Fabio Quartararo will have the chance to take another step forward in his bid to become France’s first MotoGP World Champion when he sets out for the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas this weekend.
The 22-year-old Yamaha rider has won five races this season and heads to Texas with a 48-point lead over Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia who won the last two races.
With each race worth 25 points for the winner, and only three more to come after Texas, Quartararo will be eager to stop the Italian’s charge and put a few more points in that gap.
To avoid putting pressure on himself, Quartararo admitted that he had “decided not to think about the championship”.
“At the start of the year I thought to myself whether or not I’m fighting for the title, I want to win races,” he said. “I want it to continue like this. ”
On paper, the Circuit of the Americas can favor the Ducatis, who can use their engine power in the 1.2 kilometer long straight.
Bagnaia is certainly “hot” at the start of the race after winning in Aragon and Misano, while Quartararo was only able to place eighth and second.
“It will be crucial to be consistent and score as many points as possible,” said Bagnaia.
Suzuki’s Joan Mir is third in the championship, 67 points behind the leader and indeed needs a win to keep his slim hopes of defending his league title alive.
His compatriot Johann Zarco, who is 93 points behind, and Australia’s Jack Miller (94) are mathematically still in the title race but something should go very wrong for Quartararo in Texas to keep those two still interested afterwards. Sunday.
A bigger threat that day will likely be six-time world champion Marc Marquez.
The Honda rider, who still feels great after a debilitating crash last season, has six of seven wins in Texas since the first edition in 2013.
On circuits that turn anti-clockwise, Marquez has always been virtually unbeatable.
And while he’s still not 100% back from his serious accident last year, his right arm injury is less of a handicap when it comes to mostly left tacking.
The proof is in its results. On the two anti-clockwise circuits visited this season, he won in Germany and finished second in Aragon.
– Vinales absent –
One man who will be absent from the GP of the Americas, which was called off last year due to Covid-19, is Maverick Vinales whose 15-year-old cousin Dean Berta Vinales was killed in a race in Jerez on Saturday.
“Less than a week has passed since the accident involving Dean Berta Vinales, Vinales’ young cousin, which leaves no time to regain the necessary serenity for the race,” his Aprilia team said in a statement. .
“Vinales, with the full and unconditional support of Aprilia Racing, has therefore decided to take a break. “
In Moto2, Australian Remy Gardner (Kalex) is 34 points ahead of his teammate Raul Fernandez but the latter has won the last two races.
In Moto3, Spanish rookie Pedro Acosta (KTM), who dominated the start of the season, still has a comfortable cushion of 42 points ahead of Italian Dennis Foggia (Honda) who won the last two GPs.
© 2021 AFP