This weekend, MotoGP returns to Austin


MotoGP returns to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas again this weekend, but the subplots surrounding the racing are much different than they were last time the circus came to town.

Last April, everyone knew Marc Marquez was going to impact the standings, but there was a lot of doubt as to whether he’d even survive the entire season with his reckless style. Sure enough, he’s injured now, but he’s also coming into the race with a championship under his belt. The first win on the road to that championship was last year’s COTA race. And, that crash wasn’t even on the track – he smashed his leg up while training at a flat track facility.

Marquez says he was not fully recovered from his injury when racing this year’s season opener Qatar, but the time off he’s had since that win has allowed him to heal. Plus, he says most of the hard turns at COTA are left-handers, which are easier for him in his injured condition.

Then there’s the Kevin Schwantz saga. In 2013, Schwantz was at odds with the COTA’s management, saying they’d shafted him in a deal with MotoGP, cutting him off from money he deserved for helping  bring the races to Austin. He was supposedly thrown out of the track, after visiting as a guest of a couple racers. Now, however, that’s all smoothed over, all talk of legal wrangling is past, and everyone’s happy.

This weekend will also be a big one for Colin Edwards. For a while now, the Texas Tornado has been relegated to the back of the pack in MotoGP, partly due to his non-competitive bike in the CRT class. However, teammate Aleix Espargaro showed he could charge to the front at Qatar (finishing fourth), so maybe Edwards is going to work his way back up the rankings as well – and what better place to do it than in front of a hometown crowd? He managed a top-10 finish in Qatar, after all.

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