Extending a perfect Austin MotoGP win streak to six in a row this weekend would be the perfect way for Marc Marquez to try and turn the page on the Argentina controversy.

The reigning world champion has been under fire since receiving no less than three different penalties for his conduct during the Termas race:

A ride-through for his actions after stalling on the grid was followed by a one-place penalty for heavy contact with Aleix Espargaro, then a 30-second post-race penalty for causing Valentino Rossi to fall after a collision at the same corner later in the race.

Given the past history between MotoGP two biggest stars, it was the final infringement that unsurprisingly grabbed the headlines, especially given the verbal attack by a furious Rossi.

That included the extraordinary claim that Marquez has 'destroyed our sport' by deliberately making contact with other riders and 'hoping you crash'. The reigning four-time champion denied the charge, saying he had slipped on a wet patch and done 'nothing crazy', but many were asking how many 'racing incidents' it takes to get a black flag.

It will be interesting to see how Marquez and Rossi approach this weekend's COTA event, where Dorna are expected to try and defuse the situation - starting with neither rider being invited to the pre-event press conference, an abnormal situation given Marquez's record at the track.

Marquez took his first MotoGP pole and victory at the venue in 2013 and has been unbeaten in COTA qualifying and races ever since - also bringing his tally of consecutive wins in the USA to 11 across all classes.

“After a good start to the season in Qatar, we got no points in Argentina, but I was feeling good on the bike in both races, which is positive," Marquez said. "The season is long and the most important thing is that our level is there.

"Now we go to Austin, a good circuit with a good atmosphere and great memories: it was the place of my first pole and my first MotoGP victory and we’ve been able to be strong there since then, so it’s a good place to try and get a good result.

"That said, every season is different: the bikes, the tyres, the conditions. This year some work was done to reduce the bumps, so we’ll see how the track is. As we’ve done so far, over the weekend we’ll focus our work on the race setup, and then on Sunday we’ll see where we’re able to finish.”

Having dropped from fifth to 18th by the post-race penalty in Argentina, Marquez is now fifth in the world championship, 18 points behind LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow.

The good news for Marquez is that, incidents aside, he was in a class of his own on the damp Termas track - riding from 19th to 5th, despite having to yield places following the Espargaro incident.

But one thing's for sure, with his on-track behavior under the microscope, Marquez cannot afford another race like Argentina...

 

 

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