Undefeated Marquez aims for 10th straight win
Spaniard Marc Marquez hopes to keep his perfect start to the season intact by winning his 10th straight race at the Indianapolis Grand Prix at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Marquez, who is the youngest rider in history to win nine races in a row, has a perfect total of 225 points in the world standings, 77 points ahead of Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.
Marquez said Thursday he is well rested and eager to kick off the second half of the 18-race season at Indianapolis.
"We had some rest over the holidays, one week more or less but now we are ready to go again," he said. "We are excited to ride again and to look at the new layout and the new surface here at Indy."
Marquez dominated the German MotoGP last month in Sachsenring, finishing ahead of compatriot Pedrosa with former double world champion Jorge Lorenzo in third.
With the victory, the 21-year-old Marquez surpassed Mike Hailwood as the youngest rider to win nine consecutive races. Hailwood did it in 1964.
Stefan Bradl led during the opening stages of the German race before Marquez glided past with 24 laps to go.
It then came down to a straight battle between Marquez and Pedrosa with Lorenzo well back in third.
Pedrosa applied what pressure he could but Marquez just got stronger and stronger as the race went on and accelerated further into the distance for the easy win.
Riders will notice some improvements to the Indianapolis 500 track for this weekend`s race after critics said last year it was too bumpy.
"The improvements are quite big," said Yamaha`s Valentino Rossi. "A lot of bumps seem to be gone and the new surface looks a lot better."
Crowd favourite Nicky Hayden, of the US, will not race Sunday as he is still recovering from wrist surgery.
"You hate to miss your home race," Hayden said. "The surgery went well."
Meanwhile, 27-year-old Lorenzo on Thursday signed a new two-year deal with Yamaha which will keep him at the team until 2016.
"I am very proud to have reached this agreement with Yamaha because it was always my priority and I want to end my career with them," Lorenzo, the 2010 and 2012 world champion, said.
"I had a lot of problems in the first half of the year but I think that we can learn from this and come back stronger."
Lorenzo is currently in fifth place in the world championship, 128 points behind Marquez.