The second race of the year is almost upon us as MotoGP debuts at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas this weekend. What to expect looked pretty certain after Honda’s dominance at the COTA test, (read more here) with Marc Marquez particularly impressive, but Yamaha proved to be a force to be reckoned with after Jorge Lorenzo cleared away for the win in Losail under the floodlights in Qatar, with second place on the podium going to a resurgent, battling Valentino Rossi after an enjoyable tussle with rookie Marquez.
So, from a fans perspective hopefully the race will be less easy to call than it would initially appear, but what else does the trip to Texas hold?
No American has won on home soil since Nicky Hayden won at his ‘local’ track, Laguna Seca, seven years ago as a Honda Rider.
As the Ducati looked to still be the machine that is full of promise but low on delivery as the Kentucky Kid and his Italian team-mate Andrea Dovizioso qualified well only to fade in the race, it appears that this statistic will stand a while longer.
Fellow Americans and Texas locals Ben Spies (Pramac Ducati) and Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing) will be hoping to push their bikes to the limit for the best results they can muster at home.
Edwards did a ride around the track and to get a great feel of the circuit layout you can check out the video here.
Spies is still troubled by a shoulder injury.
Adding more Americans to the grid are the wild-card teams of GP Tech and Attack Performance, who will be present at all three U.S. GP’s. Both teams have tested at the circuit in advance and field Blake Young and Michael Barnes respectively.
In the lower classes the battle should be intense as the riders learn the track, with a surprise early return for Tom Luthi in Moto2. The Swiss rider was not expected to return until Jerez at the earliest and had to watch his substitute Sergio Gadea wreck his Interwetten bike in the season opener in Qatar.
Away from the racing, if you are in the USA and fancy a day out COTA have announced day tickets for General admission on Sunday will be just $59 on the gate and weekenders will be treated to entertainment from bands including The Bright Light Social Hour, Black Pistol Fire, my Jerusalem and Brass Knuckles.
MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas schedule highlights (UK Time. Local U.S time = GMT -5):
MotoGP FP3: 15:55 – 16:40
Moto3 QP: 18:35 – 19:15
MotoGP FP4: 19:30 – 20:00
MotoGP Q1: 20:10 – 20:25
MotoGP Q2: 20:35 – 20:50
Moto2 QP: 21:05- 21:50
Moto3 race: 17:00
Moto2 race: 18:20
MotoGP race: 20:00