The GP of the Americas saw him back on the top step of the podium for the second time this season since returning from injury. There are those who say Marc Marquez was helped by the fact the Texan track is a ‘left-hander’ like the Sachsenring, but the Honda rider will nevertheless be one to watch in 2022. And here’s why.
The many faces of Marquez
We’ve seen many versions this year – the Marquez in tears after returning to the track for the first time in nine months, the ‘I don’t know what to do’ Marquez, hanging onto faster riders in an attempt to find his feet, and then “stuntman” Marquez, fighting for the win from turn one only to crash out. But the GP of the Americas brought a new Marquez – sure, at a track he loves and where he has won on seven occasions - but an improved and more aware rider nevertheless, a strategic rider considering that he had planned the entire weekend down to the smallest detail. As he himself said post-race, he chose not to overdo things during practice and then focus on doing well in qualifying. Then, for the race, he planned to get ahead, complete ‘three slower laps’ and then break away from his rivals: “I wouldn’t have been quick if I'd been in a head to head situation”. And so it all went to plan. A one-off? Perhaps, but there’s more.
Guile, his secret weapon
During the Misano tests, the Spaniard clearly found some new tricks, both in terms of dealing with an RC213V that is still not as competitive as other bikes on track, but also in terms of taking a mental 'step' regarding his physical conditions. His shoulder doesn’t work as it should when he’s on the bike? Ok, then it’s time to ride around the problems. Austin brought new leathers, ‘wider’ in the right arm so as to allow him to ride as his ‘new style’ requires, without squeezing the arm or hindering him in any way. This allowed him to get his right elbow down again, something he’d been unable to do recently. He still has a way to go before he’s 100%, and perhaps Marquez will never truly be the rider he once was, but what is clear is that he has decided to react to what is a complex situation with the guile he has always displayed. There are just three races left to run this season and we may or may not see him back on the podium but his rivals should definitely watch their backs in 2022, or perhaps look ahead, as that is where Marc Marquez clearly wants to be.
Translated by Heather Watson