MotoGP 2022
Round 4

Marquez Makes His Comeback From Row Three In The USA

us Circuit Of The Americas

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) will start his comeback race from the third row of the grid at the Circuit of Americas tomorrow.

Marquez Makes His Comeback From Row Three In The USA

Team-mate Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) will get the fourth round of the 21-round 2022 MotoGP World Championship underway from one row further back, along with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V).

This is Marquez’s first time back in action since his crash during the race-day warm-up session for last month’s Indonesian GP, which caused a recurrence of the diplopia that caused him to miss the last two races of last season.

The 29-year-old six-times MotoGP World Champion has an amazing record at COTA – seven victories from eight races – but his main target this weekend is to regain confidence, with 17 races still to go after tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Americas.

He started yesterday quite aggressively, with his motorcycle dancing around beneath him like he’d never been away, but then he settled down for the afternoon session, working with his crew to get the all-new 2022 RC213V adapted for this ultra-complex circuit, with its 20 corners, more than any other MotoGP venue.

COTA is MotoGP’s toughest layout, both mentally and physically, made even more so by bumpy asphalt. Although much of the circuit was resurfaced during the winter to fix the huge undulations that made last year’s US MotoGP round a real rodeo ride, the track is still bumpy, causing issues for many riders, with plenty of tumbles today as riders pushed to the limit and fell victim to the bumps.

Like everyone, Marquez has had a few moments on the bumps here but the 29-year-old Spaniard held on to end free practice an excellent fourth fastest, just over a tenth of a second off the fastest lap time. In FP4 he was second fastest, even closer to the best time.

However, qualifying didn’t go exactly to plan and he had to be content with ninth fastest, 0.999 seconds off pole position. In fact Marquez was saving his best for his last lap, but the chequered flag was waved before he started that lap, during which he hoped to make it onto the second row.

The 20-lap race will be a huge challenge for the entire grid, but particularly for Marquez, who last raced at the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix five weeks ago.

Nakagami has worked hard to further improve the front-end performance of his RC213V at this track, where fast entries to the numerous corners are vital to a competitive lap time. The 30-year-old from Chiba was successful in his efforts, becoming the third Honda rider to finish the first three practice sessions inside the top ten and therefore go straight through to the Q2 session, which augured well.

He ended Q2 tenth fastest, just 0.016 seconds behind Marquez. This evening he will work with his crew to improve his race pace, so that he can aim for another top-ten finish.

Team-mate Espargaro has had fitness issues here due to a nasty stomach bug. The 30-year-old Spaniard had a particularly difficult Friday because he was physically drained following a night of little sleep. Today he felt better and believed he had the speed to qualify on the front row; but he admitted that he made a few minor mistakes during Q2, which spoiled his performance and had him completing qualifying 12th quickest.

Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) was the only Honda rider not to go directly into Q2 today. The 25-year-old Spaniard, who had a minor tumble in Q1, is looking for more front grip and turning. His team will work extra hard this evening and in tomorrow morning’s warm-up session to find a setting that suits the former Moto3 and Moto2 World Champion’s riding technique.

The Grand Prix of the Americas is the last of the four-season-starting out-of-Europe races. After tomorrow’s racing the paddock returns to MotoGP’s European heartland for a series of 12 races, after which MotoGP heads east for the Japanese Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi on September 25.

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
Step by step the confidence is coming back more and more and today I was feeling and riding in a better way. In qualifying, speaking honestly, I made some mistakes and I missed the last lap – I thought there was time for another lap. But anyway, we are still starting in ninth even with this. We made some good changes to the bike today and the goal for tomorrow is to finish the race in a good way. It won’t be easy starting ninth, but it will be a long and hard race where many things can happen.

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
Second day for us and we made a step forward from yesterday this morning and we made quite a good lap time and it was enough to get us through to Q2. This afternoon in the qualifying session we did our best, but it was not enough as we were looking for a better result. But P10 is not too bad for tomorrow’s race, which is really important and we’ll do our best as always.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
Today I was feeling better, the pain was gone in my stomach and my power was improving. The biggest issue today in qualifying was the mistake I made, touching the green and then misjudging the timing of the session a bit. I think we had the potential to match what we did in FP3 and be in or around the top six. I was not riding well today and making some mistakes, not just with the timing but also some with my riding. Fortunately, we are starting very well this year and Turn One here is always tricky so let’s see what happens in the opening lap. More rest is needed and let’s see what we can do.

Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez 73
Second day here in Texas and in the morning we made some improvements, but it was a bit difficult to get the feeling again. In FP4 we made a really good step and made progress for tomorrow’s race and the feeling was coming back again. I tried my best during qualy, but I had a crash on my first run when I was going quite fast. I had problems when I put on the new tyre. I suffered a lot with the front and I could not handle it with my riding style, so tomorrow for the race we need to take the opportunity to build up my confidence again and feel good on the bike. Tomorrow, I will try my best from the first to the last lap.

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