track also makes for ominous reading.
There’s a campaign in Austin to keep the city weird. As MotoGP™ rolls into town for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Marquez’ mission is to keep Austin red.
That begins at 9:55 on Friday (GMT -5) for FP1, before the lights go out for Sunday’s race at 14:00.
MotoGP World Championship Classification
1 - Maverick Viñales (SPA - Yamaha) 50 points
2 - Valentino Rossi (ITA - Yamaha) 36 points
3 - Andrea Dovizioso (ITA - Ducati) 20 points
4 - Scott Redding (GBR - Ducati) 17 points
5 - Cal Crutchlow (GBR - Honda) 16 points