All eyes are turned to Austin, Texas for the third race on the 2019 MotoGP™ calendar.
With early-season points on the line and the chance for riders to assert themselves on the grid, the 2019 Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas promises to be 20 laps packed with action and drama.
Here are the top storylines heading into the Grand Prix of The Americas.
Marquez Goes for the 7-Peat
Perfect records are meant to be broken, but Marc Márquez has shown no signs of slowing down at Circuit of The Americas™. The five-time World Champion has won all seven Grands Prix of The Americas in MotoGP, making Austin, Texas his own home away from home.
Many felt the 2018 race would be where Márquez would finally slip after starting 4th due to a qualifying penalty, but he shot back into the front of the pack within the first lap.
Check out Marquez's onBoard cam from the 2018 Grand Prix of The Americas.
Márquez has shown a mastery of the corners at COTA, being able to hit the them at the perfect angle to maintain an advantage over his opponents. At some point it becomes less about the Spaniard beating the competition and more about beating the times he's set in the previous years.
With a points lead already in hand through two races thanks to a dominant performance in the Argentinian Grand Prix, expect Márquez to extend his advantage with a seventh-straight victory at his favorite track in the world.
Rejuvenated Rossi Aiming for Podium
Even with a half-decade of dominance, Márquez is chasing the seven World Championships of Valentino Rossi. While he hasn't claimed the MotoGP crown since 2009, Rossi has remained a big player on the circuit for the past two decades.
After a second-place finish in Argentina, the 40-year old Italian says he feels young once again before heading to COTA. Part of that has to do with how he finished in Argentina. Trailing behind fellow countryman Andrea Dovizioso for most of the race, Rossi made a move on the final lap to take second place in the dying moments.
While Rossi has his own claim to the early-season title race, he may find it more fitting to play the role of spoiler. With the takeover of Dovizioso in Argentina, he placed himself as the rider most likely to affect the early-season points race.
Dovizioso Trying to Keep Up Early
After winning the Qatar Grand Prix to open the 2018 season, it looked like Italy's Andrea Dovizioso would be able to contend with perennial World Champion Marc Márquez throughout the campaign, but he quickly fell behind the prolific Spaniard after retiring back-to-back in Spain and France.
In 2019, Dovizioso is looking to correct his errors and take another stab at the Márquez dynasty. The Italian claimed Qatar once again to start off the season but faltered in the aforementioned last lap of Argentina.
While only two races into the calendar, the four points separating Márquez and Dovizioso at the top of the leaderboard could be as tight as it gets if history repeats itself. For the Italian to keep this title race from getting away from him early, he'll need to do something that has been deemed impossible — usurp the king of COTA.
Alex Rins Flying into COTA
As for the best of the rest, there's reason to be excited about Alex Rins' podium potential heading into COTA. The 23-year old Spaniard made waves in Argentina after skyrocketing from 16th place on the grid all the way up to a fifth-place finish.
After the race, Rins claimed that if it had not been for his poor starting potion, he felt he was driving well enough to claim a podium position from either Dovizioso or Rossi.
The 2019 Grand Prix of The Americas will be a shot at redemption for the Suzuki rider, as Rins was forced to retire last year during the race due to an accident on lap 10.
Get an Official Ticket Package for the 2019 Austin MotoGP™
MotoGP is making its annual pit stop in the United States for the 2019 Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas. Be there for one of the most exciting races of the year with an Official Ticket Package from COTA Experiences. An Official Ticket Package gets you a 3-Day ticket to the track, 3-night stay at the Omni Austin Hotel and ground transportation to and from the hotel and track. There are still Gold B, Multi-Turn and Turn 1 packages available for purchase.