MotoGP 2016: Americas preview

MotoGP Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez of the Repsol Honda team races in Argentina. He leads the championship with 41 points Credit: GETTY IMAGES

For the third round of the MotoGP season the riders head to the USA and the Circuit of the Americas. Ian Marsden tells you what to expect

MotoGP heads to the USA this weekend for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, which takes place at the impressive Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

With two rounds gone, Marc Marquez heads the championship after winning last time out in Argentina. After the jump start controversy of the Moto2 race in the Qatar season opener it was the turn of MotoGP to provide the talking point as the rear tyre of Ducati rider Scott Redding spectacularly delaminated in practice. That was only the beginning, though, for without time for analysis the decision was taken that the race would be run in two halves with riders changing bikes after a maximum of twelve laps.

It was the change of bikes that proved decisive in the outcome of the race. Marquez and Rossi entered pitlane virtually together in first and second place. The younger Marquez had the smoother, quicker change, which allowed him to open a gap over Rossi. Marquez then dominated as Rossi appeared to struggle with his second bike.

Come the final lap Rossi was in fourth place, behind the Ducatis of Iannone and Dovizioso who were battling for second, only to come together and crash out. This of course gifted Rossi second place and his first podium of the year. Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa finished a distant third with Eugene Laverty a career best fourth.

Valentino Rossi finished second in Argentina Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo never looked comfortable in the race and crashed out scoring no points.

Last year’s race in Texas was won by Marquez, with Dovizioso second and Rossi fourth. Looking at performances from the first two races of the season, a similar result would not be a surprise, but I would also expect Lorenzo to be back fighting for the win.

Also look out for the Suzuki of Mavrick Vinales who had he not crashed out was looking like getting the better of Rossi in Argentina, and what would have been a podium finish.

2016 MotoGP standings to date

1. Marc Marquez (Honda)  41 points

2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)  33 points

3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)  27 points

4 . Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)  25 points

5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)  20 points

6. Maverick Vinales (Suzuki)  10 points

Moto2 and Moto3

After the madness of Qatar a semblance of normality returned to the Moto2 class with reigning champion Johann Zarco rediscovering his winning ways, elevating himself to second place in the championship in the process. After qualifying on pole, British rider Sam Lowes finished a comfortable second ahead of Jonas Folger. Lowes headed the race for several laps but once Zarco passed him and got into his rhythm Lowes had no answer.

Fellow British rider Danny Kent finished in 16th place, importantly five places ahead of his team-mate Miguel Oliveira. The switch by Lowes to the Kalex Chasis is already paying off; he now looks like a genuine title contender.

In Moto3, Scot John McPhee fared better this time out finishing seventh, and thus getting his first points of the season on the board. After two races he sits in 13th place in the championship. The race was won by Malaysian rider Khairul Idham Pawi riding for Honda Team Asia. Series leader Brad Bindere finished third, with Jorge Navarro second.

British superbikes

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the British Superbike Championship, with the season kicking off at Silverstone this weekend.

As always, the MCE BSB grid will be graced by a plethora of international racing talent, including Shane Byrne and Ryuichi Kyonari, two multiple BSB champions with four and three wins respectively. Add to this a further nine race winners and six podium finishers and the ingredients are there for another exciting season.

Once again the grid is multinational with eight nations represented. One international competitor in particular will be missed; reigning champion, Australian Josh Brookes who has stepped up to the World Superbike stage. Moving in the opposite direction is the Pocket Rocket, Leon Haslam, who returns to BSB after seven years on the World stage.

Haslam raced in BSB from 2005 to 2008 with 2006 being his best season to date when he finished the championship second behind Ryuichi Kyonari. Haslam will race for the official JG Speedfit Kawasaki team who have retained the services of James Ellison and in their quest for glory on the roads have signed Peter Hickman. On paper this will prove to be a very strong team; had it not been for bad luck Ellison would no doubt have been challenging for the top spot in the last two seasons.

Luke Mossey on his BSB Kawasaki ZX-10R


Four times champion Byrne meanwhile is leaving behind Kawasaki and makes a return to Ducati machinery. Interestingly, in the six races so far in WSB four have been won by Kawasaki riders and two by Ducati; the omens bode well for those two manufacturers in particular.

Based on last year’s championship-winning performance, Yamaha machinery can’t be ruled out and 2016 sees a new team running Yamahas after Shaun Muirs’ Millwaukee-backed team moved to World Superbike. This season sees the Yamahas wearing ePayMe colours in a team run by 2011 BSB champion Tommy Hill. His bikes will be ridden by Stuart Easton and American John Hopkins. Ironically it was Hill in 2011 who denied Hopper the BSB championship, by what remains the closest ever margin; in the final race of the championship Hill took the flag by o.oo6 seconds.

Three times champion Kyonari will be riding for the Bennetts Suzuki team after a bitterly disappointing 2015 season on board the Buildbase BMW.

With eight riders on the grid who have previously qualified for the end of season showdown, the top six places come the end of the regular season will be harder than ever to call.

For all the latest news, advice and reviews from Telegraph Cars, sign up to our weekly newsletter by entering your email here

Latest motorcycle reviews

2016 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT review

The handling of the XSR900 is respectably stable