2013 Austin MotoGP Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after the first day of practice at Austin:

Marquez leads the way in FP1

Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez set the fastest time of 2'08.756 in this morning's first free practice session for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas and teammate Dani Pedrosa in third position with 2'10.356.

The times are around five seconds slower than those set during the test a month ago, where Marc set the fastest time of 2'03.281. Both riders spoke about lack of grip due to the track conditions, which will gradually improve as more rubber gets laid down.

Marc Marquez 1st 2'08.756

"It feels like the first day when we were here for testing, the track has very little grip, so this morning I was just finding my rhythm and learning the lines again! There's not much more to say! The times were slow but I think this afternoon's free practice will be better"

Dani Pedrosa 3rd 2'10.356

"It was very difficult to try any settings on the bike as the track conditions were not very good, there is no grip. Also, it's quite windy so on the straights the wind is cooling the tyres quite a lot. I hope that the conditions will improve this afternoon with some more sun and bikes on track"

Crutchlow stars on Texas debut

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team’s Cal Crutchlow demonstrated what a fast learner he is today, the British rider immediately setting a fast and competitive pace on his debut at the spectacular new Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Texas.

Faced with the difficult challenge of learning the long and technical track, which features 20 corners, the longest straight on the 18-round MotoGP calendar and a 134ft climb from the start line to the first corner, the 27-year-old excelled in both 45-minute practice sessions to challenge for the top six throughout.

He impressively dropped his pace in this afternoon’s FP2 by well over four seconds compared to the opening 45-minute session to move up from eighth to sixth in the rankings.

Crutchlow ended with a personal best time of 2.06.899 to finish just 0.031s behind Valentino Rossi. And all five riders that finished in front of the former World Supersport Champion have previous experience of COTA having attended a private test session at the state-of-the-art facility near Austin last month.

Conditions today were far from ideal despite a glorious clear blue sky covering the track. A cold wind resulted in low air and track temperatures, which had a big impact on grip levels.

A slippery surface provided the biggest challenge for British rider Bradley Smith, who only felt confident enough to push anywhere close to his limit towards the end of FP2. Smith finished 13th fastest in FP1 and although he was able to shave close to four seconds off his pace this afternoon, he remained in the same position on the combined leaderboard.

He finished the day with a quickest pace of 2.09.424 and the 22-year-old is confident that with more track knowledge to call upon tomorrow he will be challenging for a place inside the top 10.

Cal Crutchlow 6th 2.06.899 – 33 laps

“Firstly I want to say a huge thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew, management and staff at Yamaha and Dorna and COTA officials for helping us get out on track today. The fire in the garage on Wednesday night wasn’t the ideal start to the weekend but my crew have worked non-stop to get everything ready for today and I am proud to work with them. Today was always going to be difficult because this track is really technical, difficult to learn, and you need time to be able to learn all the secrets to go fast. So to be sixth fastest and make such big progress is pleasing. We expected the gap to the front to be quite big and honestly I thought I’d be a little bit further away. I got held up a few times on my good laps too so I’m sure I could have gone a bit faster. This track is amazing with so many different challenges from hard braking, fast straights and lots of changes of direction. We still have a lot of work to do and it will be difficult to be near the front in the race. I need to improve in the braking area. We need to calm the bike down but to be the best of those that didn’t test here is all I can really ask for.”

Bradley Smith 13th 2.09.424 – 33 laps

“It was great to finally be on track today and get a first taste of what is an amazing track but incredibly difficult to learn. After the fire in the garage on Wednesday night my crew and even my old team from Moto2 have been working flat-out to make sure we were ready. So just being on track felt like a big achievement today. This morning was very difficult because I have never ridden with such little grip, and that doesn’t help you learn the track. Going into this afternoon where we did have grip, it took me a while to actually adapt to the track. We improved the bike and I felt much more comfortable at the end and we have a direction to follow for tomorrow morning. What is critical is being able to put the bike where you want and at the moment I am struggling in that area. You have to be so specific here but I am happy to be four seconds faster this afternoon. That’s good progress but I need to make the next step. I know my weak points and I will be ready to make the improvements.”

Repsol Honda lead the way on day one of the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas

After a frustrating morning session, due to low grip levels, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, fully maximised this afternoon's FP2 session.

The two Spanish riders were the only ones capable of recording times in the 2'05's as temperatures improved significantly from this morning - air temperature climbed to 18ºC (compared to 13ºC) and the track temperature doubled to 36ºC.

Both Marc and Dani put on a new soft rear tyre with 14 minutes of the session remaining, and lit up the time sheets, taking 1st and 2nd respectively. Marc went on to further improve his time on his final lap of 16 with a 2'05.031, improving on this morning's time (2'08.756) by over three and a half seconds. Dani, who struggled more in this morning's session, improved his time from FP1 (2'10.356) by almost five seconds with his lap of 2'05.585 set on lap 11 of 16.

Marc Marquez 1st 2'05.031

“It's been a very positive first day. We took the top time and, even though these are only practice sessions, this is important. I think that the key to this Grand Prix is that day-after-day, session-by-session, the grip levels will improve. We have to be aware of this and also to the temperatures - which vary a lot, with much more heat in the afternoon than in the morning. We need to find which tyre works best for every session, and above all we will be working with the race in mind. Let's see if tomorrow we can continue along the same upward path"

Dani Pedrosa 2nd 2'05.585

“Today was a difficult day, because the track had no grip and in general I think all the riders had problems leaning the bike over in the corners. In the morning the tyres took a bit of a beating, but in the afternoon the situation improved a little. In the second session we were able to ride a little better, although I hope that the circuit grip levels increase in the run up to the race, so that we can also improve with them"

The Action Begins in Austin for Grand Prix of the Americas

Austin (Texas, USA), 19th April 2013

Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi kicked off the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas weekend today with the first practice sessions at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

The morning’s first session delivered far slower times than had been recorded at the private test a few weeks ago with cold temperatures and little rubber on the track adding several seconds to the previous times.

The afternoon saw the temperature double from the morning and lap times tumbled for all riders.

Reigning World Champion Lorenzo completed the first of the two sessions in second place and the second in fourth, improving by over two seconds.

Teammate Rossi improved a place from sixth to fifth over the two sessions and also took a large chunk out of his morning time, shaving an impressive four seconds off by the end of the second practice.

Jorge Lorenzo

4th / 2'06.637 / 14 laps

“In the morning we were competitive compared to our rivals but this afternoon when the track improved they had a better feeling and a better confidence to improve much more than us. We were unable to make profit from the improved track conditions. We need to improve the bike to gain some seconds. The track was better for everyone but for the moment it gives our rivals more confidence to go faster. We are better but still not enough.”


Valentino Rossi

5th / 2'06.868 / 17 laps

“The practices are not so bad because we improved a lot compared to this morning and we could stay close to Jorge. Unfortunately the Hondas are very fast which we already knew from the test. We hope to make it better this weekend but especially Marquez is very fast and also Pedrosa and Bradl are faster than us so we have to work and try to improve for tomorrow.”


Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

“That’s the first day in Austin done. We’re position four so of course we’re not so happy; we’re struggling a bit to find the correct grip. The morning session wasn’t great, it was cold and everybody struggled and in the afternoon we struggled a bit more. We are trying to find some extra grip, to drop the lap times we need more on the back. Hopefully tomorrow we can find the right way to improve and close the gap. It’s important to be on the front row and close to the fast lap times.”

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

“We know that the characteristics of this track are not the best for us. We still have one and a half days to work on our set up so we will focus on closing the gap to the front. Unfortunately this morning the track conditions were not good, we couldn't work properly so we lost one session. We have identified the area we need to improve so I am optimistic that tomorrow we can make a big step.”

Busy first day for Ducati Team in Austin

Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden had a full work schedule during MotoGP’s first two free-practice sessions to be held at the Circuit of the Americas. Along with their crews, the Ducati Team riders, who didn’t take part in a private test at the circuit last month and were therefore making their Texas debut on MotoGP bikes, gathered as much data as possible in the windy but sunny conditions. Temperatures were lower than expected for the morning practice, affecting traction.

In addition, the Italian had to deal with a minor electronics issue in the afternoon session, but he switched to his second bike and set his best time of the day, which was good enough for seventh place. Hayden was ninth.

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 7th (2:07.236)

“Today went pretty well, both in the morning and the afternoon. I’m happy because although the conditions and the track were both difficult, we’re not so far from the top guys, and I feel good on the bike. The conditions changed a lot in the second session and will probably change again tomorrow, so we’ll continue working and see what times we can do. Grip is really important on this circuit, because it’s quite strange—different from the tracks where we usually race. I thought it would be fast, but it’s not; there’s a long straightaway, but almost all of the corners are taken in second or third gear. Still, they’ve really done a great job here.”

Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 9th (2:07.699)

“It was great to get out and try the track on a MotoGP bike, as it’s really a first-class circuit and facility. This morning the biggest challenge was the lack of grip; on a new track with not much temperature, the tyres were simply too hard, though the conditions were better in the afternoon. We had a few problems with the rear, and when we made that better, that put too much load on the front. We knew it was going to be tough, since the other manufacturers tested here and have a lot of data. We’ve got some catching up to do, but I certainly hope to get closer tomorrow.”


Austin, 19 April: carrying on his form from testing at the Texan track in March, LCR racer Stefan Bradl posted the third fastest lap time (2’06.173) on the opening day of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas. The former Moto2 World Champion, on the LCR Honda RC213V, moved into the top three in this afternoon 45-minute session after a tough first outing in the morning due to the poor grip conditions.

Stefan: “Today has been a strange day for us. This morning the track conditions were pretty bad and the grip level was very poor so we could not use our advantage from the test. At the end of this morning first session, I was very disappointed but, in the afternoon, the grip was much better and the sun was shining so I could ride a lot faster keeping the top positions. We could use the data and the references obtained in the test but we still have to adjust the race set-up especially when we are on used tyres”.


Alvaro Bautista's first day at the stunning new MotoGP circuit in Austin, Texas, went better than expected, the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini learning the track quickly and reducing the gap to the riders who came and tested here last month. There is still a long way to go and improvements to be made but the signs are positive after just two sessions on track. Bryan Staring faced the double challenge of learning the circuit layout whilst still adapting to the rigours of MotoGP, the Australian rookie responding well as always to the team's input.

Alvaro Bautista (8th 2’ 07” 256 ) “We spent today almost entirely on learning the track. There wasn't much grip and it was so difficult to keep the bike upright it was like riding in the wet.In the afternoon the conditions improved and the lap times dropped notably. The track is special, technical with blind corners and a lot of direction changes that make it difficult because if you get one corner wrong it is very hard to recover. I still need to find some references and we need to work on the setting because this track is quite different to the others. Obviously the riders who have been here to Austin before are in a better position than us but we're not far off them. We have improved our pace from the morning to the afternoon and that gives me optimism for tomorrow.”

Bryan Staring (22nd 2’ 12” 462) “Once again everything is new to me and this track in particular is making life even harder for us. It is a difficult track to learn and this morning we had some major grip issues that prevented me from getting comfortable. I had a long chat with the team after the session which has been really helpful and I am convinced we can make big progress tomorrow. ”

Fausto Gresini “I am happy with that for a first day and the gap to the guys at the top, other than Marquez and Pedrosa, is not that big. The top five have been here in Austin before so this is a positive result. Alvaro's pace is good so I am sure we can do a good job. Everything is new for Bryan and he struggled today. He needs time but it will come. We have taken big steps with our CRT package and as soon as Bryan gets to grips with the pace in MotoGP he will move up the timesheets. ”


The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider, who was 11th overall and the fastest CRT, enjoyed the characteristics of the American track, whilst his teammate Randy De Puniet was also pleasantly surprised by the circuit and escaped unharmed from a crash

The lucky few had been here already during a MotoGP private test in the winter, but finally on Friday the rest of the premier class riders got to try out the new COTA track for the first time on the first day of action at the Grand Prix of the Americas. It was no surprise that the riders who had come for that winter test were the ones setting the pace and Marquez came out on top in free practice putting his prior knowledge of the track to good use. The Catalan was the top man but Bradl also topped the timesheets for a while as the last two Moto2 champions showed their strengths in Austin. The incredibly long 1200m straight saw some amazing top speeds with Pedrosa in particular going well over 340 km/h. So on this first day of MotoGP action at COTA three Hondas led the way, followed by three Yamahas, but the weekend is only just getting started.

It was strange not to see the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar immediately setting the CRT pace in the first practice session, with both riders using the run to get acquainted with the new track. In the second session the pair really got to work and the results son came their way. Aleix was the fastest CRT man in 11th, ahead of two riders on the main prototype machinery. Randy De Puniet, was on target to register a similar time, given his progress over the session but a late crash saw him conclude the outing early after he lost control at turn 18. He escaped unhurt and will be fine to ride on Saturday, having finished 14th on Friday.

11th Aleix Espargaró 2.08.299 (25 laps): "The first impression of the new track was a bit weird to be honest and it felt like the bike was unstable on the corners, but as the day went on more rubber was laid down and the temperature increased, giving us more grip for the second session. I think we did a good job overall on setting up the bike today. Even though we had a problem with our first bike in the second session it's been a good day's work. The second bike rode well. This is an incredibly long track and one of the most technical on the calendar. There are some tight linking corners where you lose a lot of time if you lose you line. I think the circuit is great though and I really enjoyed it so I think we can do well this weekend. We were the fastest CRT team today and I hope we can stay on top tomorrow."

14th Randy De Puniet 2.09.739 (31 laps): "There was no grip this morning and we shredded the tyres in a few laps. We took some time to find our way around this superb track which is technically very challenging. With the corners flowing into each other if you come out wrong you screw up the next turn and you lose time. In the afternoon we made some good setting changes and I felt really smooth so we used the same tyre most of the time. On the 18th corner, which you usually slide on, right at the end of the session, I lost the rear end and then it regained grip and the bike threw me off. It was a shame as I missed out on the chance to improve my time at the end."

Edwards and Corti take it one step at a time at COTA

NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team riders Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti get to ride for the first time at COTA with their FTR-Kawasaki bike.

The low track temperature caused the riders to lack grip during the morning practice and made the team reconsider the setting that they used during the Qatar race two weeks ago. The temperature increase for the second session made the morning work irrelevant but allowed both the Texan and Italian rider to get more laps in at COTA.

The electronics fine-tuning and the data from this first day of practice will be key in order to make the necessary adjustments for tomorrow’s third practice and qualifying sessions.

Colin Edwards – (2´12.50)

“Its obviously new track. The first session was a little sketchy; I think we had 20 degree centigrade on the ground. This morning just getting along the track we got some ideas and in the second practice, instead of holding station with the setting we knew kind of works we decided to soften the rear, make some changes for the problems we were having with cold temperature while obviously it was 40 when we went back out there for the second session. We just started off wrong and tried to use the rest of the session to go back to where we were. The good news is we got more laps in and got to know the track a better. We need to go over the data and make it better for tomorrow.”

Claudio Corti - (2´10.72)

“This first day when ok, we have improved a lot during the second practice session but we still have to keep working on the electronics, specially in terms of the acceleration. All an all, we are working really well, would still like to be a bit faster but I took some time during the session because we needed to test the front tires and ended up not being the right choice. We need to work on keeping a good pace and make the bike a little easier to ride but for being on a new track for first time I think we are doing good so far.”

Sergio Verbena – MotoGP Technical Director

“Today was the first day on this new track and we didn’t have any references for this circuit so we started the first session with the Qatar setting. This morning the track temperature was very cold so we didn’t have much grip, we struggled to find the grip to manage the situation. This afternoon the situation was completely opposite, the temperature rose from 20 degrees to 40 degrees Celsius so the grip was good and the job we did during the morning was lost. Claudio had a good session, had good lap times and showed consistency. Colin struggled with the setting of the bike so we need to work to make him more comfortable to be faster tomorrow, we know he can be faster. We will look over the data and see what needs to be improved for tomorrow.”

Bittersweet day for Pramac Racing Team

The Circuit of the Americas—the first of three American tracks on the 2013 MotoGP calendar—today added its first page to the championship’s history book.

Like most of the riders, the Pramac Racing Team racers approached this challenging day, which featured the traditional first two free-practice sessions, by endeavoring to learn the correct lines and to get up to pace on the unfamiliar circuit.

The windy conditions and the slippery asphalt made the task more difficult, but the team was prepared.

Unfortunately, Andrea Iannone suffered significantly from the lack of grip, which prevented him from confidently riding this new circuit and made it more difficult for him to learn the proper lines. Tomorrow will be an important opportunity to accumulate as much data as possible in order to be as prepared as possible for the race on Sunday.

Andrea Iannone – Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team

“Today was quite difficult. I had trouble finding the right feeling with the bike, and I don’t have the confidence to push hard. I feel the bike sliding, and I feel hesitant. Anyway, I’m optimistic for tomorrow, which will be very important for us. Despite everything, I like the entire track and I hope to get closer to the other Ducati riders, as I’ve always managed to do before.”

Bittersweet day for Pramac Racing Team

The Circuit of the Americas—the first of three American tracks on the 2013 MotoGP calendar—today added its first page to the championship’s history book.

Like most of the riders, the Pramac Racing Team racers approached this challenging day, which featured the traditional first two free-practice sessions, by endeavoring to learn the correct lines and to get up to pace on the unfamiliar circuit.

The windy conditions and the slippery asphalt made the task more difficult, but the team was prepared.

Some positive changes were made to the bike of the Ignite Pramac Racing Team rider Ben Spies, and although the Texan’s shoulder still isn’t completely fit, he managed to set a time of 2:12.813 at the end of the first session, and to improve that by over six seconds at the end of FP2. The laps he did at the circuit last month, though not aboard a MotoGP bike, proved helpful.

Ben Spies – Ignite Pramac Racing Team

“It was a good day. We changed the bike quite a bit in the second session, and I got the feel of it and closed the gap to the factory Ducatis. I got some laps in, and now we’ve got some good data to look at. We’ll try to take another couple of steps for tomorrow if the track gets better, and just keep closing the gap to the front guys.”




The American adventure for the Came Iodaracing Team in Texas has begun. The first day of practice for the riders involved in the premier class with the c Came colors, has been dedicated to the discovery of the Circuit of the Americas. Earlier today, in fact, Danilo Petrucci and Lukas Pesek, had never had a ride on the brand new Texan track. Opened less than a year ago, in fact, the "COTA", has seen among its asphalt only a Formula One race in November last year, while only 5 riders in the MotoGP, Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Stefan Bradl, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, had the opportunity to perform test days in mid-March before the last pre-season testing in Jerez. Despite the track conditions were not ideal, the two Came Iodaracing Team riders have significantly improved their references in the two free practice sessions played. Danilo Petrucci, who finished the day with the 19th fastest time in 2.11.614, lowered his lap time of about 5 seconds compared to the first practice session, while Lukas Pesek (21 ° 2.12.230) has filed as many as 6 seconds. The best time of day is gone anyway to Marc Marquez (Honda) to 2.05.031, than Dani Pedrosa (Honda) was second, and Stefan Bradl (Honda) was third.

Danilo Petrucci - MOTOGP RIDER - 19 ° FP2 TIME - 2.11.614 "This morning there were not enough safety conditions to ride, and this afternoon the situation has definitely changed and I could improve my lap times. Despite this, however, I know that we must still a lot of work especially on chassis and electronics that is not yet at his best. Tomorrow we will try to do better but my bike is still a bit too "grumpy" in the hairpins and here there are seven of them. "

LUKAS PESEK - MOTOGP RIDER - 21 ° FP2 TIME - 2.12.230 "In the first round I really struggled. We were not competitive at all, but in the afternoon we worked on the chassis and suspension, and in the end I managed to drop my lap times by more than six seconds, incredible! We still need to do to improve experience and tomorrow's sessions will help us. "

In Moto2, excellent performance figures with the Came Iodaracing Team rider Johann Zarco. The Frenchman has studied the new track, during the first free practice session, then he put to use as better he can what was collected in the second session of the afternoon getting an excellent best third time in 2.12.906. For the French rider, it is a confirmation of the talent expressed since now. Zarco finished the first day of practice for the Grand Prix of The Americas with satisfaction, but tomorrow will be the decisive one for the composition of the starting grid for the second race of the season.

JOHANN ZARCO - Moto2 rider - 3rd TIME - 2.12.906 "I'm happy even if I was not in the first session at all. I stopped because I had the rear tire that was not right for me, even in that situation I was able to ride fast , so there were various problems and certainly I had to learn the track. Then in the afternoon after all the other categories have managed to improve their times for the better grip that had been created, so I well used my new rubber and now I found my pace to stay ahead and this was very important to me even though I still have to get used to the track. Tomorrow drop even the times, so I have to stay focused to avoid mistakes. "

Marquez tops Friday practice in Texas

Round 2: Americas MotoGP™ - Free Practice One & Two

Circuit of the Americas, Friday 19 April 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)

Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 13-14°C; Track 18-20°C (Bridgestone measurement)

FP2 - Dry. Ambient 20-20°C; Track 39-40°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez took his pre-season testing form at Circuit of the Americas to top both Friday practice sessions and end the day quickest ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa.

In track conditions which proved to be a real challenge for the twenty-six riders competing this weekend, Marquez set a time of 2’05.031 to finish ahead of Pedrosa by 0.554 seconds, while LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was a further six-tenths behind and third overall to ensure a Honda 1-2-3 at the top of the timesheets. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT rider in today’s free practice sessions, his time of 2'08.299 slotting him in at P11.

Low track temperatures caused by cool winds and recent heavy rain combined to cause very low grip levels in the morning’s FP1 session, though for the afternoon FP2 session conditions were improved. Track temperatures in the around 40° C greeted riders for FP2 and so all riders were able to improve their lap times. The softer rear slick options were favoured by most riders, although Stefan Bradl set his best time of the day on the harder rear slick right at the end of FP2. Some riders also assessed the harder front slick option as this option provides greater cornering and braking stability, though at a slight expense to overall grip.

There will be one more ranked practice session, FP3 at 0955 local time tomorrow (GMT -6) that will determine which riders will take part in Qualifying Practice 1 or Qualifying Practice 2. The top two riders at the end of Qualifying Practice 1 will also get to participate in Qualifying Practice 2 which will decide the first four rows of the starting grid.

Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“The conditions for this morning were very challenging due to the heavy rain we experienced and strong winds that kept track temperatures very low. The afternoon’s warmer temperatures helped improve the condition of the track so that all the riders were able to improve their lap times. Riders predominantly used the softer option slicks to deal with the low grip level of the circuit, though some riders did assess the harder front and rear options late in the FP2 session. I’m pleased with how our tyres performed today in what were harsh conditions and look forward to an exciting day tomorrow for qualifying.”



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