Zürcher Nachrichten - Marquez returns to Texas but 'not in best way'

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Marquez returns to Texas but 'not in best way'
Marquez returns to Texas but 'not in best way'

Marquez returns to Texas but 'not in best way'

Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez admitted Thursday he's far from his best as he seeks to win the Grand Prix of the Americas for the eighth time in nine visits.

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The 29-year-old missed last weekend's race in Argentina with double vision following his violent high-side crash in Indonesia in March.

"It was a really hard week after Indonesia but luckily for me the vision injury had less effect than last time (in 2021)," the Honda star told reporters on Thursday.

"I was close to racing in Argentina but didn't feel motivated to take the risk. With the doctors' advice, I preferred to relax and train in a good way.

"The vision is fixed but I arrive here not in the best way. I will try to have a great practice on Friday and from that point start the weekend."

Marquez's incredible run at the Circuit of the Americas has seen him rack up seven wins in eight visits, including last year.

Only Alex Rins on a Suzuki snapped that run in 2019.

Despite missing out on Argentina, Marquez is still only 30 points behind early championship leader and fellow Spaniard Aleix Espargaro.

"It's great to be back and especially to be back at one of my favourite tracks. Regardless of the situation, I really love riding in Texas and I have amazing memories there," Marquez said earlier in the week.

Espargaro's win in Argentina was his first in 200 races in the elite class. It was also a first MotoGP triumph for Aprilia.

"Six years ago, nobody believed in Aprilia," he said.

With Marquez injured and Valentino Rossi retired, the 2022 championship is in a state of flux.

In three races so far, there have been nine different riders on the podium.

Enea Bastianini, on a Ducati-Gresini, won in Qatar, KTM's Miguel Oliveira triumphed in Indonesia before Espargaro's landmark performance in Argentina.

With 45 points, 32-year-old Espargaro leads South African Brad Binder of KTM by seven points, Bastianini and Rins are nine off the pace.

Reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo has struggled to back up his 2021 success on a sluggish factory Yamaha.

The Frenchman has not won since the British Grand Prix in August last year, a run of nine races.

"Austin played a key part in my championship win last year. That second place was like a victory because it gave me my first match point to secure the championship," said Quartararo.

"This time we arrive here in a totally different situation and with a different mindset. Last year, I always tried to win, but I was also trying to keep the lead in the championship.

"We can afford to be more on the attack now."

I.Widmer--NZN