Marc Marquez was always close...
Marc Marquez was always close to his Repsol Honda teammate on the Day One timesheets.
As the first factory MotoGP bikes have turned a wheel at the sprawling Circuit of the Americas facility in Austin, Texas at the private Honda/Yamaha test, times have begun to tumble as the Repsol Honda, LCR Honda, and Yamaha Factory Racing teams began to acquaint themselves with the 3.427-mile circuit. Greeted by a warm and windy day, the Repsol Honda pair of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa quickly started trading the top spot numerous times as laps and confidence began to build and rubber was laid down on the racing line. “We have to understand which tire 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,” said Valentino Rossi in the afternoon. Lorenzo was similarly suspect: “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.”
Lorenzo spent the first day...
Lorenzo spent the first day of the Austin MotoGP test learning the track.
Both of the Yamaha riders were impressed by the CotA facility, and noted that it was well worth the money and time spent to come out for this private test. “I think it’s very important to come here and learn the track,” related Jorge Lorenzo. “I haven’t learned 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 22 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.”
Rossi liked the Austin circuit's...
Rossi liked the Austin circuit's layout: "I like the track, my first impressionis that it is beautiful."
“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,” concurred Rossi. “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.”
Like Lorenzo, Rossi appeared to appreciate the technical nature of the CotA circuit’s layout at the test. “I really like the track, my first impression is that it is beautiful,” praised Rossi of the Austin MotoGP facility. “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. 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.”
“Almost all the track is tricky, there’s some very hard braking and also tight hairpins,” agreed Lorenzo about the Austin MotoGP circuit at the test. “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.”
Rossi likes the idea of a third MotoGP race in the U.S., and we doubt many Americans are inclined to disagree. “The city is great,” remarked the Italian about Austin, “the atmosphere is very good so I think it is a very good place for a race. 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.”
Austin MotoGP test results, Day One:
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Honda 2:04.619
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda 2:05.047
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha 2:05.291
4. Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda 2:06.053
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha 2:06.507