By Bruce Allen , the shape of the 2017 season changed. Suddenly, Yamaha‘s Maverick Viñales and partner Valentino Rossi, the Boys in Blue, sit on top of the world looking down. Those looking up, WAY up, include defending champion Marc Marquez of Honda and the factory Ducati team, currently residing on the other side of the proverbial tracks. Marquez has never lost, deep in the heart of Texas, which makes Sunday’s contest what my wife (eyebrows raised) refers to as “critical?”
Even though it’s so early in the season – Round 3 – the Yamaha contingent appears to be in danger of getting away. Viñales with two wins, Rossi with two podia. Things in general going quite well thank you. Jorge Lorenzo and his new employers at Ducati Corse – not so well, a 10th and last week’s early DNF to show for his efforts thus far. Marquez and Dani Pedrosa slammed to the tarmac instantly at the same exact location – different laps, with Jack Miller narrowly avoiding a third crash there – in a mechanical Venus Flytrap for factory Hondas at Turn 2 last time around. Having left for Argentina in a bit of a hole, the Repsol Honda team imploded, their 2017 machine appearing difficult to ride and hard on tires. Perhaps, as LCR loudmouth Cal Crutchlow intimated, gas consumption, too.
Marquez has never lost in the first four seasons at the pretentiously-named Circuit of the Americas (as if Laguna Seca and Indianapolis don’t exist). The purpose-built facility has been a Honda favorite since its inception in 2013. In this wacky season, it would not surprise to see Marquez, Viñales and The Black Knight, Jack Miller, fighting for podium spots in a reprise of 2014, when Miller won the Moto3 race, Viñales the Moto2 and Marquez in …read more
Source:: MotoGP 2017 COTA Preview