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So, who’s going to finish second?

So, who’s going to finish second?

That’s a question some American fans might be forgiven for asking ahead of the GP in Texas this weekend...

With nineteen years of experience reporting on MotoGP™ for Motorcycle News, Matthew Birt knows the championship inside-out. For the 2015 season he joins the team to bring you exclusive news and opinion from inside the paddock.

Nobody has seen the massive impact Marc Marquez has had on MotoGP in 2013 and 2014 more than US fans.

The Spaniard tends to travel well across the Atlantic. He’s unbeaten in two previous visits to COTA and last year led every practice session before taking a commanding win from pole position.

In fact, the last five MotoGP races to be held in America have all been won by Marquez, including a win at Laguna Seca in 2013 and two straight wins at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

And if you take into account his successive Moto2 victories at Indianapolis in 2011 and 2012, then it is seven visits to America since Marquez returned to Europe without the winners trophy.

The omens look good again for Marquez and Honda at COTA this weekend. Marquez will be looking for instant revenge in Texas after a disappointing start to the defence of his crown in Qatar.

There's no doubt the spectacular Circuit of the Americas is tailor made for Marquez.

Compared to the fast and free flowing Losail International Circuit, COTA is more stop and go in nature and therefore plays to Marquez’s phenomenal strength in braking.

There's also a lot of low gear acceleration points round the 3.246 miles circuit that play into the hands of the Honda RC213V, which has always been famed for its low range grunt.

Turning in on the brakes is now one key asset that Marquez has over his rivals, which is crucial at a track like COTA that features four or five hard braking points. In the winter I interviewed British rider Cal Crutchlow and he gave a fascinating insight into Marquez’s corner entry technique now he is riding an almost identical Honda for the CWM-LCR squad.

Marquez gains crucial fractions of time by being able to brake hard and aggressively while still at lean angle as he charges towards the apex.

Crutchlow says that sometimes Marquez can use as much front-brake pressure while leant over as he does in a straight-line! It’s almost impossible to replicate, according to Crutchlow, and a technique that if tried on any other machine would end in certain disaster.

That comes from unbelievable levels of trust from Marquez in his own skill, but also what the RC213V underneath permits him to do.

Texas is known as the Lone Star state but it could be the weather that’s the star of the show on Sunday.

The forecast doesn’t look great for the entire weekend. That will certainly add another dimension to the weekend, with no rider ever completing a single wet lap at COTA.

After winning a thrilling season opener in Qatar, Valentino Rossi looked like he could walk on water.

He might need to do the same on Sunday to end Marquez’s golden run in America.

MotoGP, 2015, RED BULL GRAND PRIX OF THE AMERICAS, Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo

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