Hi Texas! The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas is ready for action and the Sheriff is back in town. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who earned the name with his seven out of eight track wins, is back, and the Spaniard was joined at the pre-event press conference by the GP winner. Argentina’s Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), podium finisher Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™).
How does it feel to be a winner and leader of the World Championship?
Aleix Espargaro: “It sounds good, it sounds good. It’s weird to hear that but I’m very happy. The last few days have been fantastic, I feel happy but at the same time relaxed because I had the confidence that I didn’t have in the past. In the past I dreamed I could win, now I know I can. It will not be an easy weekend for me because last year we suffered a lot on this track, it was one of the most difficult, but this year it is different. We have new asphalt, the bumps will be much better, the 2022 machine is much better than last year and we are coming into a completely different position. I can’t wait to hit the track and see how fast I can go.
How confident are you that the new RS-GP will make things more positive this weekend?
AE41: “I have no doubt that it will be completely different. I was very happy to win in Argentina but what made me happier is that we showed in the first three rounds that we were very competitive, I feel good with the new bike, the new bike is much better. The proof is that I was also able to pass Jorge on the Ducati on the straight, so that means that overall the Aprilia has grown a lot and that gives me a lot of positive energy for this round. I know it won’t be easy, I’m sure in Portimao and Jerez it will be easier for me and my bike but it’s a challenge. This weekend is a big challenge for me, I like challenges so I can’t wait.
Are you looking forward to trying out the new asphalt?
AE41: “I already tried it yesterday with the bike and it looks like they did a good job. Honestly, last year was very, very tricky and it looks like the new asphalt is quite good, certainly much better in the past. Let’s see the grip, when you put new asphalt it is sure that you improve the bumps but you also have to see how is the new grip of the tarmac. I can’t wait, it looks like it’s a very windy weekend so we have to deal with that. And yes, let’s see tomorrow.
It’s been a difficult and inconsistent start to the season. What are your expectations this weekend? Is it difficult to know your level?
Fabio Quartararo: “Not an easy start. In Argentina our pace wasn’t too bad, but in the first laps we struggled and I was way behind. It was hard. It was difficult to overtake. I felt our pace was great, but we couldn’t fit our riding style and our grip was less. It was not an easy race. But last year wasn’t so bad here, so I think we can do a great result.
Last year you were second behind MM93… but now it’s different, so you were thinking about the Championship. Can you now be more aggressive than October?
FQ20: “Yes, I was in a completely different position than today, so yes, I will be more relaxed. Let’s see how the new asphalt is and if there is more grip. I hope he has some grip, he could predict our weekend. I can’t wait to be there, it could be a great weekend.
Are you surprised at how unpredictable 2022 is?
FQ20: “Of course it was totally different from last year because we have nine different podiums. I think it’s great for the fans. Let’s see if we can have a good weekend!”
What confidence did the result in Argentina give you?
Jorge Martin: “Yes, of course, after a very good weekend in Argentina, I’m really confident for this weekend. All year we were super competitive but I missed finishing a race because starting from pole in Qatar, second in Indonesia, and still ahead in Argentina is good, but finishing a race in Argentina was a good boost of confidence. Also last year I was super competitive, I was close to the podium but I had the long lap at the end so I couldn’t finish there, but I think we can have a great race . How we worked in Argentina, we have to focus here the same way and yes we will be very competitive here as well.
What do you think the new Ducati will look like around this circuit?
JM88: “For sure this year’s bike is much easier to turn and I think it will be much better than last year. Of course, we’re missing a place where we were strong last year and now we’re not, so we have to focus on those sides as well because on the straight we lost a bit of speed. I’m confident overall because the base of the bike is better than last year for this circuit.
How curious are you about resurfacing?
JM88: “Well let’s see, in the end it will be the same for everyone, I don’t really think about the surface. I’m not very enthusiastic about the conditions because maybe we go on track and there are bumps, I expect a bit of everything. We just have to concentrate very quickly.
Glad to have you back after another tough time. How relieved are you with the quick recovery?
Marc Marquez: “Of course after Mandalika it was a very difficult week, but luckily for me the sight injury was less than last time. Even for Argentina, I almost came back but I didn’t feel motivated to take that risk, and I didn’t want to. I spoke with the doctor and we decided to stay home and relax and then train again the right way. This week I had another medical check-up and the vision was fixed. I also tried a bike and let’s see. I’m not coming in the best way here at the GP of the Americas, but we’ll try to do a great FP1 and start a great weekend.
This is the first time we’ve spoken to you since the crash, can you tell us something?
MM93: “Actually, I don’t remember much. I remember pictures more than what I remember. The Indonesian GP was one of the worst GPs of my career. I crashed too much, and some I didn’t understand. I had a new tire and high sidewalls. That’s in the past and now it’s time to build trust and rebuild that process… what happened was tough, but the week after was tougher. But luckily for me, I’m here so it’s positive.
You have an excellent record here at COTA. What is your target? Are you here to win? Is it possible?
MM93: “It’s possible, but not the way to approach the weekend. We come from the Indonesia GP where I struggled, crashed a lot and had a huge highside. I only just got back to training a few days ago so that’s not the approach this weekend. Just trying to build trust and let’s see…”
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