After an eventful weekend in Argentina just a few days ago, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team has arrived in America for the third Grand Prix on the MotoGP calendar. Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are looking forward to getting the action going at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) this weekend and will be striving for top results.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team headed straight from Argentina to Austin, Texas in the United States of America this week for the first back-to-back race weekends of the 2016 MotoGP Championship. After a dramatic weekend of highs and lows at the Termas de Rïo Honda circuit both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are keen to get straight back in the hot seat of their YZR-M1s.
Nine-time world champion Rossi arrives in Texas having arguably taken the most benefit from the bizarre race day in Argentina on Sunday that saw a huge amount of uncertainty and difficult riding conditions to deal with. A mid race bike change and less than perfect track conditions saw many riders crash out. The Doctor was not one of them though, hanging in and using all his race craft to capitalise on the opportunity to snatch a second place on the podium at the end of the race following a determined chase of race leader Marc Marquez. The Italian doesn’t count COTA as one of his favourite tracks but despite this has seen his performance there improve over the years since its addition to the MotoGP calendar, with a hard fought third place podium finish last year his best result so far.
Defending MotoGP world champion Lorenzo arrives in the USA determined to put the Argentina experience behind him and continue his race winning form from the opening round in Qatar. The Spanish rider crashed out of last Sunday’s race, falling victim to the treacherous and slippery track conditions. Like his teammate Rossi, Lorenzo also doesn’t count COTA as a favourite circuit and shares a best result of third with a podium finish in 2013.
Constructed in 2013, The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is one of the newest on the calendar, having been added to the Grand Prix schedule in 2013. At 5513m in length and defined by a mixture of fast straights and tight hairpins, the track consistently provides challenges and excitement in equal measure. The riders will need to master the 11 left and 9 right turns and keep it pinned for the 1,200m straight if they are to conquer the podium in front of the 120,000 capacity crowd.
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We are all very happy as a team to move on from what was a very difficult race weekend in Argentina to return to the USA. The COTA circuit has not been the best circuit for us in the past however both riders have proved they can reach the podium there. All teams arrive here to race for the first time with new electronics and new tyres so we have to wait until Friday’s first sessions to understand where we and our competitors stand. However it is always a pleasure to race in the USA where the fan support and atmosphere is fantastic. We are motivated and ready to work!”
Championship: 2nd, 33 points
“I am happy to return to Texas and to race at COTA. We have to work hard in Austin because it’s crucial to understand quickly how bike, tyres, electronics and this track work together. Furthermore in the last laps of the race I’m not very strong so we need to improve with the bike on these tyres. Historically it is a difficult circuit for us and for Yamaha, but last year I could arrive on the podium so I will try also this year.”
Championship: 4th, 25 points
“After a very disappointing race in Argentina I look forward to racing in Austin. I thought we could get some good points in Termas de Rio Hondo but unfortunately we struggled all weekend and finally in the race as well. The COTA circuit is not one my favorites tracks nor for Yamaha so we need to try to understand as soon as possible the circuit with the new electronics and tyres. Let’s see how things are going during the weekend but I’m eager to do a good race and try to recover some points before facing the first race in Europe.”
Tech3 duo ready to hit Texas at full speed
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith eye up the Grand Prix of The Americas full of confidence as they intend to swoop to two more strong finishes. After both riders persevered and delivered convincing performances at the previous GP in Argentina, they will seek to clinch another brace this weekend in the final race before the MotoGP paddock heads to Europe.
Pol Espargaro intends to follow up his 6th place in the fiercely contested round two battle by sealing the best independent rider honours in this weekend’s Grand Prix. Whilst Bradley Smith will look to extend his consecutive 26 race point scoring finish run and compete with his teammate for a top eight result.
Championship: 6th, 19 points
“After the outcome last week, I am more determined than ever to get back to where we need to be, which is fighting for and winning the top independent team contest. We, as riders, dealt with a lot in Argentina, which included the dirty track surface, the weather as well as the tyres. The race was certainly a tough one and even though I am pleased that I got 6th, I feel I could have been more competitive. That is what I plan to do in Texas which is a circuit that I enjoy racing at. The ascent to the first corner is something special and always breath-taking to ride on a MotoGP bike. However, we are there to gain a strong result more than enjoy the track, and after the disappointing time that we had last season, I am highly motivated about riding to a good position this year.”
Championship: 9th, 16 points
“Next for us is the Circuit of The Americas after the tough GP that we had a few days ago. In some respects, it’s good to have back to back races because there’s no time to relax in between the events and it’s important to stay focused and ready for the next outing. Once again, the tyres will be vital in Texas as the track is very physical and demanding, so we will have to get to work as soon as we arrive at the circuit. In Argentina, we took a gamble with a setting that we had never used before and which didn’t work really well for us, but we have to learn from this and get down to business on Friday morning. The ambition as always, is to be the top independent rider on Sunday, which I achieved last year, therefore I’m confident and looking forward to hitting the asphalt on my Yamaha YZR-M1.”