After impressive starts to their respective seasons British riders Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding chase podium finishes in the very first MotoGP™ race in Texas, the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday.
The 3.427 miles Circuit of the Americas in Austin hosts the second round of the MotoGP World Championship for the first time. At the opening round of the season in Qatar Crutchlow fought tooth and nail with the factory bikes to eventually finish fifth in the MotoGP race. Redding pushed eventual Moto2™ race winner Pol Espargaro to the limit to finish second.
Isle of Man – based Midlander Crutchlow was contesting second place on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha in Qatar when he ran on at turn one and had to settle for fifth behind the factory foursome of Lorenzo, Rossi, Marquez and Pedrosa. Throughout the weekend he’d harassed the factory bikes and will continue to do so at the new circuit starting in the very first practice session on Friday morning.
It was a tough MotoGP debut for his new team-mate Bradley Smith who crashed out after impressive practice and qualifying sessions. His main aim will be to secure his first MotoGP finish in the 21 lap race on Sunday. Thirty one year old Ulsterman Michael Laverty made a solid MotoGP debut in Qatar finishing 17th on the Paul Bird Motorsport CRT machine. More track time for him and the team should result in his first World Championship points very soon.
Redding’s stunning performance in Qatar was a real boost for the Marc VDS team. The 20 year old Gloucestershire rider fought Moto2 pre-season favourite Espargaro throughout the race and his first win in the class can’t be far away. Although they finished out of the points both Danny Kent and Kyle Smith made decent starts to their Moto2 careers. Wiltshire teenager Kent was 18th on the Tech 3 machine while Spanish-based Yorkshireman Smith was 21st on his World Championship debut.
The highly experienced Kent rider Danny Webb picked up his first World Championship points for over a year with a hard fought 11th in the ferociously fought typical Moto3™ race in Qatar riding the Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda. Not so lucky was Scottish teenager John McPhee who was fighting for championship points when he was brought down.
“It was a great night in Qatar for Yamaha but also for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because I showed that I can battle for the podium. The top four are the best riders on the best bikes but I pushed them as hard as I could until the small mistake stopped me. I’m best of the rest and that’s pleasing and hopefully I can be up there again in Austin.”
“It’s a new track for everyone, which will be interesting, but I’m sure it won’t take any of us long to get up to speed. I’ve never had a problem learning new tracks and I’m looking forward to seeing what the Circuit of the Americas has to offer. If we approach this race in the same way as we did the last then I think there’s every chance we can repeat the success of Qatar in America. That’s the goal, anyway”
THE CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS – FOURTH AMERICAN MOTOPGP VENUE
The brand new Circuit of the Americas is the fourth circuit in America to host grand prix motorcycle racing. The first American Grand Prix was held at Daytona in Florida in 1964. Laguna Seca in California staged its first grand prix in 1989 with the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway coming on board in 2008. This year there will be three MotoGP races in Americas at the Circuit of the Americas, Laguna Seca and Indianapolis.
LORENZO AND ROSSI CHARGE INTO TEXAS
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and team-mate, nine times world champion, Valentino Rossi lead the charge into Texas for the second round of the MotoGP World Championship on Sunday. The Yamaha riders dominated the opening round in Qatar but know it will not be so easy at the very inaugural Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin.
The demanding 3.427 miles Circuit of the Americas track stages its very first MotoGP event after hosting its first Formula One car race last season. Lorenzo has tested at the track earlier in the year with team-mate Rossi and the Honda trio of Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl. Rossi’s second place in Qatar on his return to Yamaha and his battle with Rookie Marc Marquez made all the headlines somewhat eclipsing the perfect weekend for the Lorenzo in both qualifying and the race.
Pedrosa was disappointed with his fourth place especially being beaten by his new Repsol Honda team-mate, Marquez, who’s debut lived up to all the pre-season hype. Cal Crutchlow fought tooth and nail with the factory bikes until running on at turn one and having to settle for fifth on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. Spaniard Alvaro Bautista was a brave sixth on the Go and Fun Gresini Honda despite considerable discomfort from a hand injury sustained in a testing crash. The former 125 cc world champion should be stronger after a two week break.
Another former 125 cc world champion Andrea Dovizioso made a solid start to his Ducati career with a seventh place one place in front of American team-mate Nicky Hayden Ben Spies, the last American winner of a MotoGP race, was not helped by a practice crash but finished tenth behind his Pramac Ducati team-mate Andrea Iannone on his MotoGP debut.
Last year the CRT battle was fought out between Power Electronics Aspar team-mates Aleix Espargaro and Randy De Puniet and the opening round in Qatar gave every indication it will be the same this time round. Last year Espargaro came out on top as he did in Qatar but keep an eye on Hector Barbara who was the third top CRT bike despite problems in practice and qualifying.
The MotoGP grid will be increased to 26 riders with the inclusion of American riders Blake Young riding the Attack Performance Racing Kawasaki and Mike Barnes on the GP Tech’s Suzuki.
Pol Espargaro and Scott Redding should continue their Moto2 Qatar battle that was only decided on the last bend in favour of the Tuenti HP 40 Kalex rider. They will be checking out Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami who was not only third in the race but very impressive in qualifying and practice on the Italtrans Kalex. Some old hands including Mika Kallio, Julian Simon, Simone Corsi and Alex De Angelis where close behind and it promises to be a typical 19 lap Moto2 encounter round the new circuit.
The second year of Moto3 started in Qatar with a breathtaking five rider battle. Spaniard Luis Salom just came out on top riding the Red Bull Ajo KTM and thirsting for revenge in Austin will be the other four; Maverick Vinales, Alex Rins, Alex Marquez and Jonas Folger. Throw in the likes of Fahmi Khairuddin, Miquel Oliveira and Arthur Sissis and the new American audience is in for a treat.
CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS FACTS AND FIGURES
Circuit Length: 5.513 km / 3.426 miles
Width: 15 m
Pole Position: Right
Left Corners: Eleven
Right Corners: Nine
Friday 19 April
19:10 – 22:00 Free Practice British Eurosport 2/ BBC Live Streaming
Saturday 20 April
18:20 – 21:00 Live Qualifying Red Button/British Eurosport 2
Sunday 21 April
16:45 – 19:30 Live Moto3/ Moto2 Races Red Button/British Eurosport 2
19:30 – 21:00 Live MotoGP Race BBC3
21:00 Replay MotoGP Race British Eurosport 2