Press releases from the MotoGP teams after Sunday's race in Austin:
Marquez takes impressive win as Pedrosa crashes out battling for the podium
Marc Marquez today scored his fourth successive win from pole at Circuit of the Americas, making it his 10th victory in a row on American soil and extending his lead in the Championship standings by 21 points over Jorge Lorenzo. Marc led from the beginning of the Texas weekend, finishing first in every practice, earning pole position and finally leading the race from the start to the chequered flag, setting the fastest lap of the race at 2’04.682 on lap 11. With this success, Marquez overtakes Kevin Schwantz in number of victories in the premier class, with 26, while Honda now leads both the Constructor and Team standings.
It was a masterful victory, the result of his particularly good feeling with the track and the good teamwork performed in the garage. After today’s warm-up in fact, the Spaniard, together with his team and Michelin technician, chose to race with a medium rear/soft front tyre combination that proved to be successful.
Dani Pedrosa got a good start from the third row to slot into fifth place by the end of the first lap. He moved past Rossi on lap two before the Italian crashed out of the race, and passed Aleix Espargaro on the third lap. Dani was able to keep a very competitive pace and set the third fastest lap of the race at 2’04.950, and was closely chasing Dovizioso and Lorenzo, preparing to battle for second position, when he lost the front while braking into turn one on lap seven. He crashed, and in doing so, he unfortunately took out a blameless Andrea Dovizioso. After rushing to check that the Italian was unhurt, Dani remounted his bike and re-joined the race but was forced to retire on lap 11 due to damage to his bike.
With two demanding back-to-back flyaway races behind them, the MotoGP field will be back in action in less than two weeks’ time at the Jerez GP, the first race of 2016 on European soil.
“I’m very happy with how the whole weekend has gone. This is a circuit that I like, one of my favourite, but there were some unknowns here because just before the race we decided to run the soft front tyre. In the end the team advised me very well, because the change gave me the good feeling with the bike that I had partly lost in the warm-up. I have to thank them all, as well as the Michelin technician. When I asked, they told me that I would be okay for the first 12-15 laps, and then after that I would have to manage the situation more, which is exactly what happened. We’ve taken another victory here in Austin and are now on a run of four in a row, which is great. In addition, the joy of the team after we won illustrates everything we’re working on. In these first three races of the year, we’ve made good use of the situations that we’ve encountered.”
“It was a rather difficult weekend overall. The practice sessions didn’t go entirely well, but I approached the race with hope and I think we started quite well. I gained positions and was in a very good group, and I think we could have fought with Lorenzo for second place; the pace we had was much better than in practice. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake, losing the front end under braking when I was still turning into the corner. I lost control and tried to save the crash, but I ended up going down and taking Dovizioso with me. It’s a shame to have finished the race in that way, and I feel especially bad for Andrea and want to apologise to him. I’m glad he’s fine. The good news is that we took a big step forward from practice to the race. Now we must carefully look into the data we collected during the race and try to build on it for the Jerez GP in two weeks’ time.”
Superb Second For Lorenzo in Incident Packed Texas Grand Prix
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo delivered a brilliant ride today to stay ahead of the main pack and hold on to second place on the podium for the Grand Prix of the Americas. Teammate Valentino Rossi had a difficult start with a slipping clutch but recovered to chase the front pack until losing the front at turn two of lap three, ending his Texas adventure.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGPs Jorge Lorenzo delivered a superb performance to secure second on the podium in the Grand Prix of the Americas at the COTA circuit in Texas.
A typical start for the Spaniard saw him grab the holeshot from second on the grid and lead into the first corner. The high pace at the front left him running wide for a couple of corners as the race found a rhythm, dropping as low as fourth before quickly recovering to third to begin hunting Andrea Dovizioso in second place.
With 17 laps to go he was able to make his move up into second but was unable to match the race leaders speed. The seasoned GP rider then rode an intelligent race, carefully increasing the gap to third behind him to over 10 seconds at the line for 20 valuable championship points.
Valentino Rossi was disappointed to exit the Texas GP early after finding arguably his best for yet at COTA. A slipping clutch from the start grid complicated his progress for the first few laps, but the nine-time champion was coming back strongly on lap three and beginning to close the gap to those in front. Rossi was battling between fifth and sixth position when he lost the front on turn two with 19 laps to go, ending his Texas adventure.
The race results see Lorenzo move up from fourth into second place in the championship standings on 45 points, with teammate Rossi dropping one place to third and remaining on 33 points.
The MotoGP Championship now heads to Jerez in Spain for the first European Grand Prix of the year on 24th April.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"It was a good second place for Jorge, he rode a very intelligent race to secure the maximum points he knew he could achieve, 20 important points for the championship. Its an important result to take to Europe to a series of tracks he knows very well with a strong record of victories. Unfortunately for Valentino during the start he had to pull the clutch and from that moment it started spinning. As it was recovering he tried to close the gap to the front riders and he crashed. It's a great pity as he was feeling very comfortable on the bike and was potentially capable of his best ever finish in Texas. Despite this it has been a very promising weekend as we were able to make definitive improvements session by session at a track we were concerned about at the start. Its been a valuable experience that will help us for next time. Now we finally return to our first European race of the year to a track we know both our riders are capable of winning at, with a package we know is competitive."
"It was really important to finish the race and get 20 points after crashing at high speed in the morning, it was really difficult mentally to focus. I tried in warm up and through the few hours before the race to focus and convince myself for the race. It was a difficult beginning, the track was slippery and with the hard rear tyre and the full tank it was difficult to stop especially on braking. I made some mistakes I don't normally do in the first lap. I couldn't keep the pace of Marc, he was making the difference this weekend and in the race. I was fast enough to stay in second place and finish the race. You could see it was difficult to stay on the bike with a lot of crashes. Today the important thing was to finish and I did it."
"It's a shame because at the start unfortunately I burnt the clutch. I was third but the clutch slipped a lot, so I had to go slow to try and recover the clutch and I lost some positions. At the same time I was not so far, I felt good with the bike, we worked well during the weekend and I felt fast. I had the feeling the clutch was coming back already but I entered turn two, I didnt feel from the bike I was too fast but looking at the result maybe I was... It's a shame because we lost some points in the championship and also because we could make a good race. The positive side is that we are strong and very fast, so we will be ready for jerez."
Podium at Austin for Iannone, third in the GP of the Americas. Dovizioso retires after being hit by Pedrosa’s bike while fighting in the leading group
Andrea Iannone scored a podium at Austin thanks to a third place finish in the GP of the Americas, which was held this afternoon at the Texan circuit.
The Italian rider, who started from row 3, came across the line in seventh place at the end of the opening lap and then moved up through the field to third in the standings after Rossi, Dovizioso and Pedrosa all crashed out and thanks to a pass on Aleix Espargarò. Iannone held on to third place until the chequered flag, finishing the race behind Marquez and Lorenzo.
Andrea Dovizioso had yet another unfortunate race after starting from row 2. The Italian, after an excellent start, finished the opening lap in second place and maintained that position until lap 5 when he was passed by Lorenzo. Dovizioso remained right behind his Spanish rival and was defending the position from a fast-recovering Pedrosa, when the Honda man made a mistake under braking at the first corner, hitting the Desmosedici GP of the blameless Italian rider and putting an end to his great race.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 3rd
“It was really important for me to finish on the podium today, but more than anything else to finish this race with a good result. I was sorry I was demoted one row on the grid and in addition, at the start, I made contact with Dani and Aleix and lost a few places. In the race however I was very constant and always lapped with a good pace, very close to Jorge’s, and if I had started well, maybe I could even have fought it out for second place. In any case I am pleased with the way the GP went and I’d like to dedicate this podium to Ducati and to all the team because I made them suffer in the first two races and I hope that this result repays them for the commitment and the work that they are doing for me.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – DNF
“I am really very disappointed because once again today I was unable to finish my race following a mistake by another rider, and losing two possible podiums out of three is the hardest thing to accept in view of the championship. However I also want to look at the positive aspects: I didn’t hurt myself and given the way the incident happened it could have been a lot worse. In addition, in three different races, in very difficult situations to manage for the tyres, we have always been able to fight for the podium. Today we could have been second in the championship just a few points behind Marquez, so from this point of view I am very pleased with the work that we are doing. Even when we are not so fast in practice, in the race we always manage to be competitive: this is the way a factory rider has to race when he is thinking about the championship.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Today’s podium compensates, at least in part, for last Sunday’s disappointment in Argentina. Iannone ran an intelligent race, without making any mistakes, and he brought home a third place that was important for his morale, and that of the entire team. Dovizioso was really unlucky, because also on this occasion he was having a great race and was unfortunately involved in Pedrosa’s crash while in third place. Luckily Andrea did not suffer any major physical consequences and now, after getting over the understandable disappointment, we will get back to work with him to prepare for the Jerez GP in the best possible way. Again at Austin, the Desmosedici GP showed that it was competitive and so we will return to Europe with the knowledge that we have done a good job in this early part of the season.”
VIÑALES AND ESPARGARÓ SCORE BEST MotoGP™ TEAM RESULT
Team Suzuki Press Office – April 11.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró scored the best MotoGP™ results for the Team with fourth and fifth positions on the 2016 GSX-RR at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
Both riders have been within the leading group of riders during Free Practice, Qualifying and also Warm-Up, but in the race, they had two different progressions: Viñales had some trouble at the start and was 10th into the first corner, and had to recover many positions. From that point though, his progress was solid and consistent, with his lap-times dropping lap-after-lap, which allowed him to recover, but a drop in performance of his rear tyre prevented him to continue his progression and get closer to the top-three. However, his fourth position was a solid and impressive one.
It was a different race for Espargaró, who really put his mark on the race from early on, jumping from ninth on the grid to fourth position on the first lap and then keeping the pace close to the fastest riders. And when he got caught-up by Viñales, the two Spaniards fought together in an exciting Suzuki GSX-RR battle that saw him pull back ahead and moving into fourth at one stage.
Both riders and the Team will now stay in Austin for a day of private testing at the Circuit of The Americas, tomorrow. The main objective will be to work on the set-up to test some solutions that have been diagnosed to improve the traction.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Finally, we are happy with the result, but we are not completely satisfied with how the race went. Our pace throughout the weekend has been good, but finally we are still missing something to get the podium. In Argentina, Maverick could fight for the podium position before he crashed, which is a part of racing, but here, we weren’t at the same podium-pace and the final positions also came from some crashes, which happened ahead of us. Also, this is racing; some days you are lucky, others you are not, so we can be satisfied for the result, but we definitely need to improve to get back into the top-three fight, and the 20s-gap from the winner. We will have a day of private testing here in Austin tomorrow with a tight plan of solutions to try, together with the investigation into what we need to get the podium.”
“Unfortunately we had some troubles with the grip at the rear tyre, I felt confident until almost half of the race, already thinking to be able to recover on the third place, but then the performance dropped dramatically and made the recovery impossible. At the end I decided to take the fourth and get to the finish. The result is positive, being fourth is my best result since I’ve been in MotoGP™, but after the positive weekend it is a pity that we couldn’t finalise an even better result. We have a day here to test and find some more solutions for the future, especially with the rear grip.”
“Finally this has been a very positive race, a good recovery from the bad feeling we had in Qatar and Argentina. I managed to make a good start and to find a fast pace. I tried to keep it and the final result is good. For the whole weekend we worked hard to finalise the set-up with the softer tyre and I knew that my advantage would have been at the beginning of the race; and this is why I tried to start very fast and take as much advantage as I could in the early laps. Then the performance dropped, which was normal, and we finally managed to get a fifth place; which is a good result. Of course I would like to get even better, but we have made important steps forward and we still have the chance to improve. With Tom, my Crew Chief, we already have some ideas about the set-up to try to find a better traction, which at the moment is our biggest issue. Tomorrow, we will try to work on them.”
WITH BRADL'S TENTH PLACE AND BAUTISTA'S ELEVENTH, APRILIA CONTINUES TO COLLECT IMPORTANT POINTS AT AUSTIN
After the Aprilia RS-GP machines' positive performance in Argentina, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin also confirmed how the Italian project is growing. With Stefan Bradl's tenth place and Alvaro Bautista's eleventh in Texas, this makes five finishes in the points in the first 3 races of the season.
But the end result, also favoured by a few crashes, is not the only reason for the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini to be proud. A good start by Alvaro Bautista, skilfully moving up no less than five positions on the first corner, allowed the Spanish rider to move into fourteenth place with a good pace. However, as occurred in all of the races held so far, Alvaro was the innocent victim of contact with another rider that forced him to ride a comeback race from nineteenth place, something he did steadfastly until six laps from the end, when tyre wear began to take its toll.
Stefan Bradl built a solid race, capitalising well on the settings found during the practice sessions, as well as his particular familiarity with the American track. Especially in the middle portion of the race, the German rider demonstrated excellent speed, making up ground on his rivals. In the finale Stefan managed his advantage skilfully, avoiding any pointless risks and finishing (tenth) for the second time in a row in the top 10.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“In these first three races of the season with the new bike we have shown good performance, providing a glimpse of our great potential and already promising reliability. There are obviously areas where development is lacking. The test team will begin working with Mike di Meglio next week and I'm sure that this will streamline our schedule. I am confident because at the end of this race, both Stefan and Alvaro once again confirmed the RS-GP's good performance for me. We need to improve in terms of the engine and the electronics and we need to explore a lot of chassis solutions, but we are headed back to Europe with a good base”.
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
“I am truly satisfied with this result, well-deserved by all: Aprilia, the team and the riders. I'm sure I'll sound repetitive, but we must remember just how new this bike is, with great potential that we can explore only by putting in a lot of laps and gathering as much information as possible. The result of these last two rounds is decidedly positive”.
“A good race, but I cannot be 100% satisfied. I had a very good start, recovering several positions on the first turn and then contact with Baz dropped me back. When you have to come back from behind everything becomes more difficult. You have to physically force everything, deteriorating the tyre quickly and increasing the risk of making mistakes. It's a shame because in the race we showed that we can be consistent and competitive. If I had stayed up with the second group, I'm sure we could have made a play for a better position. In these first three races, I have unfortunately never been able to show my potential because of external factors, but the results that we were able to achieve anyway give me confidence”.
“A great result for us. I was quite competitive throughout the weekend. We made great progress, especially with the electronics. I am pleased because we continue to test and improve with every session. We are moving in the right direction. The team did a great job. Before the race I was very relaxed because I knew that I had a good pace. I lost a few positions at the start, just like in Argentina. I still don't have quite the right feeling releasing the clutch and, especially here with the first turn on an uphill, missing that initial launch becomes a problem. In the turns the RS-GP really performed well. We are still lacking something in terms of power, but I'm confident because the guys at Aprilia ensured me that important updates are on the way”.
Rabat gains experience and points in Texas tussle
Tito Rabat rode his Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda machine to another encouraging point scoring finish in a physically demanding Circuit of the Americas MotoGP race today.
Once into his consistent race rhythm, the Spaniard found himself locked in a close battle for 12th place with Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernandez in the latter stages of the 21-lap race at the 5.5km Austin track.
Rabat manoeuvred his way by Hernandez on lap 19 before he began to exert intense pressure on Laverty. The former Moto2 World Champion put in a spirited late attack to try and take a hard earned 12th spot, but just failed to make a pass stick on the final lap. Rabat’s effort was rewarded though with a third successive top 15 finish and more importantly he gained more crucial experience of his RC213V over a full race distance.
Rabat was the lone participant for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS this afternoon after Jack Miller withdrew yesterday. A right foot injury sustained in a nasty FP1 crash ruled the Australian out of action.
Rabat and Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS are now poised to begin the intensive European phase of the World Championship, starting with the eagerly anticipated Jerez round in Spain.
Tito Rabat 13th
“It was another difficult race but we are improving all of the time. In Qatar I was alone and last but in the last two races I’ve managed to battle with some much more experienced riders and that is a big positive. I find it difficult to overtake in the first laps because I have a lot of movement from the front and it is easy to make a mistake. I need to finish and learn and that’s what I did again, so I am happy with my own job and also the job of the team. I had a good battle with Laverty and picked up some tips where I can be stronger. I passed Yonny and almost passed Laverty on the last lap but just couldn’t quite find a way through. Now I am looking forward to returning to Europe and being fully prepared for Jerez, which is a race I am really looking forward to.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“After a difficult practice and qualifying it is satisfying to see Tito push hard to the chequered flag and pick up more valuable experience and points. He is still learning how to extract the best performance out of the Honda package and in the final laps it was pleasing to see his pace was around seventh place. These first races were always going to be tricky while he tried to build up confidence and experience, so to collect important points in Argentina and Austin shows we are moving in the right direction.”
Third top 10 of the year for Barbera after a hard race in Texas
Avintia Racing rider Hector Barbera finished ninth after a hard 21-lap-race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas today. He improved lap by lap from the 14th place of the grid to be fighting for the seventh position with Pol Espargaro and Michele Pirro. But he had some pain in his arms in the final laps that put him out of the battle, but this was still a positive result and the third top ten in succession for the Spanish rider.
Loris Baz had a great start from the third lane of the grid but he suddenly crashed out on the second lap after another rider touched him in the first turn. The French Avintia Racing rider went back on track with his bike damaged, but he managed to bring it home in 15th position and get his first point of the season after crashing in Qatar and retiring in Argentina.
Overall the start of the MotoGP World Championship has been positive for Avintia Racing, with Barbera always in the top ten and sixth in the standings before heading to Jerez for the Spanish Grand Prix in just two weeks time.
“This was a difficult weekend and every day was getting more complicated. Maybe I came here with high expectations after the fifth place in Argentina, and I think this was not good for us, because during the whole weekend I didn’t work as I had to. So we arrived at the race today eager to race, but maybe with some unfinished homework. This is a very physical circuit and I suffered with my forearm; after five laps I had a lot of pain. Finally I could make up the weekend with another top ten finish and, although this is not relevant, we are the first Ducati and sixth in the standings after three races.”
“I did a good start and I was in the right group, but on the second lap, when I was passing another rider, someone came from the inside and hit me. I tried to lift the bike, but I crashed. I don’t know who did it, but this is racing. It was difficult to finish the race without shifter, one centimetre footpeg, and damaged swingarm, but I did it for my team and my mechanics after such a good weekend. It was hard and I had some pain in my shoulder, but even though, my pace was not so bad.”
Fantastic double Top 10 finish for Octo Pramac Yakhnich at Austin: Scott 6th, Pirro 8th
Octo Pramac Yakhnich ends up the Grand Prix of the Americas with a stunning double Top 10 and now returns home with great confidence in sight of the European rounds.
At the end of an extraordinary race, Scott Redding won the sixth position, giving his team the satisfaction of celebrating in parc fermee as first Independent Team of the Grand Prix of the Americas. Although, for the British rider it was really a tough race. Scott started very fast and managed to pass on lap one both Crutchlow and Vinales, gaining 7th position after Valentino Rossi’s crash. After undergoing the return of Vinales and having reached the sixth position following the clash between Pedrosa and Dovizioso, Redding gave the impression of being able to catch the two Suzuki. Halfway through the race, however, problems with front tyre forced him to lower his pace race. Scott managed to keep focused despite the attack of Pol Espargaro who recovered almost three seconds in five laps. At the end, Octo Pramac Yakhnich #45 crossed the finish line smoothly to win his high-season result.
Michele Pirro's race has been constantly growing. The Fiamme Oro rider started in sixteenth position and was able to move up placing himself firmly in the Top 10. After passing Barbera on lap 15, he began to hunt for Pol Espargaro managing to get in the Spaniard’s slipstream (- 0.212) but he did not find that spark that would have given the seventh position. For Michele the great satisfaction of the eighth place completes Octo Pramac Yakhnich double Top 10.
Scott Redding wins 10 points and reaches 16 (12th place)
Michele Pirro rises to 12 points (16th place), with 8 taken in the USA.
With 18 points won at the Circuit of The Americas, Octo Pramac Yakhnich goes up to 28 points, in the seventh place of the team standings.
6th - Scott Redding
Top 6 is a great result but it would have been nice to get ninth since there have been three crashes in the group ahead. In the end, I had problems with the front tire and I could not lap strong. I started to lose a second every lap, and I had to change my riding style in order to finish the race defending my position.
I am happy because I started the race well and I lapped without making mistakes. It was a good race and I am very happy to have given joy to the team, who did a fantastic job today after the little problem we had in the warm-up and especially after the disappointment of Argentina.
8th - Michele Pirro
I am very happy and I must thank the team because after the difficulties of yesterday they made me feel at ease. I started behind, and I tried to advance without making mistakes. I am glad for that. Personal satisfactions? Yes, of course. It is not easy for me, I am always in hurry. I have to thank those who gave me this opportunity. I always try to do my best. Sometimes it goes well, others not. Now we go back to Europe, and I look forward to having another opportunity.
Espargaro moves to 4th in the championship after solid ride in Texas
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro delivered a resolute performance to finish the Grand Prix of The Americas in a well deserved 7th place in front of approximately 56,000 passionate fans. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion kicked off his battle from 13th on the grid and undertook a positive start before bringing himself right in the mix in the fight for the top independent rider. He continued his strong pace and by lap seven he had risen up to 10th. After moving ahead of the group, Espargaro dug deep and set a series of consistent lap times to gap the pursuing riders and with the 21-lap lasting competition drawing to a close, the Spaniard remained cool and eventually sped over the finish line in 7th. The result leaves him fourth in the 2016 World Championship standings and Monster Yamaha Tech3 third in the team standings, ahead of the MotoGP paddock returning to Europe.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Bradley Smith suffered bad luck in the round three battle despite producing a thorough effort in the race. The young Briton began the Grand Prix from the fourth row on the grid after a determined display in qualifying yesterday. When the lights flicked off, Smith bolted forwards and quickly set into his rapid rhythm as he looked to clinch a strong point scoring finish. By lap 8, he was up to 8th and had closed in on the three riders in front of him yet, his luck ran dry and he fell at the 11th turn. Nevertheless, the determined 25-year-old remounted and pushed all the way to the chequered flag, but eventually completed the race in 17th due to a damaged gear lever. The 2015 fastest satellite rider will now seek to bounce back strongly at the next GP at the Circuito de Jerez.
Position : 7th Championship : 4th Points : 28
"Today I certainly didn't feel very comfortable on the bike but having said that I did my very best in trying to keep it on two wheels. At the beginning of the race, we decided to use the softer front tyre and in all honesty, it was really tricky to follow the other riders on full fuel load. Yet, once the tank emptied a bit, I was able to start pushing and I began catching my teammate. Then suddenly, I saw some crashes in front and I even had a moment myself, so I decided to settle down as I wanted to finish the race and leave the US with some valuable points. In the end, this is what we achieved, so now I am 4th in the championship which is a nice gift for the boss, as it's his birthday today. The next GP will be back in Europe and on my home soil so I can't wait to go to Jerez, especially after the positive start to the season so far. Of course, we go there with the aim of improving our performance further, but I believe that this year more than ever, consistency is the key for a strong championship result.
Position : 17th Championship : 13th Points : 16
"Unfortunately, today’s result wasn’t the best and all of our hard work was lost because of something that was out of our control. I lost the front at turn 11 due to an oil spill or something on the racetrack. It was just a little bit off the racing line and when Cal went down it caught me by surprise, so I released the brake. I was slightly off line, just like he was and I fell at the exact same place. This was frustrating because it wasn’t a mistake of my own, but this is racing and these things happen. I couldn’t really do much once I got back on the bike because I had a damaged gear lever, which made it difficult to shift, plus I also lost the anti-wheelie so the final laps were tricky to say the least. However, I was determined to finish because we had worked hard all weekend and overall there are still many positives to consider as we were definitely stronger at the beginning of this Grand Prix than we have been in the first two. So to conclude, I am happy with the final performance at this event, but I am disappointed that something silly like this ruined our race. Now, we have a lot of work to do to catch up on points in the championship but once we go to Jerez we will be ready to push forward again.”
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
“What a weekend! The Circuit of The Americas is a really tough and difficult track plus the weather conditions weren’t easy, but in the end, I am very pleased with the outcome because it was a hard race. We gambled a bit with the rear tyre and decided to go with the soft compound option for both riders. Ultimately, I believe that it was that right choice as they were able to stay consistent until the final stages of the GP. The front locked a lot for Pol in the closing laps so it was tricky for him to keep a good rhythm, but I have to say thank you very much and congratulations to our Spanish rider for what he has done so far this season. Maybe the results haven’t been incredibly exciting, but at the end of the day, he is 4th in the championship. We knew that these first few rounds would be tricky with challenging circuits for us yet after all, it was always going to be very important to arrive in Jerez with a strong position in the standings. On the other side of the garage, it’s a big shame about what happened to Brad because I feel that we could have had another solid team result. For some reason, Bradley went a little bit wide on the part of the track where we saw all the crashes and then his race was ruined. Nevertheless, he was very brave and motivated in bringing the bike back home as well as finishing the Grand Prix. This is especially admirable because the gear lever was completely broken so we have no idea how he managed to change gears! However, it’s a big pity for him to not take any points, but we know that he’s fast and he did a lot of hard testing here so I think that we will be in a much better position in Jerez. Now, we go back to Europe for a good rest for the whole team, whom I must say thank you to for their hard work, and next time we will meet in beautiful Jerez.”
CRUTCHLOW BRAVELY REMOUNTS TOUGH RACE IN AUSTIN TO FINISH 16TH
The Grand Prix of the Americas ended in disappointment for the LCR Honda Team and their British rider Cal Crutchlow, as he slipped out of seventh place on the eighth lap of the race. The British rider bravely remounted his Rizoma branded machine, before bringing the bike home just outside of the points-scoring positions.
Crutchlow had a good start to the 21lap race, but was hung out to dry at turn one, which saw him drop several positions, before fighting back through the order until the 16th position. He and the LCR Honda Team will now head to Europe and the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, aiming to find some solutions to the problems which have dogged them so far this year.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – 16th
“I was pushing too hard in an area we shouldn’t be pushing in. Our bike’s got no real acceleration, and it means I have to try and make everything up on the brakes. The factory riders seem to have found something in that area this weekend, but whatever we’re doing at the moment is not working.”
“We’re fast enough, there’s no doubt about that, we’re definitely capable of the pace, we just don’t have the acceleration. Three fifth places would have put us third in the championship at the moment, and I feel that they were there for the taking, but I haven’t been able to convert and it’s completely my fault, there’s nobody else to blame. We do need to look at setting the bike up differently because we’ve followed a direction that hasn’t been working.”
“We work together as a team, we’re still confident, and although I’m angry, I look forward to getting it right in Jerez.”
Lucio Cecchinello – (LCR Honda Team Principal): “Of course it’s a really difficult moment for the LCR Honda Team and for Cal too, but I think first we need to understand why he is crashing. We need to check our bike set-up and try something new starting in Jerez, that is already our plan.”
“We are also discussing things with our tyre supplier Michelin, and they are aiming to try and improve the product for riders like Cal who use a lot of front brake to decelerate and load the front tyre and stress it.”
“We need to stay positive as a Team because we were fast in Qatar, and in Argentina after his crash. Even after his crash here, Cal was lapping fast, almost as much as Viñales who was fourth, so we are definitely fast. We just need to make some small changes to the bike set-up and a bit more luck.”
MARQUEZ DOMINENT ON NEW MICHELIN RUBBER AT COTA
Michelin’s MotoGP™ debut at the Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, America has been totally dominated by Marc Marquez on a Honda as he secured his fourth successive victory at the Texan track.
Michelin brought new rear tyres to the American circuit following a decision after last weekend’s race to begin production on a brand new version in readiness for today’s race. The tyres began their build process on Monday in Clermont Ferrand, France and were then shipped to Houston in Texas, before finally arriving in separate batches at the track on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. The new tyres had a stiffer construction with a softer compound, designed specifically for the Texan circuit, and built with a significant respect for safety to counter any incidents like the one encountered in Argentina last weekend, although the result of the analysis of Scott Redding’s tyre is not yet available.
Free Practice and qualifying went well with the new MICHELIN Power Slicks with all teams and riders adapting to the new rubber and dialling in the settings as practice continued, before Marquez secured his fourth pole position in-a-row at COTA on the Saturday afternoon. Today’s race was held in warm, but cloudy, conditions and as the lights changed to signal the start of the race in front of over 56,000 enthusiastic fans, Marquez led off the line, but was passed by reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The 2015 champion was unable to make the move permanent and his Yamaha was relegated to second as Marquez again took the lead – a position that he would not relinquish again as he stormed to back-to-back victories on Michelin tyres, the first rider to do so since Valentino Rossi in 2006.
Behind the dominant Marquez, Lorenzo rode a lonely race and was never really pressured as he took a comfortable second place, with Andrea Iannone in third on a Ducati to complete a podium of three different manufacturers. The variation in machines continued into fourth place after a race-long battle between Suzuki riders Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaro, saw the former just edge out his team-mate. Sixth position and the honour of First Independent Team Rider went to Ducati’s Scott Redding, While Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro finished in seventh. Eighth and ninth positions went to Ducati, one ridden by Michele Pirro and the other by Hector Barbera respectively, whilst a solid ride from Stefan Bradl secured tenth for Aprilia and the fifth different brand in the top-10. Marquez’s victory takes him to the top of the championship classification after three-rounds, in front of Lorenzo and Yamaha’s Rossi – who unfortunately crashed on lap-three due to a clutch issue he suffered at the start of the race.
Michelin and the whole MotoGP paddock now heads back across the Atlantic ocean on its way to Europe as it moves to Jerez in Spain for round-four of the championship, which will be held on Sunday 24th April in the heart of Andalucía.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda:
“During this weekend we have all done a really good job together. I want to say this victory is not only for me and my team, but for my Michelin Technician, because he convinced me that the soft front tyre option was good for me and it would be the right option for my riding style and that really convinced me. With this choice I was able to do a great race and I am very happy with the result. Now we go to Europe, these are tracks that are very different to where we have already been and also Michelin has more experience on them – because the tracks are older – so we will try to work hard again when we get there.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“What we really wanted to do here was to show that we could react in the correct way after the issue that Scott had in Argentina. We did exactly what we said we would do and brought some new tyres that were based on the extra tyre that we should have run in Argentina, but with compounds more suited to the track here. It was tight in the factory to get it done, but it worked and the tyres did a pretty good job, so we are pleased about that. Considering this is the first time that we have had these constructions on the race-track we are quite satisfied with the results.”
Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group:
“This has been quite a demanding week, because after Argentina we had to react quickly, so we had to build the tyre, ship it, get it through customs and then get it delivered to the track, so the logistics of that were not easy – but luckily everything went well. We got all the tyres in time so that the teams and the riders had time to test it properly and make the correct settings and then make the right tyre choice for the race. I really want to give a special mention to the Michelin Technicians and Fitters here at the track for their hard work this week, and especially the staff back in the factory who pushed so hard to make sure the tyres were made and sent here for us to use.”