It's no exaggeration to say that Austin is THE track for Marquez. The definition is spot-on in this case, because Marc has won in Texas each year since 2013, his first season in MotoGP. The statistics confirm that he has won four consecutive editions as well as scoring the same number of pole positions, and 3 fastest laps.
So the numbers show how the world champ appears unbeatable at CotA and right now, he needs this track like one needs water in the desert. Marquez has never started a season so badly and his 13 points are far from the 50 held by Vinales and the 36 of Rossi. The maths does not lie and Marc must start to turn his season around as soon as possible if he wants to prevent his rivals from breaking away.
Austin is the right place, and it comes at the right time, such a chance cannot be wasted. Winning in Texas would of course bring points, but also a boost to morale, particularly useful when things haven't been going as one would like.
Initiating a comeback this weekend might be easy to say, but it's less easy to actually do, especially with Vinales on hand. Valentino has defined his team-mate's season start as “perfect” and there is in fact no better adjective. Since first climbing onto the Yamaha, the Spaniard hasn't put a foot wrong: fast, consistent, and those who have more, give more.
It's true that Maverick has never exactly shone at Austin (9th in 2015 and 4th last year, but also due to several crashes) but he has already proved that with the M1 he can laugh in the face of the past. And while the GP of the Americas is a good occasion for Marquez, the same applies to Vinales who could inflict a serious blow to his rival if he were to beat him 'at home'. Too tempting not to at least try.
In other words, there are no lambs entering the wolf's den. Not Valentino that's for sure, who would dearly like to add Austin to his list. Last year he proved that he knew exactly how to interpret the American track but then threw it all away with a crash.
Rossi is growing after a disastrous winter and has Maverick, in particular, in his sights, his tough team-mate that he hasn't yet been able to beat. Austin is very different to the season's first two tracks and he'll need to see if they have finally found the way with the M1.
Without forgetting that the straight - more than one kilometre in length - is hunting ground for Ducati, still suffering from too many highs and lows. Dovizioso needs to make up for the crash in Argentina, while Lorenzo is looking for some answers after so many doubts.
Another weekend not to be missed, the final one before the championship returns to Europe.