MotoGP Preview: Grand Prix of The Americas
Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Ishani Aziz
The land of the free and the home of the brave will host the bravest and most free motorsport athletes of them all as MotoGP lands in the United States this weekend. The third round of the championship heads for its one and only stop in the North American continent.
They say everything is bigger in Texas and so is the Circuit Of The Americas. At 5.514 kilometres it is one of the longest on the MotoGP calendar. The 20-corner-anticlockwise circuit is a challenging ride with several long straights and drastic elevation changes leading into blind corner entries. And just like the dynamically changing nature of the circuit, the same can be said about the motorcycle racing.
An unexpected turn of events in Argentina saw the champion Francesco Bagnaia, who was faultless in the opening round, crash out in the wet South American rain. It was Ducati and academy stablemate Marco Bezzechi who rode to his maiden victory and first place in the championship standings.
The win puts Bezzechi nine points clear of the pack but with Sprint Races being a factor every weekend, nine points is an easily attainable gap to make up.
Away from championship contention, Bagnaia's teammate is expected to miss the Grand Prix Of The Americas. The Italian suffered an injury in the opening Sprint Race and is yet to compete in a full grand prix for the factory Ducati outfit.
Similarly, Marc Marquez, who has been termed the undisputed king of COTA, will also miss the Grand Prix due to injury. Upon his return, the Catalan will still have to serve a double long lap penalty.
Whilst it is only the third round and many would like to wait for a clear championship picture to emerge, the nature of MotoGP is such that clarity is considered a luxury.
However, with the championship lead in his hands and a race victory under his belt, Bezzechi will certainly consider himself a championship contender even though many would not. So while many of the riders are still finding their footing literally and figuratively, the Grand Prix Of The Americas will heavily affect the season moving forward. Strap in for the horsepower rodeo.