Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams and Dunlop ahead of the inaugural races at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina:
Two races in, and patterns are already starting to emerge in Grand Prix's junior classes. In Moto2, preseason favorite Tito Rabat is living up to expectations as his challenges fall by the wayside. In Moto3, Jack Miller has a far firmer stranglehold on the class than expected, while the new Honda NSF250RW is proving that when HRC put their minds to building a factory race bike, the competition had better watch out.
Austin, Texas, proved to be a case in point. A bizarre start to the Moto2 race saw a massive pile up at the treacherous first corner, the run up the hill combining with the massive nerves of a Moto2 start – arguably motorcycle racing's most rabid class – to produce chaos. Josh Herrin, feeling the strain of coming in as reigning AMA Superbike champion to find himself running anonymously in mid-pack in Moto2, ran in to Turn 1 too hot, try to jam his Caterham Suter into a spot which wasn't there, and ended up taking down half the field. Herrin was understandably nervous in front of his home crowd, and feeling the pressure of being the ambassador for American racers, but he did himself and any AMA hopefuls looking to Moto2 a disservice. Herrin fractured a collarbone whle training, and so will have to wait until Jerez to start to make amends.
Championship leader Tito Rabat also got a mediocre start from pole, then dropped back a long way in the first couple of laps, before starting to fight his way forward again. Xavier Simeon looked like making it a very big day for Belgium for most of the race, before massively outbraking himself on the way into Turn 1 as he came under press from Dominique Aegerter and Maverick Viñales. Aegerter led for a while, but he could offer no resistance to Viñales. The reigning Moto3 champion quickly opened a gap and crossed the line with a comfortable margin to spare.
The Argentinian round of MotoGP will be the first time a major racing series has visited the Termas de Rio Hondo, the brand new circuit in northern Argentina. As the track is still so new, the circuit designers - Dromo Racetrack Design from Italy - have produced some background material containing key facts about the circuit.
Alongside the list of facts, there are also a couple of interesting infographics giving a better idea of what the track is like. There is a track map showing the elevation change on the circuit. But most interesting of all, is the map created using simulation software to estimate which corner will be taken in which gear, and what speeds will be reached.
As a primer to getting an idea of what to expect this weekend, these infographics, along with the press release from Marc VDS Racing and video lap, are great place to start. Action starts in Argentina on Thursday.
Termas de Rio Hondo MotoGP Lap Time - Simulated with DroCAS™ [Infographic]
Using DroCAS™ simulators, Dromo designed the racetrack as per vehicle dynamics and to enhance rider's skills capabilities.
The result is a fast flowing racetrack as provided in the infographics.
Alberto Puig has a knack for discovering and nurturing talent. From the point he was forced to retire from racing due to injury, the former 500cc rider has been involved in finding and bringing on new young riders. He has been involved in one way or another with many of the current riders in MotoGP, and more than one world champion. Though he is best known for being the man behind Dani Pedrosa, Puig has also discovered and supported Casey Stoner, Toni Elias, Bradley Smith, Leon Camier, Chaz Davies, Julian Simon, Joan Lascorz, Efren Vazquez and many more. Puig was one of the key figures behind the MotoGP Academy and the Red Bull Rookies, which continues to fill the ranks of MotoGP's three classes.
So it was a natural choice for Dorna to turn to Puig when they needed help to run the Asia Talent Cup, a series set up to bring on talent from Japan and other parts of Southeast Asia. Dorna and Honda have set up the series together, and Puig's strong ties to both organizations made him the best man for the job. The fact that he is no longer so closely involved with Dani Pedrosa meant he had more free time on his hands to get involved in the Asia Talent Cup.
With Asia being an absolutely vital market for both Dorna and the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, we were keen to learn more. Scott Jones spoke to Alberto Puig at Austin, where he gave us a fascinating insight into the series, his role in it, and how it came about.
Those who fear a Marquez whitewash at the Circuit of the Americas could draw some comfort from the raw numbers on the timesheets as Saturday progressed. Marquez gap from Friday was cut dramatically, first to under a second in FP3, then to a third of a second in FP4, before being slashed to less than three tenths in qualifying. Is the end of Marquez' dominance at Austin in sight?
But raw numbers are deceptive. Sure, the gap in single lap times is small, but there is still no one who can get close to the reigning world champion. Marquez' four flying laps were faster than the best laps by any other rider on the grid. Second place man Dani Pedrosa's fastest lap was still slower than Marquez' slowest. In FP4, Marquez punched out four laps in the 2'03s, while the best anyone else could do is lap in the 2'04s. During the morning FP3 session, Marquez racked up five 2'03s, while only Pedrosa could manage two 2'03s, Stefan Bradl, Andrea Dovizioso and Bradley Smith managing only a single solitary lap under 2'04.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Austin:
Efren Vazquez, fastest rider in Friday's final free practice, showed no signs of slowing down Saturday morning during FP3 at Austin's Circuit of the Americas. Vazquez's time of 2'16.524 not only put him at the top of the timesheet, he was the sole rider to dip into the 2'16s during the breezy, cool, morning session.
Alex Marquez put in a fast final lap to grab the second spot, more than half a second behind the leader. Alex Rins took third, just another tenth behind Marquez. Rins third gives Honda the top three times heading into qualifying. Niccolo Antonelli grabbed fourth as the top KTM. Isaac Vinales (5th) and Jakob Kornfeil (6th) rounded out the top six. The top six riders are all within a second of the leader.
Jack Miller -- winner of the last race at Qatar -- led much of the session but with seven minutes left lap times started to fall, pushing him into seventh at slightly more than a second behind.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Austin:
Efren Vazquez set the fastest Moto3 lap of the weekend Friday afternoon at the COTA track near Austin in the second free practice. Vazquez's 2'16.696 put him a little more than one-tenth better than rival Jack Miller and within a few tenths of last year's pole.
Miller, winner of the season's first race at Qatar, led for much of the second free practice before Vazquez put in the top lap. Isaac Vinales finished the day's final Moto3 session in third, a half a second back. Alex Rins, winner last year at COTA, finished in fifth, just behind an increasingly quick Jakub Kornfeil (4th).
Alex Rins set the pace in the early at the Circuit of the Americas track near Austin, Texas Friday with a 2'17.964. Efren Vazquez ended FP1 second fastest, just four-hundredths shy of the leader with Jack Miller another four-tenths back.
Miller, winner of the previous race in Qatar, led much of the session. But Rins upped the pace late, setting his fastest lap at the end of the Friday's first practice under a clear sky sky with light winds. Rins' time is faster than his FP1 in the circuit's inaugural race in 2013. But it remains a full second off Rins' COTA pole-sitting time from last year.
Isaac Vinales, fast the whole session, grabbed fourth. Alex Marquez -- Rins' teammate and little brother to MotoGP's Marc -- crashed unhurt late in the session on a fast lap. Still, he managed fifth at six-tenths off the leader's pace.