The Racing Capital
of the World
April 07, 2014 | By MotoGP
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez will be the man in everyone’s sights as the MotoGP™ grid crosses the Atlantic to the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas this weekend for round two of the World Championship.
Following a spectacular race between Marquez and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi in the first race in Qatar, fans will be hoping for a repeat as the riders tackle the track’s unique layout. Marquez, despite breaking a leg only seven weeks ago, has looked in incredible shape – and will no doubt be tough to overhaul at the circuit where he took his first-ever MotoGP win last year.
For Rossi it will be crunch time as he sets out to prove that his pace in Qatar was not a one-off, while his teammate Jorge Lorenzo will look to make up for his first-lap crash in race one. Lorenzo’s uncharacteristic mistake will only spur him on more, as he takes to the track which last year looked to favour the rival Hondas. Repsol’s Dani Pedrosa will certainly be hoping that is the case, as he aims for the top step of the podium at the track he pushed teammate Marquez extremely close last year.
There will be a lot of interest in the field just behind the front-runners, as the likes of GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith showed podium potential last time out, despite all suffering falls. If they can keep their respective pace over race-distance the factory riders could seriously be under threat. The Ducati Team with Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow have also shown a vast improvement in race-pace, and will aim to jump further up the rankings in the US.
A big question mark still remains over the potential of NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, who has showed that over one lap he can be one of the fastest. If he qualifies to his true potential in Austin, a podium does certainly not look out of the question. His younger brother Pol on the Monster Yamaha Tech3 satellite machine will be hoping for a better second GP, as he had to retire with mechanical issues last time out. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, who continued to the finish line even after suffering a crash, could prove to be a surprise in Texas, after the Italian showed some serious speed in Qatar.
American fans will have two locals to cheers on in the form of NGM Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards and Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden, with both showing promising signs in Qatar. Both are now on competitive machinery, though Edwards has cited that he still needs to adapt his riding style, with Hayden lacking a bit of top-end power. Of the “Open” bikes, another to watch will be GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Scott Redding, who had a fantastic debut in Qatar, despite suffering with a lack of fuel.
Completing the grid in Austin will be Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham, Drive M7 Aspar’s Hiroshi Aoyama, Pramac Racing’s Yonny Hernandez, Avintia Racing duo Hector Barbera and Mike di Meglio, Iodaracing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and the PBM pairing of Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes.