Marc Marquez returns from MotoGP injury to COTA, a track he’s dominated

Marquez returns MotoGP COTA
Jose Breton / Getty Images

With his confidence level diminished by a brutal crash in Round 2 of the MotoGP season, Marc Marquez makes his return from injury to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, a track on which he has seven wins in eight events. The only MotoGP race Marquez has not won in the history of the United States Grand Prix went to Alex Rins in 2019.

Anyone who has not yet seen the crash of Marquez high siding off his Honda in warmups for the Indonesian Grand Prix will need to shoo the children from the room and brace before clicking on the Twitter link below. Marquez was unable to mount up for that race and missed last week’s Argentina Grand Prix, but his quick return to the bike is a testament to the protective gear used by MotoGP.

Marquez finished fifth in the season opening Grand Prix of Qatar. With 11, he is 34 points out of first with 17 rounds remaining and has a step hill to climb if he wants to repeat his 2019 championship. For this weekend, the most important goal is to regain his comfort on the bike.

“I’m happy to be here and to race again – to be fit again, this is important,” Marquez said in a Friday press conference from the track. “It’s true that the confidence is not very high at the moment. I have a good memory of (the crash), but we arrive at a very big moment from a very big crash. A bit injured, but I (am back) from that injury earlier than I expected.

“Step by step. It’s time to rebuild the confidence and time to ride the bike again.”

Marquez beat eventual champion Fabio Quartararo to the line by more than four seconds.

And he has not lost much speed. In the first practice session of the weekend, Marquez posted the fifth fastest lap of 2:04.469, less than half a second off the leader’s pace.

The fastest rider in that session was the only man to beat Marquez at COTA. Rins posted a lap of 02:04.007.

Last week’s Argentina Grand Prix winner, Aleix Esparago is looking forward to the United States Grand Prix to continue his momentum.

“After the victory, on the flight coming to America with my friend, I was thinking that after a long career in the championship – more than half my life in the paddock – I was not able to win,” Esparago said. “After the victory in Argentina, we have to make it memorable, so we got a new tattoo with the date of the victory. I think it’s a very good way to understand how difficult it was so that we will never forget.”

Raúl Fernández won in Moto2, but it was a great day for fifth-place American Cameron Beaubier, who scored the first top-five on his home circuit. He went on to score another top-five two weeks later in Portimão, Portugal.

Joe Roberts was not quite as fortunate in this race last season. He finished 18th, 32 seconds behind the leader.

Last year for Beaubier was up and down. His five top-10s were evenly distributed throughout the season. Roberts scored five of his six top-10s in the first seven rounds before finishing outside the top 15 in three of the final five races.

So far in 2022, Roberts has finished between eighth and 13th. Beaubier’s results are even more closely grouped, between ninth and 12th.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.