Austin COTA Gets First MotoGP Shakedown; Marquez Leads
2013 MotoGP Private Testing at Circuit of the Americas
The newest venue on the MotoGP Championship – the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas – got its first shakedown Monday during the first of three days in private testing at the 3.41-mile circuit featuring 20 corners.
Three teams participated in Tuesday’s testing: Yamaha Factory Racing (Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi), Repsol Honda (Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez), and LCR Honda (Stefan Bradl).
During the first session at Austion, where round 2 will occur April 19-21, all five riders spent the day learning the layout of COTA, which is the third-longest venue on the 18-race 2013 MotoGP Schedule.
Speaking of the first day of testing, MotoGP says: “Most teams will not take much notice of the early times set, as both riders and teams are learning the circuit. It is also a learning curve for Bridgestone, which is setting out to verify which tire compound to use for the track. Early information is that the tire is of symmetrical design and will have to cope with an abrasive surface.
Following a mid-session report, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez was quickest with a 2:05.621. He was 0.52 of a second quicker than teammate Pedrosa, with Bradl arriving 1.687 seconds behind.
Behind the three Honda RC213V prototypes was Lorenzo’s YZR-M1. Lorenzo trailed Marquez by 1.768, with Rossi a further 2.304 seconds behind.
Following is some rider reaction following the mid-day reports:
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “At the moment step-by-step. We are still getting to know the track. It’s quite difficult, especially the first part; and the grip of the track in the beginning was not so good and the bike was sliding a lot. But it’s improving and now we are quite good. But we need to improve a lot with the set-up and especially the electronics side, but we are working well.
“One of the characteristics of the circuit is that is has quite a lot of hard braking points, and this makes it difficult to find the best compromise on the set-up. The trickiest part of the track is the first part, where you have this left-right-left-right. For a rider it’s quite difficult to find the best line and best compromise to be fast, but not take a lot of risks. And also the last part has three right corners in a row, where it’s also difficult to find the best line.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I think it’s very important to come here and learn the track. I haven’t learnt 100% of it, I need more laps to learn my lines, but for the moment it’s a very beautiful track which is very complete with every kind of corner. In the beginning it was difficult to understand the lines but I have improved 3 seconds from the first lap today, that means it’s a hard track to learn and a difficult track to go to the maximum on. I think it helps more than some other places to have this extra time. I think three or four practices before the race will not be enough to understand it so some of the riders who didn’t come here will have a little disadvantage.
“The wind has been a little bit of a problem, especially on the longer straight where you arrive over 340km/h, you feel a lot of unstable feelings. Almost all the track is tricky, there’s some very hard braking and also tight hairpins. The first sector is flowing but it is very hard to find a good line because it’s blind.
“We’re getting used to the track but also trying to solve a problem at maximum lean where we don’t have full confidence. We have to change the setting a bit to make it better. The tarmac is not perfect with only four bikes on it to clean it so it’s difficult to understand if it’s very grippy or not. It’s hard to know if it will be much better at the race weekend or just a little bit.”
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha YZF-R1 MotoGP) says: “I really like the track, my first impression is that it is beautiful. It’s very flowing with a lot of fast corners and a lot of change of direction; it is fun on the bike! There are three hairpins that are very tight; this is better for Formula 1 overtaking, but for us they are a bit slow. In general the track is good. There is some downhill and uphill and first braking zone is very good.
“We have to understand which tyre to use, but the asphalt surface doesn’t have any rubber on it at the moment so there is not so much grip at the moment. The uphill at turn one helps to stop the bike, which is beautiful. For me turn two is the best though and after you enter into the chicane which is very similar to Silverstone. The straight is very long, which is maybe good for overtaking.
“The city is great, the atmosphere is very good so I think it is a very good place for a race. It’s very important to have this time as the track is so difficult, there are a lot of blind corners where you have to understand where to brake. We will continue to work on the line to understand the track and also to increase the rear grip on the bike as we suffer in acceleration. The first feeling is positive. It’s important for MotoGP to have a third race in America, we have a lot of good riders from the USA so it’s right to be here.”
2013 Austin MotoGP Private Testing Results, Mid-Point Day 1:
- Marc Marquez (HRC – Honda) – 2:05.620
- Dani Pedrosa (HRC – Honda) – 2:06.140
- Stefan Bradl (LCR – Honda) – 2.:07.307
- Jorge Lorenzo (YFR – YAMAHA) – 2:07.388
- Valentino Rossi (YFR – YAMAHA) – 2:07.924