2013 Austin MotoGP | Circuit of the Americas Rider Talk

Yamaha Factory Racing's Valentino Rossi (photo by Ara Ashjian)

2013 Austin MotoGP Rider Quotes

MotoGP debuted this past weekend at the newly-constructed Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.

The Red Bull of the Americas held there was the first of three rounds occurring in the USA (Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Indianapolis Motor Speedway). The only other country with more MotoGP rounds is Spain (Jerez, Catalunya, Aragon, Valenica).

When the 21-lap race wrapped up Sunday at COTA, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez made history. The 20-year-old Spaniard not only took his first-ever MotoGP race of his rookie career in the premier class, he also became the youngest rider to win a MotoGP. The man who previously held the record was two-time 500cc Champion Freddie Spencer, who took his first win in 1982 at the age of 21.

Joining Marquez on the Austin MotoGP podium was his teammate, Dani Pedrosa, and the reigning MotoGP Champion, Jorge Lorenzo, making for an all-Spanish podium.

Following are quotes from Sunday’s race. For a review, including full results and point standings, click here.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Today’s race was good and I’m happy with this second place. We had great pace, even though we knew that Marc was very strong. I tried to ride my own race and in the end I was losing a lot of time on the chicanes.

“I was tiring physically and I could not handle the bike well ─especially in the first part of the circuit. In the second section of the track I was recovering quite a lot of time, but it was not enough. Furthermore, in one of the three laps before the end I made a mistake, lost around 1.5 seconds and Marc was able to get away.

“That was the point at which the race was lost for me. Still, I’m happy, my riding was pretty good today and I have improved compared with Qatar. I have to congratulate Marc as well, because he did a great job! Now we need to focus on Jerez ─a circuit I like a lot.”

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “After taking my first podium in Qatar I was very happy, but I am even more so today after my first win! It went better than I expected and I am very grateful to the team for their efforts over the preseason; we have worked very hard and, without this, the victory would not have been possible.

“The race was very intense and physical, as I followed Dani for many laps and then decided to launch an attack and try to open a gap with ten laps to go. I could not pull the gap I wanted as some problems with the front emerged that we’d experienced throughout the weekend. Despite all this, we were able to take the victory.

“The 25 points are important, but what is more important is to have achieved a win in my second race in MotoGP. We realise that more difficult circuits lie ahead for us, but we will try to give 100% at all of them. Our battle is not the one for the Championship, but rather taking it race-by-race and enjoying every moment.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Yesterday we were so far from Marc and Dani but this morning in the warm up we found something. The hairpin corners we normally take in first gear we made in second so it improved a lot the feeling and the acceleration, but it was not enough.

“Just a little bit more, maybe two tenths quicker and I could have fought with Dani and Marc. Today third position was the best we could do. I want to congratulate Cal who didn’t give up until the end and also Marc, he’s the youngest rider in history to win a Grand Prix; he is a phenomenon. It’s an important day for me; I never thought to get this unbelievable number of podiums so today is a magic day.

“Time flies very quickly, it seems like it was just yesterday that I got my first victory, which was my first podium in Brazil in 2003 ten years ago and now today my 100th.”

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “This is a difficult track for us. We expected to do better, but I had a lot of problems in the race because I had a problem with the brakes. I had a vibration in braking because I lost one part of a disc so this didn’t help.

“We knew that we had to defend here; we know that when we cannot attack we need to try and arrive in the top five but today it was sixth. The balance of the first two races is positive and we arrive in Jerez optimistic for the next few races as the tracks are better for us.”

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m very pleased and we did a better job than any of us expected before we arrived in Texas. With no testing here I was worried that it would be more of a struggle and the fire in the garage on Wednesday meant we couldn’t do any of our normal preparation work.

“So to finish fourth and be behind Marquez, Pedrosa and Lorenzo is a great achievement for all of us and I want to say a massive thanks to my crew. We qualified well and I rode very well in the race and the most pleasing aspect was my consistency.

“Unfortunately I ran wide while trying to pass Bradl but I managed to fight my way back through and I was running the same speed as Lorenzo for a long time and that gives me a lot of confidence to take into the next few races. I’m giving it my all and I’ll never give up and I think this weekend again we showed how competitive the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 package is. Now we go to Jerez and I was quickest at the winter test a few weeks ago, so it is going to be another big battle that I’m excited about.”

Bradley Smith (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I am really happy to finish the race because what I learned over a full race distance was priceless. I ran the hard front tyre on the advice of Bridgestone and while it was definitely the right choice, it took me a few laps to understand how it was working.

“The last thing I needed was to push too hard and make another mistake like in Qatar but the best thing about the race is I got faster and faster. I was quicker as in qualifying on the penultimate lap of the race, and that’s a sign of how much better I was riding the bike.

“I am learning more and more about the bike on each lap and I can go to Jerez now confident that I can be even more competitive and the goal will be to get closer to the top 10. Finally I can’t praise my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team enough. After the garage fire on Wednesday night it really put everybody on the back foot, but we all rallied round and it is nice to see both Cal and I finish in the points to reward their hard work.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “Obviously, we’re not satisfied with seventh place, but the race time wasn’t bad. I was able to keep a good pace below 2:06, so I’m pleased with my aggression and effort. I managed to be pretty consistent up until the final five or six laps.

“The last three laps with Bautista were fun—a nice battle! We know we have to work hard, because this is our limit at the moment, but we’re really motivated to improve.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “It was a tough weekend. The track was great, but I lost some time in the beginning and was struggling with change of direction. I was okay on much of the track, but I never found the confidence in the front end to flick the bike into the corners, which hurt me in the esses.

“The guys did a good job getting me a better bike for the race, and I don’t really have any excuses. Ninth place isn’t what we wanted here today, so I certainly hope we can sort a few things out and start putting up a better fight than we have in these first two races.”

Ben Spies (Ignite Pramac Racing Team Ducati GP13 MotoGP) says: “I had a little problem with a nerve in my chest for some reason. I don’t know if it’s from overcompensating for my shoulder problem, which is actually getting a lot better compared to Qatar.

“That said, two laps before the end of the warm-up, I had a twinge in my chest. It was like a knife, so we went to the clinic and they worked on me a lot and got me ready for the race. I tried as hard as I could during the race, but it wasn’t enough. At 8 laps to go, it was either come in or salvage whatever points we could. We need to work harder and get back to 100% and just keep working with the bike. I’m more disappointed for the team, friends, family, fans, Ducati, and Ignite Pramac, because they deserve better.”

Andrea Iannone (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team GP13 MotoGP) says: “We improved a lot today. Yesterday I wasn’t competitive at all, and I couldn’t take full advantage of qualifying. It was a shame because if I had managed to start further ahead, maybe it would’ve been more enjoyable, although I think it still would’ve ended the same, as I started losing a lot of strength in my right arm after a few laps.

“Seven laps in, I started to feel really bad, and I had to conserve my strength. It was very difficult, and unfortunately I couldn’t control the bike. Anyway, it was still a good race; I was more aggressive and confident right away, and I was even able to stay ahead of Nicky for a little while, which is really good for me. I learned a lot of things that will be useful in the future.”

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “We can be happy today because we have done a good job. I took a very good start but I was not so aggressive as some other riders at the beginning because, on full fuel, I could feel some sliding in the front so I decided to remain calm and focused.

“At 13 laps to go Crutchlow passed me as he was quite fast in the middle of the race especially in the entry of the corners. We could not match his performance in the entry of the curves but we had a good speed in the exit. I think we have done our best and P5 is the result we were expecting here at COTA.”

Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I was expecting a better race after the feeling I had with the bike yesterday in qualifying and honestly thought I could even improve my pace today but the bike was moving around and I didn’t have the same confidence.

“I tried to stay with the group but couldn’t manage it. In the end after pulling back two seconds on Dovizioso I got into a nice battle with him but in the last corner I made a mistake and he passed me. It’s a shame but we have chance to make up for it in a couple of weeks in my home Grand Prix at Jerez, a place and circuit that I really like.”

Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I am really happy to have finished the race here, which was important for me in terms of learning the lines from the other more experienced riders and the fact that we managed to improve on our best lap from practice. Overall I think this proves that we need more time o the bike to adapt and to become more competitive in this class.”