Reigning MotoGP champion Marc Marquez insists he needs more of his patient 2016 approach, rather than a return to earlier all-or-nothing ways, as he tries to dig himself out of a 37-point championship deficit to Maverick Vinales.

Marquez has suffered his worst start to a MotoGP season after a distant fourth place in Qatar was followed by a disastrous fall from the lead in Argentina.

"No. I need even more 2016 style," Marquez declared. "I mean, in Argentina I tried to take a little bit of risk because I felt really good. I felt that we were able to win, or fight for the victory. But what I saw is that we are still not 100% ready to take that risk and so I need to have even more of the 2016 mentality.

"But in the end you must always push. We are far from the championship, but it's really long. Now we are in Austin, a good circuit, good atmosphere, good memories, so we will try to fight again. Always I think positive and the most important thing is that the level is there."

If ever there was a circuit where Marquez can stop Vinales, it is COTA.

Marquez and Honda have won every Austin race, from pole, since the circuit joined the MotoGP calendar in 2013. Indeed, Marquez has never beaten in America as a premier-class rider, with two other victories at Indianapolis, plus a win at Laguna Seca.

"My confidence is really high. Maybe last year it was a little bit more because I came here from a victory in Argentina, but in Argentina my level was good so the confidence is there. I was leading the race and feeling strong," he said.

" But I know and I understand that every year is different. I mean, I won here for the last four years here but this year can be different; different weather, tyres, bikes. But we will try again and I know that it's a good circuit for us, so the best way to start is push from FP1 until the race and then we will see if I can be on the top of the podium."

New Yamaha rider Vinales was fastest throughout winter testing, before winning both races so far this season. Has Marquez been surprised?

"After his pre-season, it was not a big surprise because already he was really strong and consistent. So I already expected he will be very, very fast. He has two victories, the first two races in a row. It's impressive and we will see. Of course we will try to stop him as soon as possible. But at the moment still we need to work in our garage to try to be more strong on Sunday."

If Marquez cannot beat Vinales this weekend, it will push him closer to two race wins behind (50 points) and fingers will surely start hovering over the panic button. Marquez declined to label Austin as a 'must win' and said he would be pleased to claim his first podium of the year.

"First podium would be already good, but of course we will see on Sunday if we can fight for the win or not," he explained. "Here is the best circuit, to have the first good result of the season.

"We will work hard from Friday and then see where we can arrive, see where the Yamaha riders are - who look like the strongest at the moment - and try to do our best."

By Peter McLaren

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