Marquez has utterly dominated the Austin round since it joined the world championship four years ago, winning each race from pole position. But he arrives at the 2017 event with only a fourth-place to his name from the opening rounds.
The Repsol Honda star suffered a costly fall from the lead last time in Argentina, leaving him 37-points behind new Yamaha signing Vinales, fastest throughout winter testing and winner of both races this season.
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Like the other Honda riders, Marquez is far from comfortable on the latest RC213V and capable of much more if and when progress is made in solving the acceleration issues.
But Vinales can also expect to get faster as he gains experience with his new team and machine.
Nonetheless, Marquez won in Texas despite similar early-season troubles in both 2015 and 2016. Can he get his season back on track with a victory this weekend?
For now, the Spanish star would only admit to podium aspirations...
"After the Argentina race, I'm happy to go to a track I love as much as Austin, although of course I would have preferred to arrive there in a better position," Marquez said. "Anyway, another race weekend is about to start and we'll give 100% to try to get our first podium this season.
"I have great memories of Austin, and for me it's one of the best venues on the race calendar. I like the layout of the track, as it has many different types of sections and corners and lots of elevation changes. I also love the “American” style, with all the fans enjoying the sport and the fun at the track, so let's get back in action and see how it goes there."
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa also fell in Argentina, 10 laps later, but at the same turn as Marquez. Pedrosa's 2016 Austin round ended in a collision with Andrea Dovizioso, but the Spaniard was runner-up to Marquez in 2013 and 2014.
@We had the chance to spend a few days back home in Europe, to rest a little and also to do some good training, and now I can't wait to get back on my bike in Austin," Pedrosa said.
"It's a pity we didn't get points in Argentina, but we'll put that behind us and concentrate on the positives. Now that we know more about our bike, we'll work to improve the stability and the general setup, and hopefully we can take another step this weekend.
"I like the circuit and visiting Austin and the fans are really fantastic there, so let's hope for a good weekend in Texas!'