MotoGP: Meanwhile in Texas…
This week we had the Factory team Yamaha & Honda completing private tests in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas. The Honda team out performed Yamaha boys time wise, surprise suprise, but what actually did come as an eye opener was that Marc Marquez managed to beat DP in the time charts and more than set the pace, Stephan Bradl did wonderfully and proved to be a on good form too, keeping just behind the leading Spaniard.
So this meant that Lorenzo and Rossi were resigned to 3rd and 5th position, Lorenzo being 3rd. The Yamaha boys however won’t be able to improve on this time as they won’t be partaking in the 3rd day of testing, which means they still haven’t resolved the grip issue on full lean. But Yamaha Director Massimo Meregalli said: “The test here was organized by Honda to cover three days but we knew from the beginning that two days would be enough for us. The target was to allow the rider to get used to the circuit and get as much data as possible for our Japanese engineers.” However the Honda boys will continue and complete the 3rd day of testing.
I’m really pleased they decided to hold a private test at Austin track, this is a new and very technical track, renowned for its elevation and lengthy 3.4 mile track, this will certainly be a race to watch if you’re looking for a show.
Rider & team comments:
“Step by step we improved a lot from yesterday but have some disadvantage compared to the other guys so we need to put all the sections together.” With the nine-time world champ going on to state: “Our competitors are able to accelerate faster than us from the hairpin and they have a bit more grip on the edge compared to us so these are the areas where we have to work, in the flowing parts we are not so bad.”
“I feel better today, especially in the last run before the lunch break, we changed the set-up of the bike and we improved some tenths so we are closer to the fastest riders, but not as much as we would like. We were too soft in the suspension to start with, we made it harder and in this track it works. These two days that we are here I think is enough to get a good idea of set up and riding style. The fans will like MotoGP here, it is going to be a great show. We have been trying different set ups of the bike, no new parts, just playing with the set-up, changing the suspension and forks and in the last run I improved half a second with set up changes. We still don’t have enough grip on the rear so we can’t lean over with confidence which is why we are further behind than in Sepang. I am adapting my riding style every lap a little for the track. In the main straight we are at 340kmh/h which is an amazing speed; when you have to brake and put your helmet up the wind is very strong so it’s difficult to be stable.”
“First of all I would like to remark that it has been a good idea to come here. Yesterday we were able to download a lot of data from both riders that has permitted us to find a much better set up. “Today the results we got are quite promising and we are leaving Austin with a lot of useful data. We are expecting different conditions for the race but the test has been successful. ”We are now looking forward to the Jerez test which is important as we will decide there how to start for the season. The test here was organized by Honda to cover three days but we knew from the beginning that two days would be enough for us. The target was to allow the rider to get used to the circuit and get as much data as possible for our Japanese engineers.”
“I am learning so much during these days – most of all with the electronics. With this being a new track, we have no base to go on and we have to work a little harder on finding one” “At the moment, it’s step-by-step. We are still getting to know the track. It’s quite difficult, especially the first part; and the grip of the track in the beginning was not so good and the bike was sliding a lot. But it’s improving and now we are quite good. But we need to improve a lot with the set-up and especially the electronics side, but we are working well. “One of the characteristics of the circuit is that is has quite a lot of hard braking points, and this makes it difficult to find the best compromise on the set-up. The trickiest part of the track is the first part, where you have this left-right-left-right. For a rider it’s quite difficult to find the best line and best compromise to be fast, but not take a lot of risks. And also the last part has three right corners in a row, where it’s also difficult to find the best line.”
Ducati Absent from Testing
Ducati have spoken out regarding their absence this week at the 3 day test held in Texas. The reason given were financial and technical reasons, but have also confirmed they will be at the final test in Jerez at the end of the month. The Ducati boss expressed that it was decision based on whether or not two tests in the same period of time would be beneficial, they felt as a team that Jerez would more than suffice to test the parts they need. Well that’s all the news I have for this week guys, I shall be keep you up to date on the final test at the end of the month, until then, ciao for now.
By Tracey Ann Daniels - MotoGP correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing In the pictures: Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez Pictues courtesy of Yamaha Factory Racing and Honda Repsol Team