Author: Myanna Wedes

Cal Crutchlow arrives at the Circuit Of The Americas on top of the title ladder. He is the first British rider to accomplish this in a very long time. Crutchlow is feeling positive and appears to be a new rider in 2018 after a disastrous run of bad luck in 2017. “Don’t doubt me” were the words echoing in the press conference with Crutchlow as he reinforced his strength and positive points as a MotoGP rider and in particular a factory Honda asset. Crutchlow: “To be leading the rider and team standings is an honour for Lucio as well.” The key area Crutchlow wanted to highlight as they head in to the American Grand Prix weekend is that it is a beautiful journey to be able to race at the top and fight the other factory and independent teams. There is no dominance from one particular bike. Crutchlow: “It’s nice for us three guys to be sat here, knowing we’re competitive with the factory teams. In Qatar we were competitive too. It’s great for the Championship.” Fans are really enjoying the fresh approach that Crutchlow is bringing to the sport by being competitive and also how black and white he is when it comes to opinions. Maintaining momentum is a crucial aspect of racing bikes and the British rider feels as though he is going forward in the right direction. He is very excited about how things may pan out on Sunday afternoon. 

Most of the eyes of the media were on Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez after the charging bull rode in to Rossi during the Argentinean Grand Prix. The mindsets between the two riders are totally different. Rossi has accepted what happened and wants to look forward whereas Marquez is aware that he must learn from his mistakes. It is interesting to watch Rossi take a different approach after his strong comments during the post race media event. Questions were being asked and someone mentioned the Ayrton Senna versus Alain Prost rivalry. Rossi: “The difference between this and Senna and Prost is that they were fighting for a title, and one or the other would win.” Maybe soon in the future he will discuss things with his fellow rival and Spanish rider Marquez. However, right now, there is no time for talking with one another as Rossi focuses on Austin. Rossi: “Getting back on track after a difficult race, like the one in Argentina, is always important. We have to work to improve our M1 and every session will be crucial. Austin is a very difficult track for me and for the M1, but also for this reason I need to work at the best level with my team, so we can find a good set-up from the first day of free practice. I’m confident. I’m always happy to be in Texas. I like the atmosphere and the track.”

Alternatively, Marquez was surrounded by media and everyone’s heart rates through the roof in anticipation of what he was going to say. Marquez was calm, showcasing his signature smile and answering questions to the best of his ability. We know that Austin is where Marquez is King, so he is excited about the race weekend. He still thinks that everyone can learn from the race weekend in Argentina and that he sticks by his words regarding the actions taken on the day. Marquez: “I‘m a rider and person who likes to improve and learn from, in this case, mistakes. A lot of things happened. I made mistakes, I was penalised and I went to apologise.” Some fans are of the opinion that Marquez should have approached Rossi on his own rather than with an entourage. Unfortunately, he was stopped at the edge of the box and not allowed any further. Uccio, Rossi’s childhood friend and right hand man denied him entry just like a bouncer does at a nightclub! No doubt when the engines turn for the first practice session, the excitement and energy will raise as the two are once again on circuit together. Marquez spoke in further detail about his actions: “We’re riders, we’re people and we all make mistakes. It’s a competition at the limit, and the track conditions were at the limit. So you learn from the bad and the good, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” He is a World Champion for a reason and his talent is incredible. Like other athletes, for example Max Verstappen in Formula One, Marquez has to learn how to manage his thoughts, actions and understand the consequences of his choices even when the adrenaline is pumping through his body. The learning never stops! This year, there has been some upgrades carried out to reduce the bumps of the circuit, so the riders are looking forward to exploring if the changes are beneficial. Marquez on Austin: “a good circuit with a good atmosphere and great memories: it was the place of my first pole and my first MotoGP victory and we’ve been able to be strong there since then, so it’s a good place to try and get a good result.”

If there is any rider looking forward to getting back on the horse, it is Jack Miller, who lots feel was hard done by in the Argentinean Grand Prix. The wet patch with six laps to go cost Jack Miller the podium of a lifetime and he will not forget it. Frustration, satisfaction, happiness and anger were some of the emotions running through Miller after the last race in South America. In Austin, he is looking for a top finish once again. Miller: “There are so many guys on competitive bikes in the field, you can’t doubt anyone. Independent teams winning and nearly dominating the podium last week…it’s pretty impressive and it’s just going to get better and better as the year goes on.” We agree with Miller that the season is already a memorable one with unexpected turns and this weekend in Austin is sure to be a thrill as the level of MotoGP has increased year on year. In our opinion, Miller is starting to ride the Ducati like fellow Australian Champion Casey Stoner did during his time with the red outfit. Andrea Dovizioso is also enjoying the fact that Jack was fast because it means the Italian manufacturer is achieving their goals step by step. 

However, Dovizioso is still scratching his head as to how Marquez is so quick in Texas. Dovi: “I don’t want to say we’re just fighting for the podium. When you go racing you want to fight for victory. I need that mentality before the weekend. Why Marc is so fast here I don’t know, and I want to understand it throughout the weekend.” It will be intriguing to see if Dovi has any insight as the weekend commences and whether those opinions will be vocalised. The Italian rider has to be on the podium at the very least if he wants to continue a strong run towards the World Championship. Dovi: “We will have to take into consideration the track conditions, because last year there were a lot of bumps, and also the tyres, which can have a bit effect on the weekend. In any case we know our strong points and we also know which aspects we have to work on, so it will be important to get down to work right away in the first session to prepare well for the race.” If you see Dovi focused and hardly talking to anyone, this is because he is working through the issues that arise and ensuring that his race weekend flows. Dovi is a perfectionist. On the other side of the garage is Jorge Lorenzo who has not been strong this year despite an amazing testing performance in Sepang where he broke the circuit record. Austin is a race where he needs to bring every ounce of experience and passion together for a decent result. Right now, speculation is ripe that Lorenzo may stay at Ducati though rumours of a Team Suzuki offer floating around. Lorenzo: “We come to Texas for the third round of the season and it will be another chance to continue to improve my feeling with the bike. Even though the Circuit of The Americas is one circuit where I have not yet won a race and it’s not particularly suitable for the characteristics of the Ducati, this year I have a good feeling about it. We have to continue working hard and improving our speed, and even though Austin is rather a complicated circuit, everything can happen.” 

So who are you tipping for the win and following podium positions? Could injured rider Dani Pedrosa who has been declared fit shake up his rivals and take everyone by surprise….!

Credit: Ducati Corse Press




About The Author

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.