Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez will be the man in everyone’s sights as MotoGP moves to the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas this weekend for round two of the world championship.
Following a spectacular race between Marquez and Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi in the Qatar season-opener, fans will be hoping for a repeat as the riders tackle the Texas 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 team-mate Jorge Lorenzo will look to make up for his first-lap crash there.
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 in Qatar, before all suffered 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.
American fans will have two locals to cheer 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.
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