Marc Marquez won his first race ever at Circuit of the Americas and hasn’t lost a race here since. And, while he’s been the fastest throughout the practice sessions and qualifying at this year’s race, it hasn’t been by nearly the margins expected. Tomorrow’s event could be much more interesting than we originally thought.
Marquez and COTA get along like Sean MacDonald and skinny jeans. In addition to his dominant history here, he also set the track record for the fastest lap on a motorcycle. To make that even more impressive, he did so on a backup bike with three minutes left in qualifying after the first bike failed in turn one and he sprinted back down to the paddock.
That time he set last year was 2:02:135. The next fastest rider, Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, came in three tenths of a second slower at 2:02:474, with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi just on his heels.
During today’s qualifying, Marquez again took pole position, but with a time of 2:03:188—a full second slower than he ran last year.
While everyone else is also running slightly slower this year, the speed delta isn’t nearly as big as last year’s 0.339 second gap. Lorenzo took second in qualifying this week with a time of 2:03:257, just 0.069 seconds slower than Marquez.
Marquez is still running fastest, and is starting the race in the best position to get out in front and stay there, but in no way is he unbeatable at COTA.
Tomorrow is anyone’s race.
Anyone have any predictions for tomorrow for someone else to take the win?