The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team have made their way to Austin, Texas in the United States of America for the final fly-away race before the European leg. After the highs and lows at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit, both Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales are fully motivated to battle at the front at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA).
Nine-time world champion Rossi arrives in Texas in high spirits after securing a hard-fought second place exactly 23 years after his debut in the 125cc MotoGP class. He currently holds third place in the standings and would love nothing more than to climb up the order after this weekend‘s race.
Though the Italian doesn't list COTA as one of his favourite tracks, he has scored two podiums there since its addition to the MotoGP calendar in 2013. A hard fought third place in 2015 and a very positive second place in 2017, leaving him wanting for more celebrations on the American rostrum this weekend.
Viñales counts himself lucky to have escaped injury after an unfortunate crash in Argentina. Due to the incident he has dropped to 11th place in the rankings, but he arrives in the USA determined to put the experience behind him and get back on the podium at COTA, which he has visited frequently.
In the very first year of riding at the circuit, in 2013, the Spaniard secured second place there in the Moto3 class. The year after he topped the result with a victory in the Moto2. His best result in the MotoGP class was achieved last year, when he took second place.
Constructed in 2013, The Circuit of The Americas is one of the newer on the calendar, having been added to the Grand Prix schedule that same year. Its 5513m length and mixture of fast straights and tight hairpins make the track both challenging and exciting to master for teams and riders. They need to find exactly the right balance for the bike‘s set-up to suit the 11 left and 9 right turns, and the 1,200m longest straight in order snatch a place on the podium. The especially sharp Turn 1 will be a place where the fans can expect a lot of overtaking action, both at the start and during the race.
“Our team and riders always enjoy the American GP. Not only are the people here very supportive, but COTA is also a great place to show your skills, as it‘s one of the more complicated tracks. Whilst traditionally the circuit's lay-out wasn‘t quite well-suited for our Yamaha, in recent years our riders have both scored good results. If we start the weekend well and keep working in the right direction, we will be in contention for top finishes, which is our goal here. Maverick is thankfully fine after his crash, so both riders are in great shape, and we're fully motivated to get started!”
“It was a great emotion to stand on the podium again in Argentina, after such a long wait for me, the team, and also the fans. But now we need to focus on the next Grand Prix. We know that Austin is a tricky track. Maybe it‘s the most difficult and technical track of the MotoGP season, but in the previous years it wasn‘t so bad for me. In the last few years I felt good, and though I didn‘t arrive on the podium last year, I did in 2017. So, we have to do it like we did then: work well, ride well, follow the right direction, and then we‘ll see.”
“The first thing I want to say is that I arrive in Austin in a good physical condition after the crash in Argentina, and that is the most important thing. Luckily, I didn‘t hurt myself and I can say that I‘ll start the third round of the calendar with full strength. Austin is a track that I really like and where I‘ve always felt very good on the bike. I have very good memories of the Circuit of the Americas, so I‘m going to try to enjoy the Grand Prix as much as I can. We will try to change the small things we‘ve found at the last round in order to be able reach the podium, that is our main goal. We have to give our 100% to lose no more points and move upwards in the classification."