2016 MotoGP Championship Standings After Race 3, Austin, Texas

1 Marc Marquez Honda 66  
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 45 -21
3 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 33 -33
4 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 28 -38
5 Dani Pedrosa Honda 27 -39
6 Hector Barbera Ducati 25 -41
7 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 23 -43
8 Maverick Viñales Suzuki 23 -43
9 Eugene Laverty Ducati 21 -45
10 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki 21 -45
11 Andrea Iannone Ducati 16 -50
12 Scott Redding Ducati 16 -50
13 Bradley Smith Yamaha 16 -50
14 Stefan Bradl Aprilia 15 -51
15 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia 14 -52
16 Michele Pirro Ducati 12 -54
17 Tito Rabat Honda 11 -55
18 Jack Miller Honda 2 -64
19 Yonny Hernandez Ducati 2 -64
20 Loris Baz Ducati 1 -65
21 Cal Crutchlow Honda   -66
Round Number: 

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It's very early days but there is a lot to said for not crashing!. Another Non finish from Lorenzo o Rossi and Marquez staying upright would make it a very tough year for your chances. Dovizioso would be in a nice position if he had picked up say 32 points from the two takedowns

If Dovi was only 11 points behind Marquez - well, how would that affect his confidence and drive to keep chipping away? But hey, that's how it goes. Let's hope he can dig deep and maintain his focus.

It's still early in the season, but I've come to a few personal conclusions:

This should be a great season.  It looks like it may be a heart-breaker for many fans and riders.  Luck / random chance always plays into a championship season to an extent, but the tires seem to have exacerbated that dramatically.  We've seen the regular crashers fall, but a number of the most consistent riders have also slid down the road.

Barring luck, good or bad, Rossi seems to have about a 4th-5th place race pace.  Lady Luck danced one dance with him so far, and kicked him in the shin once.  I don't see him as a major factor this year.

Like last year, the Ducati's seem to have early season race pace.  Their current deficit will be hard to overcome, but I expect they will pick up at least two wins.

The Suzukis seem to be about on par with Rossi.  Not enough pace to challenge for wins without problems befalling other riders, but they will probably get a few podiums.

Again, all this is just personal opinion / speculation, but I expect a two-man championship battle between Marquez and Lorenzo.  Both have shown some brilliance, and a willingness to settle for the best result they can get rather than throwing it away.  IMHO, the current points reflect fairly accurately their seasons so far.  Neither have benefitted from others' mistakes, nor been punished by the same.  I suppose that there is some question of Marc's benefitting from Crazy Joe's Qatar crash.

I'm still keeping an eye on Rabat at the back end of the field.  Scoring points, many/most/all of them from the misfortune of others, but he looks to be improving.  I appreciate his work ethic and continue to wish him well.

TLDR - I think this will continue to be a great year.

Sound comments there for the most part. I don't agree that Rossi has only 4th-5th place potential though. As the quote goes, 'write Valentino Rossi off at your peril', and it's on the money - when the red lights go out, he goes from pre-race footnote to serious podium contender, if not potential winner. And I don't say that as a Rossi fanboi - I've always appreciated his talent and achievements, but he's never been a rider that I've 'followed'. But I certainly expect to see him fighting for wins this year.

I agree regarding Ducati but I suspect that Dovi may have a surprise for us this year, at least between now and when he sews up his 2017 contract (he is at that point in his career).

Suzuki are a hard one to call - Aleix is probably not going to do much more but Maverick could surprise. But I can't help but think we're going to see a Chris Vermeulen season all over again - a rider who is very very fast but ultimately let down by the bike remaining 10% below the Yamaha and Honda all season.

Rabat I totally agree on. Very much a dark horse in the field.

And speaking of dark horses - Pedrosa's comment that he was trying to ride the bike in a different way is one of the best things I've heard in MotoGP for years... like Rossi, you can never write Pedrosa off. No-one can throw a surprise race up like he can - when he is on he is on. If he can build his pace up between now and mid season it could get very interesting.