Marquez delighted at extending unbeaten run at COTA

Marc Marquez was understandably very happy to extend his unbeaten run at the Circuit of the Americas after a dominant display in Austin.

Marquez came into the weekend overwhelming favourite and delivered, topping every session over the weekend bar Sunday morning’s warmup session. 

After early pressure from Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, Marquez eventually broke away from the rest of the field, on his way to claiming an unprecedented fourth victory at CotA and a tenth straight win in America, spanning over two class, three circuits and six years.

Despite his domination over the years, Marquez was still nervous going into the unknown with the Michelin tyres. 

“I’m very happy with how the whole weekend has gone. This is a circuit that I like, one of my favourite, but there were some unknowns here because just before the race we decided to run the soft front tyre,” said the 22-year-old.

“In the end the team advised me very well, because the change gave me the good feeling with the bike that I had partly lost in the warm-up. I have to thank them all, as well as the Michelin technician. When I asked, they told me that I would be okay for the first 12-15 laps, and then after that I would have to manage the situation more, which is exactly what happened.

In taking victory in Texas, Marquez has extended his World Championship lead to 21 points already after just three rounds, with the MotoGP paddock heading back to Spain for the next round in two weeks time.

“We’ve taken another victory here in Austin and are now on a run of four in a row, which is great. In addition, the joy of the team after we won illustrates everything we’re working on,” said Marquez.

 

Marquez wins in America… again

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Marc Marquez won his fourth straight race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas in dominant fashion by just over six seconds, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone, whilst Valentino Rossi recorded his first DNF of 2016 crashing out of the race. 

Marquez went into the America’s Grand Prix after winning all eight of the MotoGP races in America since making his debut in the premier class in 2013 and he extended the streak to nine today with sheer domination.

Starting from pole position, Marquez came under early pressure from both Lorenzo and Dovizioso, however the duo nearly seriously managed to challenge Marquez who rode away from the field only backing off on the final lap to stop the victory being way more than the six seconds it ended being. 

Lorenzo has a lonely race in seconds position ending just as far behind Marquez as he did ahead of Iannone, who himself was fortunate to inherit the final podium position after a nasty looking incident between Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso. 

Pedrosa’s bike appeared to have a problem before he lost the front end into turn one smashing into the left leg of third placed Dovizioso. It is the second time in just seven days that Dovizioso had been taken out of the race through no fault of his own after Iannone had knocked him off in Argentina last week.

Pedrosa showed his class ensuring Dovizioso was okay before remounting and rejoining the race before the damage sustained eventually forced him to retire. After he pulled into the pit he walked down to the Ducati garage to apologise further and ensure the Italian was OK. 

Maverick Viñales recorded a career best fourth position after getting the better of his team-mate who brought his Suzuki home in fifth position just ahead of top private bike Scott Redding. 

Valentino Rossi’s title challenge took a serious turn for the worst when he lost the front end of his Yamaha M1 going into turn two and was forced to retire from the race. 

Pol Espargaro beat out Michele Pirro, whilst Hector Barbera and Stefan Bradl rounded out the top ten. 

There were also crashes for Loris Baz, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith who all rejoined, with only Baz collecting any World Championship points. 

Marquez now leads the World Championship standings by 21 points over Jorge Lorenzo. Valentino Rossi sits a further 12 points back as MotoGP heads back to Europe and to Jerez for the fourth round of the series in two weeks time.

Photos via Repsol Honda 

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Ducati: We never denied being interested in the top riders

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Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti has confssed Ducati never denied being interested in the “top riders”, after speculation emerged in Argentina that Ducati may have already signed Jorge Lorenzo ahead of the 2017 MotoGP season.

The Bologna brand have been interested in Lorenzo since 2009 and their pursuit this year has been made very public after MotoGP legend Giacomo Agostini confessing to know of a “super offer” on the table from Ducati thought to be as high as 18 million euros per season. 

Lorenzo has an offer on the table from his current Factory Yamaha team, however unlike his Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, Lorenzo has not yet extended his deal with Yamaha, leading to the speculation amongst the paddock that a deal has already been struck between Lorenzo and Ducati. 

The Spaniard’s interest in Ducati is understandable. Lorenzo would become the highest paid rider in MotoGP, whilst allure of winning on a second manufacturer – a bike Rossi failed to win on – is now a viable option with Ducati. 

Along with Lorenzo, Marc Marquez’ contract is up in the winter, and having MotoGP World Champions still in the peak of their powers considering offers from Ducati, show that they’re going in the right direction, according the Ciabatti.

 

Marquez: It took me 60 hours to get to Argentina

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Marc Marquez’ Argentine Grand Prix got off to the worst possible start, with the former World Champions journey to Argentina taking 60 hours!

The Spaniard endured a trip from hell from the off. Firstly Marquez’ plane from Spain to London was cancelled on Monday meaning he had to catch a new flight on Tuesday. After eventually finding his way to South America, his plane taking him to the Termas de Rio Hondo suffered an engine issue with the plane having to land with only one issue. 

“Overall, the journey took 60 hours. I arrived in Argentina on Wednesday at 3am,” explained the 23-year-old in Argentina.

“But I’ve done it and I’m now looking forward to getting bike on my bike and finding a good feeling and the pace of Qatar.”

Before arriving in South America there were stories that Marquez was fearing for his safety after receiving death threats from Argentine, Valentino Rossi fans.

“I’ve only just arrived,” said a smiling Marquez.

“I’m not afraid, but I was afraid on the plane when one of the engines failed!”

Marquez has an impressive record at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit. Marquez won the 2014 Grand Prix when the MotoGP paddock returned to Argentina, before crashing out of the race battling for the lead after a coming together with eventual race winner Valentino Rossi.

The Spaniard insists he isn’t thinking about last years clash, and that he is more concerned with building from his Qatar podium and finding a setting that works in Argentina. 

“I like this track, we want to have a good weekend. We’ll see on Friday what level we’re at,” he explained. 

“I was very happy with the third place in Qatar. A win is of course the goal, but after a difficult pre-season, with the electronics and the bike still not one hundred percent together, there are still things we need to improve.

“Nevertheless, I finished third and was just two seconds behind the leader. I was happy with the feeling with the bike. The important thing is that we now know what areas we need to improve.”

Last year Marquez looked comfortable at the front of the race running with the harder rear tyre, only for Rossi to make a late surge and catch and pass the Spaniard with just two laps to go. 

This year with the new Michelin tyres already a hot topic, the choice of which rubber riders chose to run will be a highly analysed and important topic throughout 2016.

 

Lorenzo and Marquez suffering from safety concerns in Argentina

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MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and compatriot Marc Marquez are both said to be worried about their safety over this weekends Argentine MotoGP.

Large portions of the Argentine and South American crowd have shown to be passionate Rossi fans over the past two seasons, something most riders are used to wherever they go. Nor are the riders particularly fussed by the social media abuse they receive daily. However in South America they are concerned the abuse could become more than vocal.

Spanish daily Marca, are reporting the Spaniards are concerned for their safety in and around the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. 

Both riders are of course now deemed the enemy to certain sections of the Italian’s followers, after the way the 2015 season unfolded. This has in turn prompt death threats on social media to Marquez and Lorenzo from Southern American gangs, who claim to be fans of the the Doctor.

The end of the 2015 season was of course marred with threats of violence in Valencia between sets of Rossi followers, causing Dorna and the Spanish police to ensure there was extra security at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. Thankfully there were no incidents of fans clashing in the grandstands in Valencia. 

Marca report that the Argentine authorities aren’t deploying any more security than they have for the past two seasons, although they have reassured the riders and Dorna that if there is the slightest suggestion of a problem, they will act according.  

Despite these reassurances from the local authorities, Lorenzo has revealed he will not leave his hotel for anything other than to go to the circuit and to head to the airport. The Spaniard is staying at the circuit hotel and doesn’t plan on venturing into the town of Termas de Rio Honda which is about 10km from the circuit itself.

This comes on the back of the news that sections of the Italian Marquez fan club saying they will have to skip the race in Mugello due to safety concerns. Despite calls for fans to remain respectful, the intense rivalry shows no sign of abating any time soon.

Photos via Movistar Yamaha

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