Photography by Gold & Goose
It’s easy to forget based on his performance at the opening round in Qatar and in the first two practice sessions at Circuit of the Americas that Marc Marquez is still recovering from a broken lower leg, but yesterday marked the first time the World Champion had ridden without the aide of some form of painkillers.
“Just for rhythm a little bit, especially because on the T1 and T2 where you have many change of directions… there I struggling a little bit, but I think everybody struggling,” Marquez said of his leg woes after yesterday’s final session. “But anyway the leg today I ride without painkillers and was great. So tomorrow we will see if it’s better or what.”
Marquez put his stamp on the opening day, the young Spaniard leading both sessions and ending a tick over a second quicker than his nearest pursuer. With a best lap of 2:03.490, Marquez is .429 off his pole-setting lap of a season ago.
“I feel good we have a good base already with the setup,” Marquez said yesterday. “We are quite correct and I think tomorrow the other ones will improve. We are only on Friday.”
One thing that Marquez isn’t going to do is hang up his steel shoe. The Repsol Honda rider is a fan of training on his flat tracker and that’s not going to stop.
“I don’t know when I will feel okay with my leg then I will ride,” Marquez said of when he’ll be back on the dirt tracker. “Of course if I don’t feel a hundred percent I will not ride dirt track for in case.”
So what is it that he likes about dirt track?
“I like a lot especially about the feeling with the gas. More than with the bike it’s with the feeling, the connection with the gas you work quite well there.”
Marquez downplayed the pressure of returning to the site of his debut win a season ago in Texas.
“Yeah, of course I don’t know why this race is more pressure, no?” he said. “It looks like if I don’t win on Sunday it will be a disaster. But in the end it’s another race. Of course we will try to win. Of course, that is my goal. But anyway if for seem reason we couldn’t win we will try to stay on the podium.”