100% success — there's no other way to describe it. Every time 93 steps onto the track, he crosses the finish line in first place. He's had five victories and five pole positions, one of those achieved by running down pit lane to change his motorbike, against the clock. The only perfect score missing from his impressive collection is the fastest lap, but even so he was responsible for four of the possible five at this circuit. Is there anything left to say? Well, yes. On top of all this, Marc Márquez holds the records for the pole lap in 2015 (2:02.135) and the fastest race lap in 2014 (2:03.575). What's his secret? How can the Repsol Honda rider be so infallible on this track? There's a long, varied list of reasons, but here at Box Repsol we are going to try to break it down – why is Marc so good at COTA?
What's the Circuit of the Americas like?
One of the most striking characteristics of this track is that it runs anti-clockwise. It has more turns than any other track in the Championship — 20, 11 of which are left turns. All these bends still leave enough room for the World Championship's longest straight. In effect, the route has an impressive 1200-metre stretch, 59 metres longer than the second largest which is at the Mugello circuit. Another section to take into account is the one between Turn 3 and Turn 9, with many hairpin bends that require precise driving and perfect positioning to push the motorbike to the max. To fit in all of these challenges, the track is 5513 m long – the third longest in the World Championship. If that wasn't enough, it also has a 41 m slope on the final stretch This track certainly demands a wide range of skills and the set-up must be just right!
Shall we do a lap with Marc Márquez?
Do you fancy climbing onto the RC213V to see how good Marc is at this track? Get ready, because we're off! As soon as we set off, we head uphill towards the first turn. It's a very tight left turn and there are many possible paths, making it a good overtaking opportunity. The end of the turn takes us downhill, so we go into the turn 2 very quickly. This is followed by a straight, and then we find ourselves approaching the trickiest section of the track.
Turns 3 to 10 are a rollercoaster of peaks and falls, with constant changes of incline. The precise use of fuel and brakes is of the utmost importance and, as we know, number 93 is amazing when it comes to making the most of his brakes. Posture is fundamental in this section, as is choosing the right route. This is particularly relevant between turns 6 and 8, where good traction becomes the most important factor. The tenth and final turn in this section is blind because of its gradient change. We approach it at 190 Km/h and drive downhill to turn 11, before reaching the longest straight of the championship.
In this straight, riders average speeds of up to 345 Km/h, but it is better not to take your foot off the brake because it ends in a very tight left turn. We then move into a stretch with three slow turns, where choosing the best route is pivotal. By contrast, the next three turns are very open and could be seen as one huge bend. Its shape encourages us to keep accelerating, whilst pushing the motorbike towards the outer edge of the track. Then there are two more turns before we return to the start line. This is the very same track that witnessed Marc Márquez's first MotoGP victory.
One thing is for sure, the Circuit of the Americas is extreme. Having the perfect set-up and knowing how to make the most of a variety of situations that test us to the limit are the most important factors. Riders must drive carefully, being soft on the brakes and tough on the bends — a perfect balance that Marc Márquez has got down to a tee.