Marc Marquez is ready to go hard at the Circuit of the Americas and is aiming to be king of the event once again. Jorge Lorenzo is aiming to turn his luck around, the Mission Winnow Ducati MotoGP team are looking to derail the Honda machines, Valentino Rossi feels confident about his chances and is feeling at the top of his game whilst Jack Miller stays focused on top results. The riders did not have much time to relax between flying from Argentina to the Americas though are ready to put on a show for fans across the globe. It was earth to major tom this week with both Repsol Honda riders visiting NASA! What an experience for the two multi World Champions to gain insight as to how space suits, ships and more operate. This promotion is positive for the sport as MotoGP machines have intricate ways of operating as well.

In terms of grip levels, tyre choice will always be key for each and every rider across the three classes. Lorenzo made it clear that “when the conditions offer grip, I feel very strong on the Honda – the team and I just need more time riding to understand how to have this strong feeling when the grip is less.” This type of dilemma occurs all the time and upon the Spanish rider finding his feet and the optimum level, anything can happen. In contrast, having a favourite circuit does help and render an advantage. Maybe this is why Marquez is so strong! MM93: “COTA is one of my favourite tracks; these counter-clockwise circuits always seem to suit my style the best. Although we have achieved a lot of success here in the past, we will work as we always do from Free Practice 1 and remain focused. Every year when you go to a track there are new things to understand and adapt to.” Marquez is in very good shape; he has a solid base which is most important. We will not be crazy is the best the Spanish Ant can describe his strategy.


Marquez: “It is true that it is a circuit where you cannot have the perfect lap. It is impossible. It is long, many corners and hard braking points. It is easy to make mistakes. You have to be constant with all the laps. A two minute lap. It is so difficult, very bumpy and something you need to change the lines every lap. Let’s see. This year sure, we need to understand the asphalt with the modifications made”.

In terms of the Mission Winnow Ducati team, Danilo Petrucci is still attempting to break through to the top three. He is not having a smooth and easy ride to get there which is interesting to see. No doubt, his height and body structure cause problems along the way as other rider’s stature allow them to go faster and not be as aggressive with tyre management. In addition to this, Petrucci has made it clear where his weaknesses are as he progresses within the factory squad. Petrucci: “In general, we struggle more than others under acceleration at high lean angles because of my weight, but we’re improving in terms of tyre consumption. I want to further optimize how I manage the race as well, and to this end it’ll be crucial to start further ahead on the grid. We’ll need to work hard to fight for the top five once again, but I’m confident.”


Mr Consistent, also known as Andrea Dovizioso, is aiming for the podium as a minimum. He knows their package is not as strong as it could be on the American soil, so he is hoping to achieve as many points as possible. DesmoDovi: “Our goal at Austin is to step once again on the podium, which in some ways would count as much as a win, but we’ll need to assess the state of the track before we make any predictions. Last year the tarmac was really bumpy, and I hope the situation has improved since then. We know each race is a different story, so we just need to stay positive and focused, continuing to work as we did so far.” The Ducati speed is good which allows Dovizioso to have a positive mindset. He is very aware that “Marquez is the king of this track”. The key factors DesmoDovi is assessing are tyres, weather, asphalt and temperature.

Credit: Monster Energy Factory Yamaha MotoGP Team

Every year Rossi claims the Circuit of the Americas is one of the most technically challenging. If you said this to Marquez, he would laugh and smile. Others find it quite hard to adjust and be strong. Rossi: “We know that Austin is a tricky track. Maybe it’s the most difficult and technical track of the MotoGP season, but in the previous years it wasn’t so bad for me. In the last few years I felt good, and though I didn’t arrive on the podium last year, I did in 2017. So, we have to do it like we did then: work well, ride well, follow the right direction, and then we’ll see.” The last week for the Italian stallion has been superb. Rossi had a good weekend in Argentina which made him happy and is more relaxed. He stayed at home, prepared at the maximum level for America. With that said, he knows the track is up and down with twenty corners.

The rider with a lot of ground work to do is Alex Rins. He makes the race look easy however his qualifying is quite disruptive to his ability to be at the top. In fact, Rins is fully aware that he needs to improve rapidly. Rins: “I think we are in a good way, good speed in the practice, on race, we need to improve qualifying to be at the front. Passing other riders means you destroy your tyres. We need to think why we start on the back. We need to improve. Last year, we had some problems on the front tyre to stop the bike, we have improved this feeling. The front in Argentina and Qatar was very nice. I think this track is difficult to do all the laps on the same line. It is very hard.” Team Suzuki Ecstar have goals and they will be looking to see him listen, learn and improve.


In comparison, Jack Miller has improved and is riding incredibly well. Miller: “For sure it is great to be back there as Vale said, it is nice to go away from the weekend and feel good. After Qatar, I was depressed from when the seat flew off. It got difficult at the end of the last year being on the GP17 as the other bikes were developing throughout the year. It is nice to know that we should be able to fight the whole season with them. Both in Qatar and Argentina, we have the pace. Austin is a track I like. With the Team Alma Pramac Ducati MotoGP package, Miller is finding his rhythm and those sweet spots which are enabling him to go fast and be on top of his game. Miller: “To do with the racing, I know that I do not have to cook the front tyre, we have really good pace, I feel I have matured as a rider and in practices we are testing a lot for racing similariton. We need to keep this mentality and keep working”.


Can you believe it…. Marquez and Rossi shook hands for the first time in ages at the Argentina race! What a moment. MM93 version: “It was like a moment when you give a kiss to a girl. It was the moment and we were alone. We shake the hands on the podium. I never had a problem. We have a respectful relationship.” As Marquez laughs, Rossi put his side of the story over the media. Rossi: “I congratulated him because he did a very fast race, I think it is normal.” As the lights switch off for the night, we look forward to seeing how everything plays out day by day right until the riders set off from the line on Sunday.

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.