MotoGP Pick ‘Em: Grand Prix of America

MotoGP Grand Prix America
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images

The stars of MotoGP are back at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) for the Grand Prix of America after being forced to miss last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are chomping at the bit to put on a great show.

The last time MotoGP was in America, it was early 2019 and the names at the top of the order were well known with Alex Rins, Valentino Rossi, and Jack Miller standing on the podium.

Two of this week’s top contenders, Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia were outside the top five with a seventh- and ninth-place result respectively. The tide has turned and they stand at the top of the points’ standings this week.

The free-to-play MotoGP Pick ‘Em game is simple to play, but the questions are not easy this week as tens of thousands of players vie for a $5,000 jackpot.

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Finishing Position for Fabio Quartararo

Keys: Quartararo is having a career year with five wins to his credit, but he also has finished off the podium on five occasions. His most recent win came in England and he was second in the latest race in San Marino. Three weeks earlier, he topped the field in Dutch GP and three weeks before then, he was victorious in Italy.

Edge: First. So far this season, Quartararo has not gone three races without winning and if the pattern holds, he is due this week.

How Many Honda Riders in the Top 10

Keys: Marc Marquez is a fairly safe bet to finish in the top 10 with an average of .500 inside that mark. Takaaki Nakagami has the same percentage, but has been a little more miss than hit when he’s been outside that mark.

Edge: Two. Even if Nakagami misses, it’s a fair bet that one of the other three Honda riders will take his place. It’s unlikely that two of them will.

Most Podiums by Manufacturer

Matchup: Yamaha, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Aprilia

Keys: None of the manufacturers have more than three riders inside the top 10 in the points while the top three each race for a different manufacturer. It would not be a complete surprise to see three plates standing tall.

Edge: Ducati. That said, Ducati has three of the top five spots with Bagnaia, Johan Zarco, and Miller. The law of averages puts them up top.

Time Lapse (between 1st and 3rd)

Keys: This might be the most difficult pick of the lineup as the last five GPs have been a mixed bag. The biggest lapse from first to third in that span was Brad Binder’s win over Bagnaia and Jorge Martin

Edge: 3-4 seconds. The most typical recent margin first to third has been about four seconds with a few just above and just below. We’re expecting an exciting race, however, so we’ll lean ‘low’.

Best Finish Among Ducati Riders

Matchup: Francesco Bagnaia, Jack Miller, Johan Zarco, Jorge Martin, Luca Marini, Enea Bastianini

Keys: Miller was consistently fast in free practice and could be the upset rider of the weekend. At the very least, he could be one of the podium finishers for Ducati and if you’re looking to differentiate your picks from the competition, he’s a good choice.

Edge: Bagnaia. With back-to-back wins at Aragon and San Marino plus a podium in Austria, he has the momentum to win the MotoGP Grand Prix of America.

Best Finish Among Rookies

Matchup: Jorge Martin, Luca Marini, Enea Bastianini

Keys: There is a tight battle brewing between Martin and Bastianini with 10 points separating them. Marini is a fairly distant third and can be dropped from consideration.

Edge: Martin. Both Martin and Bastianini have looked good in practice at COTA, but the Pramac Racing rider has a shot at the top 10 in points so Martin gets the nod. Sheer willpower will prove the difference.

Race Winner


If you want to bet on a longshot, Miller has been solid so far at COTA. Bagnaia has those back-to-back wins that can’t be ignored, but Quartararo is hungry after being denied the winner’s share of the pie in his last two starts.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.