Is Marc Marquez worried about his unbeaten record at CoTA? If he is, he isn’t showing it. He’ll happily admit that the team hasn’t found a base-setting for this year’s bike yet but neither is he ready to unleash the 2013 version of Marc Marquez. For now, expect the more calculating 2016 model. That’s what he says anyway.
Frankly, if Marquez’s superiority on American tarmac is challenged in any way, it will mark a seismic shift in the power structure of the MotoGP class. Can Maverick Vinales actually do that on a bike that hasn’t enjoyed the CoTA tarmac very much in previous visits? He said after Argentina that his team would build “a stop-and-go bike” to challenge the Hondas. Tomorrow we shall see if that intention has passed into reality. But it really doesn’t matter. Maverick does not have to win here, a rostrum would be just fine thanks. Think back to Argentina, the guy was a rather underwhelming sixth on the grid but was totally unfazed. The team were happy, the rider was happy, Maverick controlled the race brilliantly with what looked like a minimum of effort or stress. I don’t think he span his tyres up once while holding his pursuers at just over three-seconds back.
The point I am making s that Maverick doesn’t do stress. He seems immune to any mind games (although Valentio has yet to bring the big guns to bear) having got that sort of thing out of his system when he flew home from Malaysia rather than race back in his 125cc days. I thought that’d be the last we saw of the wonder kid, taken too early by the weight of expectation on his sixteen-year old shoulders. His team manager had told me as early as Jerez that the Moto2 tests were booked, it was simply assumed that Maverick would win the 125 title. compared to that, riding the best bike on the grid with Ramon Forcada as your race engineer must seem like a picnic.
if Maverick does beat Marc, then Marques will certainly be worried. But he’ll also be worried if he doesn’t.