Circuit: Circuit of the Americas
TV: BT Sport
All eyes will be on Marc Marquez at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas this weekend as the Spaniard bids to put the controversy of the Argentinian race behind him.
The Repsol Honda rider starts the Texan round of the series as favourite for the race win at 9/20, not surprising as in the five years the venue has staged races Marquez has won all of them.
Should he show any signs of being unsettled after the controversy he caused in South America then title rival Andrea Dovizioso will look to take advantage.
The Ducati rider is 5/1 to triumph in Austin and students of the Italian’s measured approach will no doubt back his fortunes.
With Valentino Rossi having been the focus of Marquez’s unwanted attentions in Argentina, the nine-time world champion will look to put that behind him as he starts at 15/2 for the race win.
Rossi’s Movistar Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales is 11/1 and LCR Honda’ s Cal Crutchlow, the unlikely winner last time out and surprise championship points leader, is a generous 16/1 for those thinking that lightning might strike twice.
Johann Zarco, a good pre-season bet as a world title outsider, will look to go one better after finishing second in Argentina and is 18/1.
The struggles of former world champion Jorge Lorenzo are set to continue and the chances of Dovizioso’s Ducati team-mate winning in Texas are reflected in his price of 22/1.
In the unlikely event of bad weather in Austin then Jack Miller could come into the reckoning. The Australian gambled on using slick tyres on a drying track during qualifying in Argentina and was rewarded with pole.
His 66/1 price to win in Texas only becomes relevant if track conditions play into his hands otherwise the Pramac Ducati rider will be battling for the minor placings.
How the Argentinian Grand Prix finished:
1 Cal Crutchlow (Honda), 2 Johann Zarco (Yamaha), 3 Alex Rins (Suzuki), 4 Jack Miller (Ducati), 5 Maverick Vinales (Yamaha), 6 Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 7 Tito Rabat (Ducati), 8 Andrea Iannone (Suzuki), 9 Hafizh Syahrin (Yamaha), 10 Danilo Petrucci (Ducati), 11 Pol Espargaro (KTM), 12 Scott Redding (Aprilia), 13 Takaaki Nakagami (Honda), 14 Franco Morbidelli (Honda), 15 Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati), 16 Alvaro Bautista (Ducati), 17 Thomas Luthi (Honda), 18 Marc Marquez (Honda), 19 Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), 20 Karel Abraham (Ducati), 21 Xavier Simeon (Ducati), DNF Bradley Smith (KTM), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), Dani Pedrosa (Honda).
Crutchlow’s victory in Argentina was totally overshadowed by the clash between Marquez and Rossi, the ramifications of which have rattled on ever since.
Marquez’s barge on Rossi left the Italian in the gravel and the Spaniard with an end-of-race penalty which dropped him outside the points and triggered a flurry of online debate.
Marquez was penalised 30 seconds by race officials which saw him reclassified in 18th place, just one spot ahead of Rossi in the official results.
Meanwhile, Crutchlow was quietly going about the business of turning 10th place on the grid into only his third MotoGP race win.
Crutchlow held his nerve to come home ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Zarco and Alex Rins, who grabbed a rare podium for Suzuki.
Crutchlow also took over the lead in the championship standings and now heads Ducati’s Dovizioso by three points.
The drama unfolded even before the race started at Termas de Rio Honda as Marquez stalled his bike on the grid and had to bump start it before the action even got under way.
Then there was his coming together with Rossi and post-race recriminations as the Italian called out his rival for being a danger to others on the track.
With their feud fast developing into something akin to the one Rossi had with Sete Gibernau when the Italian was the young upstart in the pits, it remains to be seen what will unfold in Texas.
Dovizioso will be hoping to avoid such tribulations and to profit on track after taking sixth in Argentina, nine places ahead of troubled factory Ducati team-mate Lorezno who claimed his first point of the season.
With the Spaniard being linked with a move to Suzuki, Dovizioso is clearly becoming the Italian manufacturer’s main focus of attention.
Past Grand Prix of the Americas results:
2017: Marc Marquez (Honda)
2016: Marc Marquez (Honda)
2015: Marc Marquez (Honda)
2014: Marc Marquez (Honda)
2013: Marc Marquez (Honda)
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