Enea Bastianini photographed by us in 2019 in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) on the Moto2 Kalex of the Italtrans Racing team. On last year’s Gresini Racing Ducati, the fast Italian was the surprise winner of the US GP in Austin (Texas) in 2022. After a completely disastrous first season in the Ducati factory team due to an injury at the start of the season, he is back in top form in the 2023 season.

Preview of the third round of MotoGP in Austin

After the expected cancellation of the Argentine GP originally scheduled for April 9th, the third round of this year’s MotoGP season will take place in the home of “Texas Tornado” Colin Edwards. The former WorldSBK world champion for Honda and then Yamaha factory rider in the motorcycle world championship had his best season in the prototypes with fourth place in the finals in 2005. In his last two active years he was able to compete on the Circuit Of The Americas (COTA). was driven in Laguna Seca and/or Indianapolis until 2012. However, unlike the “King of the USA” Marc Marquez, Colin was never victorious in his homeland. The Catalan, on the other hand, seems to absolutely love courses where the race is counter-clockwise, like in Austin or the Sachsenring. Here he could almost only beat himself, while the competition was mostly speechless in the face of his almost overwhelming dominance. However, after the long-time Repsol Honda ace volunteered to become a private rider for Gresini Ducati this season on a machine from last year, a victory for him would actually be beyond expectations.

Aerial view of the Circuit of the Americas from the west, in the foreground start-finish with the pit area also used for Formula 1. It is one of the longest GP routes in the MotoGP calendar and it is definitely one of the most spectacular.

The MotoGP track “Circuit of the Americas” in Austin

With a route length of 3.43 miles, which corresponds to 5,513 kilometers, the Circuit of the Americas is the third longest circuit on the MotoGP calendar behind Silverstone (5,901 km) and Sepang (5,548 km). With 11 left and 9 right turns and a longest straight of 1.2 kilometers, this course, like many others, was designed by the German architect and racetrack designer Hermann Tilke. Construction of the first track specifically built for Grand Prix racing in the USA was completed at the end of 2012. With height differences of up to 41 meters, Austin, like the Autodromo do Algarve near Portimão, belongs to the category of so-called “mountain and valley routes”. Due to some hairpin bends, the average speed is just over 160 km/h compared to other race tracks such as Spielberg or Silverstone.

Route sketch of the Circuit of the Americas, currently only one race in the USA, but this could change in the near future.

The almost unbelievable dominance of Marc Marquez in the USA

In addition to the excellent record of Spanish pilots since 2005, our statistics underline the almost surreal dominance of the eight-time world champion from Catalonia. With the exception of 2019, when he crashed while in the lead, and 2022, when he finished 6th (the following year he was injured), he has won every race he has competed in since 2011 in the United States. Just like the Sachsenring, the Austin track in particular is a track on which the exceptional rider almost cannot lose. For this reason, even Alex Rins, who has been so successful in Texas in recent years with two wins and second places each, can only be described as an outsider, which is all the more thanks to the currently uncompetitive Yamaha M1. However, as soon as he can be at eye level with the opposition on his new machine, the fast man from Barcelona will definitely be a force to be reckoned with again. However, a surprise success like last year on the Repsol Honda is currently very unlikely, also because Marc Marquez is now sitting on the Gresini customer Ducati from last year, with which quite a few observers quite rightly believe he will win the next title this season.

The many question marks before the US GP

One of the most important things for the current season, so that there can be an exciting debate between the manufacturers, is the question of the hopefully imminent increase from Yamaha and Honda and when this will take place. Without the two Japanese factories and their world-class pilots, MotoGP runs the risk that the battle for victory could become as monotonous as it has been in WorldSBK over the last two years. With the exception of the Ducatisti, hardly any fans are happy about one-sided races in which only one brand dominates and only Aprilia and KTM can occasionally fight for the podium. Jorge Martin, as the current World Championship leader, will be hoping for better qualifying and more luck after coming last in Q2 last year and having to retire in the first corner after P3 in the sprint at the Grand Prix. Ducati brand colleague Bagnaia shouldn’t make any further mistakes like he made in the Portuguese GP and has to be careful not to be overshadowed by his teammate Bastianini. Last year, “Pecco” crashed in the main race on Sunday, as did his two new KTM factory teammates Miller and Binder, as well as Alex Marquez (Gresini Ducati) and Aleix Espargaro on the Aprilia. After his first podium in round 2, rookie Pedro Acosta is also wondering whether he can deliver a flawless race with a next top 3 result.

Marco Bezzecchi on the VR46 Ducati, as third in the World Championship last year with his 13th place, is one of the pilots who has the most need to catch up after the first two laps. Last year, the friend and protégé of MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi benefited from the fact that his 2022 factory Ducati was apparently superior to the current factory machine on several routes. In contrast to Gresini-Ducati newcomer Marc Marquez, the Italian is coping surprisingly poorly with the 2023 edition.

The favorite sees himself as more of an outsider

Actually, Marc Marquez, who is considered the absolute top favorite in terms of driving, should be mentioned first when it comes to the question of the most likely winner. But on the customer Ducati, which is still relatively new to him, the Catalan refuses to be considered such, even when it comes to the 2024 World Championship. He repeatedly emphasizes that his initial concern is to find the joy of driving again after several difficult years. He also currently lacks a bit of confidence and therefore a feeling for the limits with last year’s Ducati. For this reason, Marc also crashed during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portugal, where he overtook the current World Championship leader and brand colleague Jorge Martin at exactly this point in the sprint race in the afternoon, only to reach the podium for the first time in the third race with second place and therefore the best Become a Ducati pilot. On Sunday, of all places, he caught Francesco Bagnaia at the finish, but when he tried to counter, he hit him in the shoulder, causing both of them to fall and the Italian to be out of the race. Marquez was able to continue driving, but also missed out on the points due to the Ducati factory rider’s senseless action. But somehow the Spaniard has to be high on the list since then when it comes to the next races and of course Austin in particular.

KTM figurehead Brad Binder in his rookie season in 2020 – the South African is currently in second place despite crashing out of the sprint race on round two in Portugal. His results in 2024 may be much more important for his employer than those of GasGa’s KTM rookie Pedro Acosta, as the chance of intervening in the title fight could currently become a reality for the Orange for the first time. But he can’t allow himself to fall as many times as he did in his first four years.

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