Press release previews from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin:
Ducati Team goes Texas-bound at the Circuit of The Americas
Following the opening round of the season in the Qatar desert, the Ducati Team is set to arrive in the United States for the first of two rounds this year on US soil. The second event in the 2014 MotoGP championship season will be taking place this weekend at the ultra-modern Circuit of the Americas, the Austin (Texas) track that joined the MotoGP calendar twelve months ago.
The two Ducati Team riders began the MotoGP season at Losail with a fifth and a sixth place. Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow then took part in a two-day test last week at Jerez and, in spite of the bad weather, they were able to verify that the ‘full-factory’ electronics fitted to their Desmosedici GP14 after the Qatar round were working correctly.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
“We have to be happy and positive about the fact that we reduced the gap to the leaders by half in Qatar and confirmed the improvements we made in the tests. We know we’ve still got a long way to go however to be competitive and I think that some of the next few tracks will be difficult for us this year, starting with Austin, but that track is so nice and I am really looking forward to racing there again this weekend.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35)
“We are looking forward to the race at Austin, because it was a track I did well at last year. I’d never even tested there and we finished strong with a fourth place, so I’m really looking forward to riding the GP14 on this track. The guys worked 100% in Qatar after my crashes, I gave them a little bit of work to do! It was a disappointing race because of the electronics problem that we had, but it was good that we finished the race in sixth.”
The Circuit of The Americas
The circuit, designed by the famous German architect Hermann Tilke, is one of the most modern race structures in the world, and is situated near the city of Austin, the capital of the State of Texas. The track measures 5.513 km and can contain up to 120,000 spectators. The circuit, built in 2012, hosted its first MotoGP race last year in April. It contains a total of 20 curves (9 right and 11 left), goes in an anti-clockwise direction and its key features are a steep uphill section at the end of the main straight, followed by a tight left-hander.
NICKY HAYDEN READY FOR FIRST OF TWO HOME RACES
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider looking forward to local support in Austin as Hiroshi Aoyama aims to build on progressive start to season at Losail
After kicking off at Losail (5.380km) the MotoGP World Championship continues this weekend at another circuit measuring over five kilometres as the Circuit of the Americas (5.513km) in Texas hosts the second round of the season. With the longest straight on the calendar (1.2km) and a technical combination of fast and slow corners, COTA represents another major challenge for the teams and riders, although nothing presents a sterner test at the moment than stopping Marc Márquez, not only the defending World Champion and new championship leader following his victory in Qatar but also the winner of the inaugural race here last season.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar Team made a solid start to the campaign with solid points finishes for both riders. Nicky Hayden took eighth place after constantly improving his pace all weekend and he is now looking forward to building on that progress in the first of two races on American soil, with this round to be followed by the Indianapolis GP later in the year. His team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama finished eleventh in Qatar after overcoming a series of technical setbacks during practice but he is confident his crew have found the right way forward at just the right time.
Nicky Hayden: “A home Grand Prix is always something very special and I really look forward to getting there, seeing all the fans that support me so much and getting back on track. Austin is really a great track, it is a very state of the art facility - safe, long, and wide but honestly last year there I didn't get on with it great and was never able to be fast, especially in the first half of the track. That's got to change this year and even though I know the acceleration off those slow corners won't be kind to us all the changes of direction should suit me and this bike well. So let's hope we can get a result to make the home crowd proud!”
Hiroshi Aoyama: “The result at the first race of the season was pretty positive. Even though we had a few problems with the bike at the start of the weekend we found the right way forward. This is only the second time any of us have been to COTA so that should level things out a little amongst the riders. I think the final part of the track, with its flowing corners, should suit our bike and the chassis should allow us to feel comfortable through the tight turns. Sunday night in Qatar was a boost for us and the objective is to keep this going and to continue improving the bike. I think we can take another step forward in Austin. It is a demanding circuit from a physical perspective so I put some extra training in last week and even had a medical so I definitely feel ready.”
BAUTISTA AND REDDING READY TO ROCK AT THE CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS
The 2014 MotoGP World Championship will resume action this weekend at the “Live Music Capital of the World”, Austin, for the second round of the season, the Grand Prix of the Americas at the fascinating track situated on the outskirts of the Texas State Capital. The futuristic Circuit of the Americas, designed by renowned architect Hermann Tilke, made its debut on the MotoGP calendar last year, positively affecting the majority of riders for its ups and downs and the particular mix of fast, sweeping chicanes and slower parts.
The Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini flies to the United States in a good frame of mind: despite the crash two laps from the end of the Grand Prix of Qatar, Alvaro Bautista is confident that he can replicate the podium potential he has showed during the opening round, while Scott Redding, who has resulted the best rookie at Losail thanks to an excellent seventh place finish, will try to confirm himself as the fastest rider aboard the Open Class Honda RCV1000R.
ALVARO BAUTISTA “Despite suffering a fall, the entire race weekend in Qatar has been very positive, so we head to Texas with a great optimism. Unlike last year, when we have raced here for the first time, this year we already have some data from 2013, although Austin still remains a complicated track in terms of finding a good set-up. We will have to work well if we want to find a good compromise between the first part, characterized by many quick changes of direction, and the slower part, where there are three or four very tight corners. Last season we have struggled a lot, not being able to find a good compromise, but this year we can count on a very good package, so we are confident. The goal is to try to stay with the fastest since the first practice session, like we did at Losail, then we will give our best, as always, hoping for better fortune this time”.
SCOTT REDDING “Riding a MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas will be very interesting. I feel very comfortable on this track, in fact last year in Moto2 I was really fast, setting the pole position with a 0.6s gap on anyone else. I also think that the track could suit well to our bike’s characteristics, both in terms of handling and in terms of stability under braking. We will also focus our work on the tyres, because this track is quite demanding from this point of view, so probably we will need to start to work more on the hard tyre for this race, rather than the softer option, which we used in Qatar”.
FAUSTO GRESINI “Alvaro and all the team head to Texas with a great motivation: the Austin circuit turned out to be tricky when we visited it for the first time in 2013, but now we are aware that our potential is increased a lot compared to last year. The bike has made great progress, especially on the suspension, so we believe that this time we have a chance for a good result. Moreover in Losail, another traditionally difficult track, we have been actually very competitive. We hope to carry that momentum into this second round, trying to achieve a good result as a reward for the excellent work done so far by all. Redding showed some serious speed on this track last year in Moto2: this means that he likes a lot the circuit and perhaps his adaptation with the MotoGP will be quick here. After the great debut in Qatar, we want to contiue to stay at the top among the riders aboard the Production Racer Honda”.
FACTS AND FIGURES
4 - The Circuit of the Americas is the fourth circuit in the USA to have hosted a Grand Prix; the others are Daytona, Laguna Seca and Indianapolis.
34 - Starting from this year, former 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz is the Circuit of the Americas official ambassador.
40 - The dramatic elevation change, in meters, up to the iconic Turn 1.
1,200 meters – The straight between Turn 11 and 12 is the longest of all the season.
Repsol Honda Team head to Austin for the Red Bull GP of The Americas
After a fantastic battle in Qatar, the Repsol Honda Team head to Texas leading the World Championship.
This is just the second time the MotoGP paddock will visit the 5.513km Texas circuit, designed by well-known German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke and completed in 2012. The driving direction is counter clockwise and has a total of 20 corners with 9 right turns and 11 left turns.
Reigning World Champion and Qatar winner, Marc Marquez, has been focusing on the rehabilitation of his injured right leg – from a pre-season injury – and will hope to be closer to 100% for this weekend’s race. Even though it didn’t seem to impede him too much in Qatar, Marc commented that with so many right hand turns at the Losail track, he was having to compensate for his weaker leg with his right arm, so this two and a half week break has been vital for the young Spaniard.
Teammate Dani Pedrosa, who took 3rd place in Qatar, will also be looking to take a step up and challenge for the win in Austin, a race in which he led the first twelve laps of last year, before being passed by Marc who went on to win, marking the first 1-2 finish for the Spanish Repsol Honda duo in 2013.
The normal weekend schedule returns in Austin with first practice on Friday and the race on Sunday at 14h00 local time.
Championship Standing: 1st - 25 points
“Since Qatar I’ve been focusing on getting my leg stronger and my body fitter in preparation for the Austin race this weekend. This track is one of my favourite tracks, I had a good race here last year where I have good memories of taking my first win in the MotoGP class. We’ll have to wait and see the situation with the new rules for this year, but anyway we will be focused on our work. Thankfully the majority of hard turns are left handers at this track which is easier on my leg as I’m still not 100% fit”
Championship Standing: 3rd - 16 points
“I've had a good training week at home and now I'm looking forward to get to Austin, to see the team and ride at a track I like. We had a good race there last year and we’ll have to see how the bike works there this year. I hope to ride well and that we are greeted by the usual good atmosphere in America at this second visit to Austin for the RedBull GP!”
Yamaha heads to the USA for the GP of the Americas
After a two-week break, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is on its way for the second round of the season: the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on the 13th of April.
The 2014 season may have only just started, but the GP riders have already displayed some intense racing at the Losail circuit in Qatar. The first race of the season was full of action and drama, a preview of what is to come at Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
The first Grand Prix of the year was an event of mixed emotions for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP. Valentino Rossi had a brilliant start to the season, starting from tenth on the grid, the Italian battled through the field to fight Marc Marquez for victory. In the end the Doctor settled for second, with only 0.259 seconds between them. Rossi aims to continue his form at COTA and improve on last year’s sixth place.
Jorge Lorenzo had a challenging start to his 2014 campaign. The Spaniard led the pack at Qatar after one of his iconic fast starts, but unfortunately crashed out of the race on the first lap. This weekend he sets out to put his name on the score board at the Texas Grand Prix, where he took third position last year.
The Circuit of the Americas was constructed in 2012. The 5,513m long track is run counter-clockwise and has a mixture of fast straights and tight hairpins. There are 20 corners in total, 11 left turns and 9 right turns, and the longest straight is 1,200m. COTA is not typically described as a ‘Yamaha-circuit’, but with the use of last year’s data to make amendments, the YZR-M1 should be competitive nonetheless.
"I really want to go to Austin, especially after the first race in Qatar. The season started well but now we need confirmation. Last year I made one of the worst races of the season in Texas, and this year I want to see if we can be competitive everywhere. Getting a good result in Austin would mean a lot for me and for Yamaha. It would mean that the direction taken is the right one. We will try to do our best to be competitive also on the Austin circuit. I'd like to have fun like I did in Qatar."
“After a very disappointing race result in Qatar I look forward to racing at Austin to try to get a good result and forget as soon as possible all the things that happened in Losail. COTA track was not one of the best tracks for us last year. We had some difficulties to adapt our bike to the layout and lack of grip but finally we found out how to manage for the race. In the end we got a good result and we finished only three seconds behind the winner. I guess this year the pace could be even better because our bike has made one step ahead with the new seamless and the chassis is pretty good. Also, I feel almost perfect, physically at one hundred per cent and that is so important to try to fight for the victory elsewhere.”
“For sure we are all very eager to get to Austin and begin practice on Friday. Last year it was one of the most challenging races for us because although we had tested there we had no previous race data to work with. We have made significant improvements with the M1 since then, especially in the area where we were suffering at the first Austin race with acceleration and braking. In the middle of the season we introduced the seamless gearbox that has helped us to improve the acceleration of the bike and in the winter we made improvements to braking, especially with Valentino, using electronics and set up. As with last year we expect there to be a real lack of grip on the first day but we will improve every session as the grip level increases. We are confident that Vale will continue his momentum after an excellent start to the year and, after a less than ideal beginning in Qatar, we know that Jorge will be a key protagonist, treating this weekend as his first race of the 2014 season!”
Tech3s Smith and Espargaro head west to Texas showdown
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will once again commence battle at the Circuit of the Americas, this weekend for round two of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
The recently constructed Texan circuit is an impressive race track located near the state capital, Austin, which hosted its first MotoGP race last year in what was a fantastic spectacle in front of thousands of delighted fans. This weekend will see the young line up of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team assault the 5.513 kilometre circuit, which features fast sweeping curves and a huge elevation change of 41 metres, as the riders once again pursue closing the gap to the leading MotoGP bikes.
Britain’s Bradley Smith will aim to be the leading satellite bike with his excellent qualifying and start, at the opening round highlighting his potential for the season. Whilst, rookie Pol Espargaro, who has strongly adapted to his new Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike, will aim to continue to gain experience and grow in confidence at his second, premier class race with the Spanish rider now being again close to full fitness.
“I am really looking forward to the Grand Prix of the Americas this weekend in Texas. After a couple of weeks off since Qatar, I have refocused and am determined to carry on trying to challenge the front runners. The Yamaha feels really good this year and I am full of confidence, thanks to my team and a very strong pre-season. It was an unfortunate end to the first race, but there are many positives to be taken from the experience, and I am looking forward to giving it my all at the Austin track where I scored my first championship points last year”.
“I can’t wait to ride the Yamaha YZR-M1 around the Circuit of the Americas this week, as I think the fast corners will suit the style of the Yamaha, and I am eager to experience the bike on such a spectacular race track. I feel my shoulder is much better now and I am getting more used to the demands of a MotoGP bike after having adapted my riding style. The team have also been very good in working with me and I learnt a lot at Qatar. Of course I was disappointed that I didn’t score any points, even though my retirement was really unfortunate, but I feel confident of a good result here at the second MotoGP race“.
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
“It goes without saying that Qatar was not ideal for us, and unfortunately luck wasn’t on our side. But even if the results were not what we have expected the performances of both of our riders were promising. Texas this week is a new challenge and we are definitely prepared and eager to get the action on track going. The circuit and its facilities are excellent and judging from last year, the race will be superb for the fans to watch. For Bradley, we are confident that he is able to push towards the front and battle for the leading satellite rider position. As for Pol, we hope for him to continue his learning progress which might see him fighting with the other satellite bikes. Both riders are doing well, and we are all sure that this weekend will be a memorable one, at such a great circuit”.
Texas welcomes the MotoGP circus
The NGM Forward Racing team heads to Texas for round two of the 2014 MotoGP Championship. Designed by the German architect Hermann Tilke, it’s the second time that the fabulous Circuit of the Americas (COTA) hosts the MotoGP circus.
Riders Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards aim for strong performance in Austin. After a stunning 4th place in the opening race in Qatar, where Aleix repaid the pre-season expectations, recording the fastest time in the first three practices sessions and recovering on Sunday from ninth on the grid to fourth after two crashes in qualifying, the Spaniard looks forward to confirm his great debut on board of the Forward Yamaha.
The Texas GP will be a special one also for team-mate Colin Edwards, known in the paddock also as Texas Tornado. The home GP will give an extra boost to Colin, who will be surrounded by family, friend and the big support of the American fans.
Simone Corsi and Mattia Pasini look forward to regain positions on the rivals in Texas after round one, that saw mixed fortunes for the Moto2 team, with Simone finishing 6th and Mattia 18th, due to some mistakes and a blistering issue at his rear tyre. Both riders will focus on finding the best set up on the demanding COTA track, in order to recover the gap from the front riders.
The first stop in the USA for the NGM Forward Racing Team is today at Colin Edwards’ Boot Camp in Montgomery, Texas. In occasion of the home GP, Colin opens the doors of his house and his famous center, where Colin, Aleix, Simone and Mattia are going to train with dirt bikes.
5 Colin Edwards
“I look forward to my home GP. Lots of friends and family are coming to see the race and it will be great to ride in front of the American fans. It won’t be an easy race as the track is very demanding. The circuit is one of the most varied and technical on the GP circuit, with a mix of fast straights and slow corners to do in first gear with tough braking.”
41 Aleix Espargaro
“I really look forward to the second round of the season. In Qatar we had the pace to fight for the podium, but I paid the price for the two mistakes on Saturday. So we will just have to try and go for it again in Austin. We know that the Texas GP will be a tough race for us as there is a very long back straight (1.2-kilometre) and we suffer in that area, but I’m confident that we can continue improving and get some good results.”
BRADL “TEACHER” AND “COWBOY” AHEAD THE AUSTIN GP
Austin, 10 April: this weekend the MotoGP contingent heads to the USA for the second round of the 2014 season at the spectacular Circuit of the Americas outside Austin in Texas. Before taking the track, LCR racer Stefan Bradl, alongside his Boss Lucio Cecchinello and Brian Harden (Data Recording Engineer) met a group of students at the University of Texas (one of the most renowned University in the States) taking part at an Engineering Lecture which deeply impressed the US students fascinated by the technical aspects of the MotoGP field.
Stefan: ”I am really looking forward to the Austin race weekend. It’s a fantastic racetrack and I like the atmosphere in the US. Last year it was a great weekend for me, finishing fifth, and after our short but impressive performance at Qatar, the expectations are high, and also the will to be up in the front pack again. Three weeks break was too much for me and when you lead a race for almost nine laps and you suddenly crash, you just want to be back racing as soon as possible. This year again we met the students at the University in Austin and it was a great experience because those young students were very interested in the MotoGP. And today I had fun challenging the US riders like Nicky and Colin in a special competition: cattle roping and horseshoes. Of course they were better trained but I won a trophy anyway”.
MotoGP in the U.S.
After a little more than two weeks, MotoGP is back on track, this time in the North American continent. Pramac Racing Team riders Andrea Iannone and Yonny Hernandez will tackle the second round of the World Championship in Austin, Texas, the second largest state in the USA.
After finishing the first race weekend in Qatar positively, both riders are now ready to get back on track.
Andrea Iannone - Pramac Racing - despite the tenth place, he wants to redeem the mistake he made during the first race and aim for a better position. During the two week break since the first race, Andrea has been training on a Supermotard bike to keep his concentration high, ready to face at his best the second race of the season .
Yonny Hernandez - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing - continues to aim at his goal and pass the checkered flag in the points. After the weekend of Qatar marked by two crashes, Yonny is determined to get back the feeling with his GP13 and take on with determination the weekend in Austin.
The track was designed by renowned German architect Hermann Tilke, and completed in 2012. The circuit is one of the most complete, it incorporates many features of other MotoGP circuits. The track length is 5513 m with eleven left turns and nine to the right for a total of 20. It’s one of the most modern circuits and can accommodate up to 120,000 spectators. This is not only the second race of the season but also the second time that the premier class goes to the track in Texas. As usual, American GPs are surrounded by many attractions other than the races, the ritual always includes the anthem of the United States before the race and the amazing acrobatics of the jets flying above the circuit.
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Preview - Round 2: Americas, Austin
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
After a successful debut event last year, MotoGP™ returns to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas with legions of American fans set to be thrilled after an intense season opener at Qatar.
The Circuit of the Americas packs every type of corner into its 5.515 kilometres making it one of the more technical venues on the calendar. Elevation changes, the longest straight in MotoGP™, and a combination of slow and fast corners makes the circuit a real challenge for the riders and tyres. The fast, sweeping corners require high levels of edge grip, while drive grip from the centre section of the tyre is also important as there are many hard acceleration zones at this track. The riders approach a top speed of almost 350 km/h down the 1200 metre-long back straight, so excellent front tyre stability is required for the hard braking zone into turn twelve.
Overall, the layout of the Circuit of The Americas places similar loads on both shoulders of the rear tyres, yet the presence of high speed right-hand corners at turns sixteen to eighteen and turn six, means the temperature of the right shoulder of the rear tyre reaches a higher level than the left side, even though there are more left-hand turns. Consequently, asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulders are offered for this circuit.
Open class and Ducati riders will be offered the soft and medium compound asymmetric rear slicks, while the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders can utilise the medium and hard compound rear. With front-end feel important through the faster sections of the track, the front slick options for this circuit – the soft and medium compounds – are selected for the best combination of grip and stability.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Last year’s inaugural MotoGP round at Circuit of The Americas was a resounding success, both on and off the track so I am very happy to be returning to Austin. North America is one of our most important markets so being able to support MotoGP as Official Tyre Supplier at such a fantastic venue is of great value to Bridgestone. The season opener at Qatar was incredibly close in terms of the competitiveness amongst the riders, and I hope that this weekend’s action proves to be just as thrilling for the fans. This circuit has a real mix of corners and presents some good overtaking opportunities and now that all the teams have last year’s data to build upon, I expect to see the riders pushing hard from the first practice session.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“This year will be our second visit to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas and the impressive layout of this track presents quite a challenge for tyre development. COTA is run in a counter-clockwise direction and the track is technical with a mix of tight, slower corners and faster, more open sections. These features combine to place a great importance on front-end feel, as maintaining good corner speed is important here. Therefore our front tyres need to provide good grip characteristics with plenty of stability. The rear tyres must also provide good drive out of the slower corners. The fast right-hand corners are quite severe on tyres, so at this circuit we provide asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulder.”