The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas is a difficult track to get right. The track features a mixture of both flowing and tricky sections, as well as fast straights with hard braking corners. To help give fans an insight into both setting up a bike for the track and the right approach to riding the circuit, the Marc VDS Racing team issued a press release in which Moto2 rider Mika Kallio explains his approach to the track. A fascinating look at this still relatively new circuit:
Mika Kallio: It’s all about compromise at the Circuit of Americas
Gosselies, Belgium – 5 April 2014: The Circuit of the Americas, situated on the outskirts of Austin in Texas, plays host to round two of the Moto2 World Championship next weekend.
The track, the first purpose built Grand Prix facility in the United States, runs in an anti-clockwise direction and features 11 left-hand and nine right-hand corners within its 3.4 mile or 5.5 kilometre length
The track made its debut on the Moto2 calendar in 2013 and Mika Kallio finished the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas on the podium in third place, after a race long battle with Dominique Aegerter and Tito Rabat, who joins him this season in the Marc VDS team.
“The Circuit of the Americas is a little bit different to the majority of circuits at which we race and, initially, it was a real struggle to find a good set up on the bike,” explains Mika Kallio.
“On the one hand you need a stable bike under braking, because there are four or maybe five really hard braking points on the track. Yet, on the other hand, you need the bike to be agile and quick to change direction through the faster parts of the track.
“Unfortunately, you can’t have both, so the set-up is a compromise and what you gain in one area you can easily lose in the other.
“As a rider you need to think about where you can make the biggest difference and then focus on that area. Last year we focussed on braking stability and gave away some of our advantage through the faster turns, which ended up being the right decision.
“The problem is that this year we have to go through the same process again, because our set up changed over the course of the 2013 season and the settings we run now are very different to those we ran in Austin 12 months ago.
“The good thing is that we know we have a good base setting, one that we don’t have to make big changes to when we arrive at a track for the first time. This means we should be able to get the bike dialled in during free practice on Friday, rather than on Saturday night like last year.
“We also head to Austin knowing that, if all else fails, we can revert to the set up we ran in 2013 and the bike will work. That’s always good to have at the back of your mind when things don’t work out as expected, but it’s not really what we want to do.
“Ideally we want to start the first free practice session with the set up we have now and only have to make small changes to get it to work. You can’t afford to lose track time to set up issues in Moto2 because the competition is fierce and if you’re going to be competitive on Sunday, you really need to be on the pace from Friday onwards,” concluded the Finn.
The Grand Prix of the Americas gets underway with free practice for all three classes on Friday 11th April.