Marc’s American Dream

Marc Marquez is packing his Stetson hat and snake-skinned cowboy boots ready for this weekend as he aims to end his MotoGP™ victory drought

The Spaniard arrives in his very own Narnia. His special magical kingdom that has so many happy memories. The eight-time World Champion can pick no better place to start winning Grand Prix races again.  The Spanish rider has won seven MotoGP™ contests at the Circuit of The Americas. Nobody would rule him out making it eight on Sunday, with his first ride on the Gresini Ducati at the Texas track. It is not only the Texas venue that holds so many memories, but also California and Indiana. Marc Marquez quite simply loves racing motorcycles in America and it is easy to understand just why.

Eleven years ago, Marquez arrived in Texas with expectations as stretched as they will be for Pedro Acosta this weekend. After clinching the 125cc and Moto2™ world titles, his arrival in the premier class was as explosive as anything we have witnessed before or since in the 75 years of Grand Prix racing. He finished third behind the Yamaha Supremos Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo at the opening round in Qatar. Marquez set the dice rolling with his first premier class pole, before demolishing the opposition in the 21-lap race. His love affair with the Circuit of The Americas and then the country of America had started.

Incredibly, for the only time in the history of the sport, there were three Grands Prix at American circuits in 2013. They started in Texas and moved on to California and the magnificent Laguna Seca circuit, sadly for the very last time. The American riders, led of course by Kenny Roberts, always told us until you had raced down the infamous corkscrew corner high in the Monterey hills you were a bit of a coward, although they used a slightly more provocative word.

They were not wrong. What a circuit, what a venue and what a bend. Just a month later we were at a vastly different circuit and location, but equally more impressive in a very different way. I loved going to the Indianapolis International Motor Speedway a bit more than the riders. The biggest motorsport venue in the world with those towering grandstands surrounding the famous banking and the yard of bricks on the start and finish line. The road circuit inside the oval was nothing special, but the rest and the people made it such an atmospheric place.

If that Texan win had not been enough Marquez raced through the States in 2013 like a whirlwind. He won on his only premier class race at Laguna and followed with victory at Indianapolis, which he repeated for the next two years. In his three Indianapolis premier class races he was unbeaten. Those three American wins played a massive part in that first MotoGP™ world title.

Marquez was simply unbeatable at the Circuit of The Americas for the next five years, but never without incident. Massive slides with elbow and shoulder on the ground, bombastic overtaking manoeuvres and even high jumps over the Armco barriers, to get to his second machine to ensure qualifying on pole were all part of the show.

It's 903 days since Marquez won a Grand Prix but take heart, many have waited so much longer. Seven times World Champion Phil Read was the most patient in the premier class. The 125, 250 and 500cc World Champion waited an incredible 3200 days between winning the 1964 Ulster Grand Prix and the 1973 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. Andrea Dovizioso had to wait 2653 days between victory at Donington Park in 2009 and 2016 in Sepang. Even Valentino Rossi had to wait longer than Marquez. Nine hundred and ninety-three days separated his win at Sepang in 2010 and Assen three years later.

I do not think anybody expects Marquez to wait so long. If he is going to start winning Grands Prix again, he will have no better chance than on Sunday.

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