Marquez magnificent again in Austin as Quartararo closes on title

By Sports Desk October 03, 2021

Marc Marquez returned to the top step of the podium at the Grand Prix of the Americas, where Fabio Quartararo took another step towards the MotoGP world championship.

Six-time premier-class champion Marquez did not finish a single grand prix in 2020 due to injury and has struggled at times with his fitness again this year, unable to play a part in the title race.

But the Repsol Honda great provided a reminder of his talent with a straightforward second win of the season in Texas on Sunday.

Marquez had won on 10 of his 11 previous appearances in the United States, only failing at the previous GP of the Americas in 2019 as he retired.

He started from third but led from the first corner, ducking up the inside and never looking like relinquishing his advantage.

Marquez maintained a steady pace initially, but having held his own looked to kick clear and was comfortable all the way to prompt celebrations in his garage.

Crucially in terms of the title picture, Quartararo followed Marquez over the line, his second consecutive second-placed finish enough to stretch his season lead.

Fabio Bagnaia, Quartararo's nearest rival, started from pole for a third race running but could not follow up back-to-back victories with a third.

He was forced to settle for third and now trails by 52 points with only three grands prix remaining.

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    It means Carrick will be in charge for a third successive game, having already led the team to a 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League and a 1-1 draw away to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

    United's hopes of upgrading from caretaker Carrick to interim boss Rangnick in time for the Old Trafford clash with the Gunners have been hit by red tape.

    As the team went through their preparations for the game at the Carrington training base, Carrick told United's players he would be giving out the orders once more.

    In a statement on their official website, United said: "Ralf Rangnick was announced as interim manager on Monday but, while the club follows the regulatory process around a work visa, Carrick will continue at the helm.

    "Michael has communicated this to players and staff at Carrington in a busy week for the club."

    United announced on Monday an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

    Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

    Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

    He has been working most recently at Lokomotiv Moscow, but the 63-year-old is now set to step into the highest-profile position of his career.

    Carrick has been at the helm since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal on November 21, which followed a dismal run of form that saw United lose five of seven Premier League games.

    They sit eighth in the table, five points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, having won just five of 13 domestic league games this season and with a goal difference of minus one.

    United are at home again on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace, seemingly a more realistic target for Rangnick's first game.

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    Messi won football's top individual accolade for a record-extending seventh time on Monday largely thanks to his success at international level with Argentina.

    The 34-year-old played a key part in Argentina's Copa America success, contributing to nine of the 13 goals his side scored as he ended his long wait for an international trophy.

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    "I don't know if relief is the right word, but there was definitely some joy, some smiles, some hugs," said the coach.

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    The 26-year-old Jokic is averaging 26.2 points, 13.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists this season, so ostensibly this was a par performance. How the Nuggets had missed him at his most routine though.

    Jokic felt there was a collective improvement in the team, adding: "Everybody played well. We had seven players in double figures. So, everybody shared the ball. Everybody touched it."

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