Misano 2017: a summary
It was a more difficult first two visits to the Circuit of the Americas for Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) in 2013 and 2014, before a podium in 2015 and good confidence ahead of the race last year – until a mistake saw the nine-time World Champion crash out. So as far as the ‘Dcoctor’ is concerned, there’s a score to settle in the USA.
– The winners of the last three Moto2™ races in Austin are now competing in the MotoGP class: Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). The only other rider to win a Moto2™ race in Austin is Nico Terol, at the first visit to the circuit in 2013.
Piero Taramasso, Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group: “COTA is another very demanding circuit and features many changes of direction, slow turns, fast bends and a long straight. There are also hard braking areas and all this together makes for a big challenge for a tyre to cope with. The riders are always demanding the very best and that is always our target- to be able to give the optimum tyre for all riders and bikes to use. We were unable to produce the very good performance that we had hoped for in 2016, but this season we are going there fully prepared – thanks to data we got after last year’s race – and with a range of rubber that will work well around the Texan circuit. With three fly-away tests and then the three long-haul races to start the season, it has certainly been a busy time, but we are all totally focused and will arrive in Austin fresh and ready for the task-in-hand.”
Marc Marquez: “After the Argentina race, I’m happy to go to a track I love as much as Austin, although of course I would have preferred to arrive there in a better position. Anyway, another race weekend is about to start and we’ll give 100% to try to get our first podium this season. I have great memories of Austin, and for me it’s one of the best venues on the race calendar. I like the layout of the track, as it has many different types of sections and corners and lots of elevation changes. I also love the “American” style, with all the fans enjoying the sport and the fun at the track, so let’s get back in action and see how it goes there.”
Johann Zarco: “The Circuit of the Americas is impressive and I am confident that I can seal a good result there with my Yamaha. The layout is demanding because there are twenty corners and it’s certainly physical. However, I have a good record in Texas and I have finished on the podium twice in the past two years in Moto2. At the moment, my feeling on the YZR-M1 bike is great and after the 5th place finish in Argentina, I want to stay on this level. Yet, when we start, I will stay relaxed and I will work with the team and on myself because, at this venue, it’s vital to understand the direction that we need to head towards as there are so many corners. If you make one small mistake, it takes almost half a lap to recover, so therefore, it’s more important to work on the rider and to find the perfect line on the asphalt, rather than focusing too much on finding the ideal setup. Nevertheless, I am keen to race in America, and I will go there with a high level of motivation because, at the moment, my feeling is wonderful.”
Alvaro Bautista: “We are looking forward to arriving in Austin after a good weekend in Argentina, but this is a quite different track with different demands. We will try to work as well as possible to find the same feeling as Argentina and head into the race with a good pace and a good set-up so that we can fight for a top five finish again. Austin has some hard braking and acceleration zones as well as some mixed sections with a variety of direction changes. It will be tricky to find a set-up there because when you get the bike working well in one sector it tends to be compromised in another. We will give our best as always and hopefully we can have the same outcome as the last race.”
– Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crossed the line in second for the first time of his Moto2™ career in Argentina, becoming the first Portuguese rider to stand on the podium in the intermediate category. Last year in Austin, he qualified on 20th on the grid and crashed during the race in his rookie year.
– Joan Mir (Leopard Racing), John McPhee (British Talent Team) and Jorge Martín (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) stood on the podium for the second time in a row; the first time since Alex Rins, Maverick Viñales and Álex Márquez in Misano and Aragon in 2013.
Faces Of : Argentina 2017
The field is far from a three-horse race, however. A combination of bad luck, trouble and circumstance has hit many of those sure to soon get back to making big impressions on the fight at the front – Martin’s teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio, Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) – all riders with previous podium form, and Oettl on pole last year. And then there’s last year’s winner Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers)…
It was a teammate tango to remember at Termas de Rio Hondo, as Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez disappeared into the distance before some last lap drama saw Marquez highside out on the chase – and now motivation will be even higher for both riders, as one seeks to keep his stranglehold on the standings and the other looks to reload.
Behind the reigning Champion, the man with the best previous form is his teammate Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa took second in 2013, second in 2014, missed 2015 through injury and was again fighting for the podium last year before a mistake saw him crash out of contention – as it did for Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who could be the wildcard of the weekend once again. Despite struggles in practice and testing, the ‘Doctor’ has now made it two podiums out of two – and says his pace before his mistake last year at COTA makes him believe he could have challenged for the win. It was a difficult first two outings at the track for the number 46, but 2015 saw a leap forward in position and 2016 another in pace – so Rossi could prove one to watch once again, with a little more luck than last year.
First off, Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took matters into his own hands this year in getting to Termas de Rio Hondo. But remembering the trip last year and the pan pipes, maybe it was more at the behest of his team and this was just good cover.
More happy Vale!
Dr Xavier Mir: “Today we operated on Brad Binder, who had suffered a loosening of the plate on his left forearm. The operation consisted of three phases: The first, removing the old plate, which had lost the pronator axis. Secondly, we placed a new plate with the correct axis of the radius, so that it could do twisting movements; Finally, a graft removed from his arm to wrap around the old fracture and ensure that the bone heals as soon as possible. He will remain in hospital for between 24 and 48 hours and we believe that he will be able to begin recovery exercises in three weeks.”
Remember – keep your eye on MotoGP™ social media for your chance to ask, with another opportunity just around the corner on Thursday ahead of the Grand Prix of the Americas, as well as following qualifying on Saturday. And this part of the Press Conference is always shown on Facebook Live!
Aleix unfortunately wiped out Dovi – and then immediately ran over to him to console him. It’s always wonderful to see great sportsmanship in MotoGP. (Argentina)
Alvaro Bautista: “For me, these are the positions where I should be, where I’ve been in the past and where we have to work to continue in the future. We knew we were doing a good job and that we were pretty competitive in terms of the rhythm for Sunday. It was a pity the qualifying was in mixed conditions. We were penalised for qualifying so far back. Even so, we were confident of making up positions. If we had qualified better, or we hadn’t taken so long to get in the lead of the chasing group, I think it was feasible to fight for the podium given the pace we had, especially the last third of the race.”