Howdy Partners and welcome to Round 2 of the MotoGP world championship at the Circuit of the Americas, which is in the lone star state of Texas, smack bang in the centre of ‘Murrica.
Texas does things big. Big cars, big food, big trucks and big assault weapons on those trucks, for when you need to have a big fire rate of say 1000 rounds a minute to shoot possums. This is no exception. The circuit is big, wide and has the biggest stars and stripes I’ve ever seen, painted pretty much anywhere there is space to have them. ‘Murrica!
This is a new circuit on the MotoGP calendar and a few riders had tested here at the start of the year. Both the Yamaha and Repsol Honda Team came here to check out the track and the local burgers joint. During that testing it was clear that new boy Marc “Lean Angle” Marquez of the Repsol Honda team was quite ahead of the pace, and sure enough, it was the Spanish wonderkid who stuck it on pole with the fastest lap in front of his team mate Dani Pedrosa. It’s worth noting though that the official records will show that it was EvelKnieval who set the pole lap on a Harley Davidson Fat-Boy. ‘Murrica!
With the quarter pounders, quarts of Pepsi and Smith & Wessons at the ready, the lights dropped and the race was underway. A brilliant start from Dani P gave him the holeshot into turn 1. Jorge Lorenzo on the Yamaha jumped onto the back of Marquez as both dispatched the fast starting Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda.
Behind these guys there was epic battle going. Bradl got popped into it and was instantly being harried by Cal Crutchlow on the Tech 3 Yamaha followed by Valentino Rossi on the factory Yamaha, with Alvaro Bautista on the other non-factory but-kinda-really-a-factory Honda. They were tearing chunks out of one another and apparently the first chunk to go was out of Rossi’s brake disc. The normally “stable as the empire state building” Yam was looking decidedly “peace protestor at a gun-rally” nervous as Rossi struggled to stay with Cal but managed to fend off a lack-lustre Bautista and a charging Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati for 6th.
51st State Cal was in great form but got a little carried away with the sight of the hot dog stands and ran off track to have a look. This meant re-joining the circuit and bulling his way back up to and past Bradl for the rest of the race. He nearly had 4th but official results show that an American Eagle riding an Indian waving a flag took that position. ‘Murrica!
At the front, Jorge was dropping away quicker than American fondness for the French and it was clear that the Repsol Honda pair were just too quick around the track for him. As the race wore on Marquez stalked Pedrosa and finally made his move with 9 laps to go to grab the lead on a corner I don’t think anyone had tried to overtake on! It was time for Pedrosato attack, to show his mettle, to put his team mate in his place. Instead, Pedrosa, who once lost a fight with lethargic turtle was soundly put in his place by the simply magnificent Marquez. Marquez crossed the line to become the youngest ever winner of a MotoGP race. Though it’s worth noting that the official results show that Freedom won the race, riding an F-14 Tomcat fighter jet powered by Budweiser. ‘Murrica!
Down at the CRT end it was once again the Aspar Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro who put his CRT in 11th in front of Bradley “I still can’t believe he has a MotoGP ride” Smith’s Tech 3 Yamaha.
The most notable disappointment however was the fact that all-round star, and all-round Texan, Ben Spies, was all-round 13th on the “not able to go around anything” Ignite Pramac Ducati. Though in a serious note, Spies battled chronic nerve related chest pain to just finish at his home circuit. To add further mayonnaise to the misery, fellow Texan, Colin Edwards’s NDM bike couldn’t even make it to the end of the race.
All in all, a unsatisfactory showing for the Americans, but a stunning showing for the new kid on the block, Marc Marquez. He is fast, he has an awesome lean style and the next circuit is Jerez, in his home country. I expect fireworks, and I expect to see you there.