Tag Archives: Circuit of the Americas

2019 Álex Rins Interview At Circuit Of The Americas

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Álex Rins is off to a strong start in 2019. He snagged a fourth-place finish in the season opener in Qatar and followed that up with a fifth-place result in Argentina. He’s the veteran on the team this year, his third in the premier class, as he’s joined by MotoGP rookie Joan Mir, so he’s got a lot on his shoulders in terms of moving the GSX-RR further in development. We caught up with Rins following the first day of free practice at Circuit of The Americas and asked about the areas that still need improvement.

“I think braking area, top speed area, those areas I would like to improve the bike,” Rins explained. “We improve rhythm last year and it’s nice because it’s difficult to improve these things. When you ask can I have more power on the straight, they bring more power on the straight by maybe opening the throttle. More areas of the bike. So we get three, four kilometers per hour on the straight, and on throttle the same. So this is good.

“We try a very fast engine on the straight this preseason in Jerez, but was more aggressive. So they bring a middle engine and was engine we are using now.”

When looking back at the progress over his three years with Suzuki, the bike has come a very long way. Even against the bike from last year, there are marked improvements.

“For example comparing last year, the bike doesn’t change like one second faster, just two- or three-tenths, and this is very important. Now in the race I am able to be three-tenths faster, but three-tenths faster in 20 laps is a lot of time.”

According to Rins, the standout positives of the GSX-RR as it is now are corner speed, drive, and traction. If Suzuki are able to get complement these with better braking and top speed, you can expect to see Rins battling much more frequently in the lead pack.

But advancements may progress slower than with other teams, particularly for the fact that Suzuki only has two bikes on the grid to work with and a new rider in the garage still coming up to speed in MotoGP. One positive, though, is the test rider Suzuki has in Sylvain Guintoli.

“He (Guintoli) is very fast. Our riding style is similar, so this is helping me to try things and all the things I try works good. With a satellite team, will be better for sure. But I am quite happy with Sylvain. Since last year that he start to work with us, the development of the bike changes a lot.”

Rins also offered some insight into the state of the track at COTA, which has become a notoriously bumpy, difficult place to ride. Unfortunately, things haven’t gotten much better.

“The track, it’s getting worse. The bumps are a big problem for us. Worse than last year. They did a very good job in T8 and T9 where they put new asphalt, but the rest of the place is disaster.”

That puts a big hit on confidence, particularly for the fact that on some laps the bike will remain stable in trouble areas, and on some laps it will not. Despite that, and the fact that Rins suffered a massive crash at the circuit previously, it’s still one of his favorite layouts.

One thing Rins doesn’t have to worry about is the atmosphere in the garage. He and Mir are off to a great start, and the atmosphere is positive and supportive.

“It’s perfect. On the team the atmosphere is very good. This is important because we have no fear in the team. It’s like a family, together. It’s nice.”

And when he’s not racing, Rins now calls Andorra home, where he recently moved to help improve his training.

“There in the mountains we have a good altitude. I’m living at 1,000 meters compared to Barcelona (where he was born) I was living at 0, sea level. So this for training is better. It’s like a natural doping.

“I do gym, mountain bike, cycling, road bike. On the winter season we did some ski. Swimming pool. A little bit of motorbike there because it’s a small country and you don’t have a lot of MX tracks for training. So a little bit of everything.”

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2019 Joan Mir Interview at Circuit of The Americas

Joan Mir is new to MotoGP and Team Suzuki Ecstar this year, and when we caught up with him at Circuit of The Americas he’d notched an eighth-place finish in Qatar and a DNF in Argentina. He’s a Moto3 world champion, with one season of Moto2 under his belt as well. Dawdling in the lower classes was never Mir’s plan as he has long had his sights on the premier class.

“When I won the championship in Moto3, that year (2017) I said to my people that I don’t want to be a Moto2 rider,” Mir said. “I want to be a MotoGP rider and I want to go there. In the first part of the season if I am competitive and a good contract comes with a good bike, I will go up to MotoGP. This happened. First race was really good. Everything, podiums, fighting for victories. Some contracts came at that time and I decided.”

It was a positive move, too, since the Moto2 bike felt to Mir like more of a streetbike than a racebike, even when compared to the Moto3 machines.

“Last year the Honda engine, it looked like a streetbike not a racing bike. The Moto3 is a racing bike. In the MotoGP again is a racing bike. It’s a lot better to my riding style and everything. I enjoy it. I enjoy a lot more riding the MotoGP to riding Moto2. A lot more. You can see data. When you enjoy, you go fast and everything is coming easy.”

A similar comparison can be made when you get down to finer details as well, such as the gearbox.

“It looks like an automatic bike. It’s really nice. I compared a lot with the Moto3 because it’s really similar. The Moto3 also was really smooth and everything. Then the Moto2 was a straight streetbike and again difficult, but this one is really good.

“I remember my first time that I rode the MotoGP. I tried without the anti-wheelie, and I don’t know what happened with the front wheel but I didn’t touch the ground in all the straights. It was a good memory. I will never forget the first time.”

Plus, Mir has the potential to really shine on the GSX-RR, or any top-tier racebike for that matter, because he’s completely comfortable pushing a bike to its limits.

“I like the movement. I like to rodeo on the bike. It’s my style. I like it. This is the more difficult part, that the team has to understand your riding style and what you need to go fast. This is the most difficult thing for a rookie and for a not experienced rider, that the team has to know your riding style, what you need. You need more electronics, less electronics, the power in that way, the first part of the power in that way. It’s really difficult. This is the most difficult thing.”

That also makes providing development input difficult, though there are some definite strengths to the GSX-RR in Mir’s estimation.

“The strongest point is the handling. The turning is the best point because at the end the Ducati and the Honda have a really good engine, and the engine we are a bit behind, but the chassis is quite good. We are working on it. The Suzuki is a really competitive bike. It’s nice to grow with them also because I’m also a rookie and I need to learn from the category and also improve one bike, so it’s really difficult.”

Even so, Mir knows his strengths and is diving in to help the engineers and team as best he can.

“Normally talking about the riding style and everything, I’m good on the brakes. The brakes I’m really good. I think that I give good information to the engineers. They may know the areas. This is important also. It accelerates a lot the learning process.”

He’s also working hard to bring his body up to shape to be as competitive as possible on the new machine, cross-training in other motorcycle disciplines and hitting the gym.

“Since I was a kid, I train in all the motorbikes because I like a lot the motocross. The deer track, the trials bike. Also I touch a little bit the trials bike. I’m thinking that everything gives you a little bit some skill to take to MotoGP.

“We work a lot of areas. Running and everything. Also with the MotoGP you work a little bit more in the gym than Moto3. This is something that you don’t get in one year or half a year. It’s impossible. Also I am growing. It’s difficult all this, but on the bike I’m strong.”

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Marquez scores pole for COTA ahead of Rossi & Crutchlow

MotoGP 2019 – Round Three
COTA Qualifying

Marc Marquez – P1

“I’m happy to be on pole position but for tomorrow nothing is certain yet. Today we were fastest and got pole, but no one knows about race pace or tyres yet as we lost FP3. We will have to work well in Warm Up to make up for the time we sadly lost to the weather. After Warm Up we will know more but there are many people who could be in the fight.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Qualifying Marquez
Marc Marquez

Valentino Rossi – P2

“It looks like, from the Argentina GP onwards, we’ve been going about it in the right way, and also this weekend we’ve been working well with the team. Today was a difficult day, because this morning we didn’t do the FP3 session. Still I feel comfortable with the bike, also in the half-and-half conditions of FP4, in which we usually tend to suffer. Today, the bike gave me better feedback, so I could push in a better way. In the qualifying I was strong. I’m very happy to start from the front row, because it’s very important for tomorrow. Now we wait to see what the conditions will be like for the race, and then we will try to make the right tyre choice.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Cal Crutchlow – P3

“Maybe it’s old age, with Valentino (Rossi) in second and me in third, maybe we’re coming back round again with age! I feel good, although I was not overly pleased with my lap, I lost the front three times in one lap. We changed the setting from yesterday, but because we didn’t have the morning session (FP3) we needed to use the qualifying as a little bit of a test and I lost the front in all the hairpin corners. I was angry with the lap because of myself as I pushed a lot in the braking zone. I’m happy enough though, nobody is anywhere near Marc (Marquez), you saw him in the damp session and he was two seconds clear. But we did a good job and the team is working very well. I’m happy with the team, happy with the bike, everything is going well and I look forward to tomorrow.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow

Jack Miller – P4

“The wind during the Q2 was really strong and it was very difficult to make the perfect lap. All things considered we did a very positive qualifying and that’s why I’m satisfied. Tomorrow it won’t be easy to choose the tyres because we had not the possibility to make enough laps today. We are starting from a good position and there is a lot of confidence”.

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Jack Miller
Jack Miller

Pol Espargaro – P5

“It was a complicated day. Tricky in the morning then there was a lot of wind. Thanks in the end to Maverick [Viñales] who pushing in front of me and we could do a good lap-time. Just amazing. To get the time you needed to push to the limit and I was over it sometimes! But it worked and a good lap appeared on my dashboard. We have to be realistic tomorrow and I will enjoy the start, take a good rhythm and a good spot in the race and my group.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Qualifying Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro

Maverick Vinales – P6

“It was really difficult today in qualifying. Honestly, I didn’t expect the wind would affect the bike’s behaviour so much, it was very difficult to turn in the corners and the bike was very aggressive, moving all the time. I couldn’t push, because I wasn’t feeling at my best. We hope to improve tomorrow and be better during the race. I had many scary moments during qualifying. We need to learn from today, so we won’t have the same problem on another windy day.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales

Alex Rins – P7

“I’m happy to start on the third row, and my race pace wasn’t bad. I think we’ve made a big improvement over the weekend and we’ll continue to push. Every time I go on track I give 100%, and that can bring varying results depending on the situation, but I’ll try to enjoy tomorrow and bring a lot of points home.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Rins
Alex Rins

Danilo Petrucci – P8

“It’s been a rather unusual day. After missing FP3 and encountering tricky conditions in FP4, we were only able to ride on a dry track for qualifying,and we had to go ‘all in’ in Q1. I’m happy to have made it through, even though I’m sorry Andrea was left out. In Q2, I could have done a slightly faster lap, but we still have work to do to improve first and foremost in terms of pace. All in all, third row doesn’t compromise our chances to do well in the race and take home important points, so I’m confident ahead of tomorrow.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci

Fabio Quartararo – P9

“It was a day of very complicated weather conditions. We went out for FP4 with wet tyres, but the track was partially dry in places, so it was difficult to understand the best way to ride. We started off with a full tank and were not very confident. Going into Q2 without 100% confidence is not ideal, but finishing ninth is a good result: It’s a spot on the third row, so I’m very happy with the work that we’ve done at this difficult circuit. I know that it is a very demanding track over 20 laps, but we have a good pace – not like the front-runners have, but we are well placed to fight for the Top 10 and to be the top rookie. The main thing is to enjoy the race.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

Franco Morbidelli – P10

“We could say that the cancellation of FP3 completely altered our plan for today. We tried something different with our setup in terms of weight distribution, but really I was only able to test it out in Q2 as that was the only fully dry session; the mixed conditions in FP4 didn’t allow us to draw any conclusions. It was good for us, but not for the feeling of the bike, because we couldn’t push it to the limit and it wasn’t a true demonstration of our potential. Unfortunately, I had to discover that it didn’t work as we expected in Q2. We finished tenth, which isn’t bad. The warmup will be very important for getting our feeling back and improving a little more. In the race, we will have to get a good start. Tomorrow it will be important to have the feeling I had yesterday -or better.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli

Jorge Lorenzo – P11

“A challenging day today with the weather where we unfortunately lost some time. I was feeling strong in Q1 and pushed hard to get through then we had an issue in Q2 which upset our plan. The other bike had a different setting as we are trying a lot of different things so we couldn’t unlock our full potential. Tomorrow will be a physical race, it always is here.“

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

Pecco Bagnaia – P12

“I honestly can’t explain the two crashes. All I know is that they were identical and that is why we need to see the data to understand what happened. The feeling was not the same as on Friday. I am still confident because this problem only occurs in two corners and in the rest of the circuit I feel very fast. I just hope that tomorrow there will be no strong wind”.

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Bagnaia
Pecco Bagnaia

Andrea Dovizioso – P13

“Today’s qualifying was quite tricky. Track conditions were very precarious, and we also struggled more than we expected in the faster corners due to the strong winds. It’s a shame we couldn’t get into Q2, because I’m sure we could have recovered some more positions on the grid, but we need to look forward anyway. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t allowed us to work on our race setup today, but we know our potential. We want, and we can, bounce back. It’ll be essential to get a good start, then we’ll try, as usual, to bring home the best possible result.”

COTA Presser Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

Joan Mir  – P14

“I’m in good shape and my speed is good. Today I was very close to Q2 but I missed out. Anyway I’m still happy with my pace, I’m not too far from the top. I’ll try to recover positions tomorrow in the race, and my goal is to learn about the riders around me and to get the best result possible.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Mir
Joan Mir

Takaaki Nakagami – P15

“I think the weather made it really complicated for everybody. Yesterday we finished outside of the top 10 in P15, then FP3 was cancelled so we didn’t have any further chance to improve (ahead of qualifying). FP4 was in mixed conditions and at the end of the session we tested with slick tyres to prepare for Q1. Q1 was difficult for me and this strong wind didn’t help either. We struggled to make a lap time with the new tyres and it’s been hard so far this weekend. But qualifying is gone now, so we’re preparing for the race and I think race distance will suit us better than the qualifying lap. Of course we’re quite disappointed with our performance today and yesterday, but we’ll focus on tomorrow and stay strong to try and get a good result.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami

Aleix Espargaro – P16

“It was a bit of a strange day because of the weather. Before the qualifiers, we were only able to lap in the last part of FP4, so we’ll only have tomorrow morning to get the bike ready for the race. Considering our level in terms of pace, we can hope for a better race than the qualifiers and aim for the top ten, although it won’t be easy because we know that this is not a very friendly track for us.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro

Andrea Iannone – P17

“Not a simple day. I particularly struggled in qualifying with the soft tyre. The balance of the bike changes a lot when the grip conditions change, and it makes a big difference here. We need to stay positive. Right now, getting to the point where we have a bike that is easier to ride is more important than the result. I am giving it my all, trying to ride as cleanly as I can, and I am sure that by working hard in every session, we will be able to improve the bike.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Iannone
Andrea Iannone

Miguel Oliveira – P18

“It has been a tough day. We started FP4 with half and half conditions, so finally we were lucky to have a dry session in Qualifying. It was difficult with the wind and the track not fully dry. We could confirm different things we tested on the bike to be able to start again tomorrow with a stronger pace. At least the position today was much better than yesterday. We are just outside of our target, but we keep calm for tomorrow, as we will have a very, very long race, physically demanding, so we will try to manage it the best.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

Johann Zarco – P19

“I hate starting from 19th position and to fight the bike, and it has been complicated to understand this and get better. I have to accept it at the moment. My team know we cannot get the solution right now. I have tried to adapt but I cannot change everything so it’s a difficult time.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Qualifying Zarco
Johann Zarco

Hafizh Syahrin – P21

“Yesterday afternoon I had a really good feeling with the KTM, so we used the same setup in Qualifying, but I don’t understand why I didn’t have the same sensations, as I was struggling to stop and to turn the bike. To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed about this feeling, because I thought we could improve our time a bit more. To start in P21 is not, what I was wishing for, but we keep pushing and learning and try to push even more come race day. I aim to find a good pace in Warm Up and hope I can stay inside a good group of riders to do a strong race like in Argentina last time.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin

2019 Cota MotoGP Qualifying Times

Pos Rider Motorcycle Time Gap
1 Marc Marquez HONDA 2’03.787 0.000
2 Valentino Rossi YAMAHA 2’04.060 0.273
3 Cal Crutchlow HONDA 2’04.147 0.360
4 Jack Miller DUCATI 2’04.416 0.629
5 Pol Espargaro KTM 2’04.472 0.685
6 Maverick Viñales YAMAHA 2’04.489 0.702
7 Alex Rins SUZUKI 2’04.534 0.747
8 Danilo Petrucci DUCATI 2’04.696 0.909
9 Fabio Quartararo YAMAHA 2’04.941 1.154
10 Franco Morbidelli YAMAHA 2’05.278 1.491
11 Jorge Lorenzo HONDA 2’05.383 1.596
12 Francesco Bagnaia DUCATI 2’05.887 2.100
13 Andrea Dovizioso DUCATI 2’05.907 (*) 0.052
14 Joan Mir SUZUKI 2’06.147 (*) 0.292
15 Takaaki Nakagami HONDA 2’06.324 (*) 0.469
16 Aleix Espargaro APRILIA 2’06.464 (*) 0.609
17 Andrea Iannone APRILIA 2’06.527 (*) 0.672
18 Miguel Oliveira KTM 2’06.543 (*) 0.688
19 Johann Zarco KTM 2’06.824 (*) 0.969
20 Karel Abraham DUCATI 2’07.129 (*) 1.274
21 Hafizh Syahrin KTM 2’07.308 (*) 1.453
22 Tito Rabat DUCATI 2’07.417 (*) 1.562
MotoGP Rnd COTA Qualifying Marquez
Marc Marquez

Source: MCNews.com.au

Vinales tops day one at COTA | Espargaro says circuit dangerous

MotoGP 2019 – Round Three
COTA Friday Report

While most riders were realpolitik as usual, Aprilia Aleix Espargaro broke ranks to call the COTA surface a ‘disaster’ and ‘dangerous’. The Spaniard was 14th quickest but let loose after the session, saying just what he thought about the Circuit of The Americas.

Aleix Espargaro – P14

“The asphalt is a disaster. It is very bumpy. On the corners it can be managed with difficulty, but the real problem is on the straight where, at more than three hundred km/h, you risk losing control of the bike. It is really very dangerous. This is MotoGP, not motocross. Our problem is that we are unable to get the most out of the new tyre. I feel like I am in great shape and I also have a good race pace. We know that this is certainly not the best circuit for us. I give it my all, riding aggressively, but we are unable to exploit the grip of the new tyre. With used tyres, we are always around sixth or seventh place, but when we all put on the tyre to do the time, we lose a lot of positions.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro

Most other riders kept their criticisms a little more private and got on with the job and after the two sessions less than a second split the top 12 MotoGP riders.

Marc Marquez’s love affair with the Circuit of the Americas showed no signs of stopping as the six-time winner led Free Practice 1 from his first fast lap. The pattern continued into Free Practice 2 as Marquez improved his lap time on just his second flying lap. With the track at 41°C and the sky clear above, Marquez produced a 2’03.901 to end the day as the second fastest rider in Austin after a tense final five minutes of on track action that saw Marquez bettered by countryman Maverick Vinales.

Maverick Vinales – P1

“I think today it was very important to work on the basic set-up, because in Argentina we misunderstood some things. I think we worked quite well here today. I tried to be very competitive, especially on the first laps, but we still have to improve. We have to be more precise in the first laps and I need a little bit more grip, especially on the rear, because I still didn‘t feel that I‘m at my best. It’s important to be at the top today, because I think tomorrow it‘s going to rain, and we need to start at the front. The track is very bumpy. It was funny, when I was pushing I made a big lateral slide, but honestly I was lucky I didn‘t make a big highside. For sure, I‘m expecting to be fast in qualifying. In Valencia I finished at the top in the wet. It‘s true that I also crashed, but I was one of the fastest on the track. I have a good feeling, and when you have a good feeling it doesn‘t matter what the conditions are like.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales blasts paste under the #69 painted on the hill at COTA

Marc Marquez – P2

“Today was not a straight forward day, the circuit has changed a lot since last year and it’s bumpy so we had to adapt to this. We also had some other areas to work on and some things to try to improve our pace. The rhythm and the pace is there so we are happy and we even tried the soft rear to get a good lap. Overall it was a productive day and we did what we needed to. Of course this weekend we also have Nicky Hayden in our minds, remembering a great champion.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Marquez
Marc Marquez

Valentino Rossi – P3

“Today wasn’t so bad, especially the third position is very good. I did a good lap, and this is very important in order to stay in the top-10. We have some problems with the pace, I’m not fantastic on the race tyre. We have to work on the balance of the bike, but for a first day it’s quite positive. The weather forecast for tomorrow is grim, but we’re hoping it’s wrong. Maybe the weather will be good tomorrow, but if it rains we will all start from zero again. We’ll need to try to understand the conditions and we need to find a good setting for the wet, but anyway we hope to have a dry race on Sunday.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi

Jack Miller – P4

“Finishing in Top 10 is always the main goal on friday. That’s why I can say I’m satisfied also because the weather tomorrow could be a factor for the direct qualification to Q2. The bike is working very well and I feel comfortable. In the afternoon I had some difficulties because of the wind but the balance of the day is very positive”.

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Jack Miller
Jack Miller

Cal Crutchlow – P5

“Today was a good day, we’re happy with the feelings on the bike. It’s really nice to be riding here at the Circuit of the Americas despite the track being in very poor condition. We look forward to trying some different settings on the bike tomorrow and qualifying, but at the moment I feel very good with the team and the bike.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow

Alex Rins – P6

“I lost a bit of time stuck behind another rider, but I’m still quite satisfied with my lap times today, and I was fastest in Sector 1. We’ve worked well today and we tried a few different tyre combinations. Now I’m thinking about the race, it seems that I could already be in Q2 due to my time in FP2, which would help a lot.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Rins
Alex Rins

Franco Morbidelli – P8

“Today was a tough day because we had some small problems that I think slowed down our progress. Even so, we were able to be get into the Top 10 with only one quick lap at the end, which is a good result. I need to put in more kilometres here with this bike, because I feel like I haven’t done enough laps in a row to understand the track fully. We have to keep working because we still have room for improvement. The difficulty we encountered today were the bumps, of which there are a lot. Towards the end of the day we found a good line and we are going to continue working on that tomorrow. We’ll see what happens and if today’s time is enough to qualify for Q2.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli

Fabio Quartararo – P9

“We are not officially into Q2 yet, but today the most important thing was to finish in the Top 10 because we know that tomorrow it is likely to rain. I made some mistakes on my two fastest laps, so I’m pretty happy because we only had one tyre to set our flying lap. It’s very good to finish in the Top 10 on the first day here in Austin. This circuit is very physical, but I felt ok on the bike. I think it’s one of the most demanding circuits of the year and we know it’s a good test of our fitness, although I think we’re in pretty good shape. We will see in the race, but it is a hard circuit.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

Pecco Bagnaia – P10

“I’m happy because this morning I had a lot of trouble riding over the many bumps of the circuit. We worked well on the setup and the feeling improved a lot in the afternoon. I was quick in the time attack but especially in the race pace with used tyres. It’s a very difficult track for me and that’s why I’m very satisfied”.

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Bagnaia
Pecco Bagnaia

Andrea Dovizioso – P11

“We knew we would have struggled a bit more than usual on this track but, all in all, we’ve been competitive enough with a race setup. This afternoon, in particular, our pace was decent. In retrospect, I think we didn’t choose the best front tyre for the final time attack in FP2. I couldn’t put together the lap that I wanted, and it’s a shame because tomorrow it’ll probably rain. Looking at the positives, going through Q1 could represent an advantage to have more feeling on the wet in Q2. We’ll have to see what the weather is like tomorrow. Conditions may make a big difference in terms of grid positions and, consequently, the race itself: we’ll have to be ready for all scenarios.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso

Joan Mir – P12

“I’m really happy overall because I made big improvement from the morning to the afternoon. I missed out on using a second set of soft tyres to try and push for a fast lap and get into the Top 10 today, but apart from that I feel confident and ready to build on my time further tomorrow.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Mir
Joan Mir

Danilo Petrucci – P13

“We were able to improve quite a bit throughout the day, but I still don’t have the right confidence. Despite feeling more at ease in FP2, we couldn’t seize the top 10 in the final minutes, which somewhat complicates our plans for tomorrow because the forecast says it’s going to rain. We don’t have one big issue to solve, and this makes the work on the setup a bit tricky. We need to improve in terms of grip and stability to be more consistent. I can’t say I’m satisfied with our position, but we still have ideas to try and I’m confident we’ll be able to make progress tomorrow.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci

Takaaki Nakagami – P15

“We really struggled here on the first day in America, during FP1 we were not so competitive throughout the session. In FP2 we improved little by little, but we have work to do ahead of tomorrow. The gap (to the front of the field) is not huge, but it’s all about small details as this track is 20 corners and it’s impossible not to make any mistakes on a lap. But I feel we are improving and we understand where we are losing time, so we’ll keep focused and work hard tomorrow. The weather forecast is not great, but we’ll try our best.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami

Jorge Lorenzo – P16

“A tricky day today. First of all the track is very bumpy for everyone and we need to improve a little bit to handle this. The circuit for me personally is always very difficult so it is quite complicated but we won’t give up. We’re trying many things to improve the bike and still perfecting the ergonomics to feel comfortable when changing direction. It was very special to have the ceremony for Nicky today, we all miss him a lot.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

Andrea Iannone – P18

“The positive side of today is that we assessed the various tyre choices for the race, identifying the ones that seem to work better. This morning, we were rather competitive, whereas in the second session, we were unable to exploit the soft tyres on the flying lap and that kept us from improving. We need to maintain our concentration and stay calm, because getting the most out of the technical package we have available to us is fundamental.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Iannone
Andrea Iannone

MotoGP rookie Miguel Oliveira had to learn one of the most demanding tracks in the calendar in Free Practice one this morning, the Portuguese rider lowered his fastest lap from FP1 to FP2 by strong 1.759 seconds. At the same time, Hafizh Syahrin made some huge steps forward from the first to the second session, improving by impressive 2.488 seconds to complete day one just 0.574 seconds behind his teammate. Both Red Bull KTM Tech3 riders are eager to find their way closer to the front.

Miguel Oliveira – P21

“It has been a difficult day to learn the track with the new bike, as COTA is a quite tricky circuit and it takes some time for me to understand how to ride and also how the bike can help me to ride the track better. At this moment, we are for sure not happy with the result we did today, but we need to learn and to understand that it’s maybe normal to suffer a bit more for the first time here. We just work hard as always to get the best result tomorrow. In Qualifying the weather is going to be critical, but we will manage it at our best.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Oliveira
Miguel Oliveira

Hafizh Syahrin – P22

“We made a huge improvement on the time. This morning it was difficult for me, because the track was very bumpy and I didn’t have confidence while braking as the bike was moving a lot. But we made some changes and in the afternoon, I felt really good. We still miss something for the turning. I was already talking about it with the team, so we know where to work on for tomorrow, although it might rain, which can be good for us to learn to ride the bike in these conditions. In the beginning of the weekend we always start a bit behind, because we were on this track for the first time with the bike, so we needed to collect some data first, which we used in FP2 to step ahead. We keep working hard and pushing 110 percent.”

MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Syahrin
Hafizh Syahrin

2019 Cota MotoGP Friday Practice Combined Times
  1. VINALES Maverick 12 SPA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 2’03.857
  2. MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA Repsol Honda Team 0.044
  3. ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 0.146
  4. MILLER Jack 43 AUS Pramac Racing Ducati 0.148
  5. CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR LCR Honda 0.261
  6. RINS Alex 42 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar  0.496
  7. ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA Red Bull KTM Factory .507
  8. MORBIDELLI Franco 21 ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT 0.691
  9. QUARTARARO Fabio 20 FRA Petronas Yamaha SRT 0.732
  10. BAGNAIA Francesco 63 ITA Pramac Racing Ducati 0.733
  11. DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA Mission Winnow Ducati 0.857
  12. MIR Joan 36 SPA Team Suzuki Ecstar 0.994
  13. PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA Mission Winnow Ducati 1.049
  14. ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 1.096
  15. NAKAGAMI Takaaki 30 JPN LCR Honda 1.163
  16. LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA Repsol Honda Team 1.312
  17. ZARCO Johann 5 FRA Red Bull KTM Factory  1.634
  18. IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 2.098
  19. ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 2.305
  20. RABAT Tito 53 SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 2.347
  21. OLIVEIRA Miguel 88 POR Red Bull KTM Tech3 2.419
  22. SYAHRIN Hafizh 55 MAL Red Bull KTM Tech3 2.993
MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Times MotoGP
2019 Cota MotoGP Friday Practice Combined Times

MotoGP weekend schedule
Times in AEST


MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Times Moto
2019 Cota Moto2 Friday Practice Combined Times


MotoGP Rnd COTA Friday Times Moto
2019 Cota Moto3 Friday Practice Combined Times

Source: MCNews.com.au

Can Marquez be beaten at COTA? | AEST Time Schedule

2019 MotoGP
Round Three – COTA

MotoGP makes its annual pilgrimage from South America to North America for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas this weekend.

Marquez has previously been unbeatable at COTA

A technical challenge and one of the longest laps of the year, Austin is a different beast to Argentina, but in six visits to the venue since its debut, there’s only ever been a lone star: Marquez. Will this year be any different?

Texas GP - Circuit of The Americas - 2018
Texas GP – Circuit of The Americas – 2018

Riders will do battle on a 5,513m long track that is renowned for its abrasive and bumpy surface. This season the track has undergone similar work to that which met the teams in 2018, when heavy machinery was brought in to plane down the top layers of the surface and remove some of the bumps, this means that Michelin and the teams will be heading to the circuit unsure of what condition the asphalt will be in.

Marquez leading Vinales at COTA in 2018 – Image by AJRN

Situated on the outskirts of Austin in Texas, the Circuit of The Americas is one of the newest tracks on the MotoGP calendar and this season will see the seventh staging of the event at the modern facility and Michelin’s fourth appearance since its return to the premier class of motorcycle racing.

Texas GP - Circuit of The Americas - 2018
Texas GP – Circuit of The Americas – 2018

There are two self-explanatory ways that Marquez could lose his grip the top step: someone else could beat him, or he could make a mistake.

Marquez crashed during practice at COTA last year – Image by AJRN

The first has seen many try and fail, but the likes of Valentino Rossi, teammate Maverick Viñales and Jorge Lorenzo have all been on the podium at COTA.

Marc Marquez – COTA 2018

Viñales also took his first Moto2 win there and has shown good pace, most notably in 2017 when it looked to be headed for a Viñales-Marquez showdown before the former crashed, and last year when he took second.

Circuit of the Americas MotoGP - Round 3
Circuit of the Americas MotoGP – Round 3

Then there’s Cal Crutchlow and although the Brit hasn’t been on the podium in Austin yet, and he’ll be on the war path to bounce back after his ride through penalty and jump start in Argentina. He’s still top Independent Team rider in the standings too, ahead of teammate Takaaki Nakagami and fourth-placed Termas finisher Jack Miller.

Jack Miller – COTA 2018

Suzuki factory man Alex Rins, meanwhile, is the only man on the grid with a win at COTA in both of the smaller classes, so he only needs a MotoGP victory at the venue to complete the hat trick – and there was a Hamamatsu factory machine on the podium last year…

Circuit of the Americas MotoGP - Round 3 - Race Results Marc MARQUEZ - SPA - Repsol Honda Team 41'52.002 Maverick VIÑALES - SPA - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +3.560 Andrea IANNONE - ITA - Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +6.704
Circuit of the Americas MotoGP 2018 – Round 3 – Race Results
Marc MARQUEZ – SPA – Repsol Honda Team 41’52.002
Maverick VIÑALES – SPA – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +3.560
Andrea IANNONE – ITA – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +6.704

There is another name who stands out as having visited the rostrum a couple of times in the premier class though: key title challenger Andrea Dovizioso and the controversial Ducati.

MotoGP 2016 - Round Three- COTA - Podium - MotoGP
MotoGP 2016 – Round Three- COTA – Podium – MotoGP

Bad luck and trouble have struck ‘DesmoDovi’ in Texas more than once, but the number 04 has also shown some good speed there.

Dani Pedrosa apologising to Andrea Dovizioso
Dani Pedrosa apologising to Andrea Dovizioso at COTA 2016 after taking them both out

Argentina also served to highlight once again the progress made by Ducati, with the Italian taking his first podium at Termas de Rio Hondo and significantly further up the mix than in the last couple of seasons. A good omen for this race? Time will tell, but with only four points between him and Marquez in the Championship – now in favour of the Argentina GP winner – he’ll want to do some more damage limitation at the very least before we head to tracks traditionally more suited to the Italian machine.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd - “Today was a superb race and I take enormous personal satisfaction from it because here at Austin the races are always special: on this circuit you have to administer your energy, your tyres and your pace, something that does not happen in other circuits. I am particularly pleased with the work of my team because on a completely different track from Losail we confirmed that the GP15 is competitive and we managed to improve during the weekend. This year we have already had two great races, but we must continue to work because we’re still lacking a bit of fine-tuning in braking and traction, small improvements that will make the difference when it comes to fighting for the top positions at every circuit.”
Andrea Dovizioso on the podium at COTA in 2015

So what of the second option? Marquez has oft seemed nigh on infallible and his records at COTA and the Sachsenring – the two venues where he has never been beaten in the premier class – show that side of the coin.

After having to swap motorcycles due to a technical issue, Marquez produced an amazing one-lap display to set a time of 2’02.135
After having to swap motorcycles due to a technical issue, Marquez produced an amazing one-lap display to set a time of 2’02.135 in 2015 to take pole position

But crashes and mistakes at tracks where he has had the pace – Argentina, Aragon, Phillip Island – show the other; it’s never an easy task to convert that speed into a victory. The question is, then, can that perfect record last forever in Texas? Over 20 laps of 20 corners an awful lot can happen.

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez rode a sensational final lap in MotoGP Qualifying Practice 2 to smash his ow
Marc Marquez – COTA 2015

That’s true throughout the field, and in the battle for Rookie of the Year, it’s Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) who leads the way, albeit equal on points with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar).

MotoGP Rnd Argentina Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo was eighth in Argentina

The Frenchman took the honour of top rookie in Argentina and the Spaniard in Qatar, and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) scored his first points at Termas de Rio Hondo with an incredibly impressive 11th – just a couple of tenths off top KTM Pol Espargaro, who got the marque’s first top ten at the venue and their first of the year.

MotoGP Rnd Argentina Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro – 10th in Argentina

But his fellow rookies’ speed leaves the second fastest man at the Sepang Test, Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), currently trailing the trio and he’ll be looking to hit back in Texas. MotoGP is a story far more intricate that just who stands on the top step.

MotoGP Rnd Argentina QP Bagnaia
Pecco Bagnaia

When the lights go out to signal the start of the 20-lap race at 0500 AEST early on Monday the 15th April, it will herald the final episode in a trio of fly-away races to start the season, before the championship heads to Europe and Jerez.

Source: MCNews.com.au