PHOTOGRAPHY BY GOLD & GOOSE
MONTEREY, CA, JULY 18 - Despite rumors of the contrary, Marc Marquez has not ridden before at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. At least that’s what the championship leader assured a packed house for the pre-Red Bull United States Grand Prix press conference today.
But it wasn’t that he didn’t want to.
“I thought about that,” Marquez said when asked why he didn’t come and ride a CBR1000RR or the like around the track to help him prepare for the GP. “I try to come here with a streetbike and everything, but in the end it was not possible. So the first time will be with MotoGP, but there was some rumors that I came here with a streetbike…”
At that point, the other riders present were asked to give the phenom, who has won two GPs in his rookie season, some advice on how to conquer Laguna Seca. Most concurred that the Spaniard doesn’t need any help. Not that they would dish it out even if he did.
“I forget,” Hayden said when asked the fast way around. “But if he wants to slow down and wait for me, he’s welcome to follow me around.”
Then he got a bit more serious.
“It’s a difficult track for sure, but it’s such a short lap he’ll get plenty of laps in in the session,” Hayden said. “Turn one and the Corkscrew are the two hardest because they’re blind, but the rest is pretty easy. It’s kinda narrow so there’s only one line, but it’s true that down through Rainey Curve there are quite a few bumps so to understand those. But I don’t think Marquez has any problems going fast so I don’t expect… maybe the first session, but it won’t take long.”
Then the question was posed to Crutchlow.
“I’m not going to tell him how to go around the racetrack – there’s no point,” Crutchlow said. “It will be a difficult first session because there’s a lot of wheelieing and the front straight is so short. But I don’t think Marc needs any advice or anything like that. He’ll have a tough first session and if he’s fastest than we know he came here two weeks ago.”
Valentino Rossi had the press conference laughing on several occasions with his wit and his advice to Marquez had them roaring.
“It’s a tough track with a lot of blind corners so for me he has to understand very well the right lines for go fast,” Rossi said. “So my advice to Marc is to go very slow the first year, get to understand corner by corner and push next year.”
Edwards wrapped up the topic by saying… “The last time I was fast here, I was following Nicky [Hayden] – so whatever he said.”