Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Austin:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at the Austin MotoGP round:
Scott Redding found something he liked during FP2, dropping six seconds a lap from his best FP1 time and setting the fast lap of the day for Moto2. Xavier Simeon finished three-tenths shy of the Briton and Johann Zarco ended his day another one-tenth behind in third. As in the MotoGP and Moto3 second practices, higher track temperatures contributed significantly to improved times. Fast man in FP1, Nicolas Terol, led for much of FP2 but with about 12 minutes remaining, top lap times dropped beyond his reach. Notably, Pol Espargaro still appeared to struggle and improved only to 7th from 12th and remained six-tenths behind Redding.
Marc Marquez did nothing to change the impression that he is the man to beat at COTA with a half-second advantage on the second-fastest rider. That rider, Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, narrowed the gap with Marquez as temperatures climbed and lap times dropped. A surprising third fastest by Stephan Bradl indicates there's something about the track that agrees with Honda. But what also seems to work is additional track time. All of the top riders today spent time at a COTA test earlier in the year. Even so, Marquez's best time today was two seconds slower than his fast lap from testing here in March at the new, 5.5 km (3.4 mi.) circuit near Austin, Texas.
Maverick Vinales proved to be a quick learner shaving nearly four full seconds from his FP1 best to lead the pack with a 2'18.254. A couple of bike lengths separated Alex Rins and Luis Salom for second and third fastest making it an early KTM sweep for the top three slots. While many riders could be seen experimenting with different racing lines at the new circuit, most were substantially faster in the second session as Romano Fenati's best time in FP1 would have put him in 23rd for FP2.
Nicolas Terol saved his best for last and ran down an initially quick Takaaki Nakagami in the first Moto2 free practice at the new Circuit of the Americas track near Austin, Texas. Dominique Aegerter also clipped Nakagami toward the end of the session, finishing two-tenths ahead of Qatar's third-place finisher but still four-tenths shy of Terol's fast lap of 2'15.103. In a clear indication that quick in Qatar doesn't initially translate into speed at COTA, Scott Redding (23rd) and Pol Espargaro (12th) finished the first free-practice well down the timesheets.
Marc Marquez picked up where left he off in testing one month ago by again setting the fast lap on the new Circuit of the Americas track in Texas. Qatar race winner Jorge Lorenzo finished the session only two-tenths shy of Repsol's wunderkind but the rest of the field has some catching up to do. Third-fastest Dani Pedrosa, 1.6 seconds behind his teammate, still has not found his rhythm on the track. The surprise of the first-ever MotoGP practice at COTA are the factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso (fourth) and Nicky Hayden (sixth) who bracketed a fifth-best Valentino Rossi. Neither Ducati rider had tested at the track before. Top CRT (so far) is Yonny Hernandez in 13th place, 4.3 seconds from leader Marquez.
Romano Fenati led the first free practice at the new Circuit of the Americas track near Austin, Texas with Maverick Vinales and Jonas Folger rounding out the top of the timesheet. Top riders, who had never set a wheel on the track prior to Friday morning, shaved nearly eight seconds from their initial times during the 30-minute session under blue skies. Qatar race winner Luis Salom began the session well off the pace but closed within six-tenths of a second toward the end of the session. Expect times to continue to drop.
"I thought Laguna Seca was a tough track to learn, and then I came here." Bradley Smith's verdict on the Circuit of The Americas at Austin, Texas, after six laps on the scooter around the track. Smith's words sum up the general feeling about the newest addition to the MotoGP calendar, mind-boggling sequences of decreasing and increasing radius turns, with blind entrances, complex combinations and a few hard-braking hairpins with tough entrance points. Even the long back straight undulates, the huge, slightly bowed, 1200 meter length of tarmac rising and falling, leaving you wondering where you are along it.
The setting is beautiful, in the rolling low hills to the east of Austin, just beyond the airport, and the facilities are quite simply overwhelming: modern, well-equipped, brightly lit, attractively designed. Indeed, both the factory and Tech 3 Yamaha teams are delighted with the facility: after a battery fire at 1am, it was only the circuit's outstanding sprinkler system and alert response by the fire service which prevented the fire spreading out of control, destroying maybe eight or twelve MotoGP machines, and causing upwards of $50 million of damage.
And yet the track is far from perfect. "The track is better to look at than to ride," Valentino Rossi described it to the Italian press. The track has a number of outstanding sections, the fast sweeper of Turn 2 and the three consecutive right handers of Turns 16 through 18 standing out above all. It has some extremely challenging and technical sections, especially the Esses of Turns 3 through 5. Getting it right in each section is crucial: end up wide in one place, miss the apex by a foot somewhere, and you are off line for the next section, which means you'll also miss the entry for the corner after that, and before you know it, you've lost half a second and can throw away your lap. Many of these corners demand precision, and above all, knowing where you need to be on the circuit for the next corner, and the one after that, and the one after that.
Press release previews ahead of this weekend's MotoGP round at Austin, Texas:
Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams at Austin:
A fire in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha garage in the small hours of Thursday morning has caused disruption for several teams at the start of this weekend's Austin round of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas. A lithium battery on a motorcycle starter engine appears to have caught fire, after being left on a charger overnight, a common occurrence in the paddock. Fortunately, the sprinkler installation in the garages put out the fire quickly, meaning there was no damage to the race bikes, and most importantly of all, no injury to anyone at the circuit.
There is damage, though. Sprinkler systems went off in the garages set aside for the factory Yamaha, Tech 3 Yamaha, Cardion AB and LCR Honda teams, soaking everything in the garages with water, and filling the boxes used to store equipment with water. Computers and servers were lost to water damage, while other electrical equipment is being examined for signs of water damage. The loss of the computers is inconvenient, but Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told the media that they had another server which was undamaged, and a full data back up plan in place.
The Alstare Ducati World Superbike team issued the following press release after their two-day test at Jerez:
Team SBK Ducati Alstare completes a positive two-day test at Jerez
Jerez (Spain), Wednesday 17th April 2013: Team SBK Ducati Alstare has today concluded an encouraging two-day test session at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Having travelled directly from MotorLand Aragon after Round 2 of the world championship last Sunday, the team’s riders Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini worked hard with their technicians as they concentrated on refining the set-up of their 1199 Panigale bikes. In very warm conditions (32˚C approx), with track temperatures in the region of 55˚C, the team had time to test all of the solutions available in terms of bike set-up, focusing particularly on identifying settings and improving traction in preparation for upcoming races.
Carlos Checa: ‘These were two very important days that we used to better understand the bike’s reactions. The weather helped us this time around too. We worked on different solutions for both the front and rear setting and in the end I’m happy with what we were able to get done. We’ve found a set-up that I like and this is important in order to have a good base from which to start at Assen.’
To celebrate Chaz Davies' impressive first double win in World Superbikes at the Motorland Aragon circuit, BMW issued the following press release, containing an interview with the Welshman. In the interview, Davies talks about the improvements BMW has made to their S1000RR for this season, the crucial advances made at the Jerez WSBK test, and his thoughts on being a contender for the 2013 WSBK title.
The press release from BMW is shown below:
Chaz Davies: “BMW has done an awesome job.”
BMW Motorrad GoldBet SBK Team rider Chaz Davies speaks about his great first double victory in the FIM Superbike World Championship at Aragón.
In the wake of the tragic and repugnant bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday, the Circuit of The Americas, the track hosting the Austin round of MotoGP, has announced increased security measures for this weekend's race. Everyone attending practice and the races will be required to go through security checkpoints before being allowed to enter the facility. Everyone attending could also be subject to searches by security staff before entry. These measures were also in place for previous events at the circuit, but in light of the events in Boston, the security checks are likely to be more thorough.
Below is the press release from the Circuit of The Americas, containing full details of the security measures, as well as a list of items which will not be allowed into the track:
Circuit of The Americas™ announces security measures for Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas
Security checkpoints, list of prohibited items standard protocol for all major Circuit events