The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team have travelled to Austin, Texas in the United States of America for this weekend’s Grand Prix of The Americas. After a chaotic race day at the Termas de Río Honda Circuit both Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are keen to get straight back in the hot seat of their YZR-M1s to score some solid points.
Viñales arrives in the USA holding fourth place in the championship standings and beaming with his usual fiery determination. The Spanish rider counts the Circuit of The Americas as one of his favourite tracks and is eager to put the learnings from his Argentina experience to good use here.
When COTA was added to the MotoGP calendar in 2013, the then 18-year-old secured a strong second place in the Moto3 class. He followed this up with his first Moto2 race win in 2014. His best MotoGP finish at the American track was a fourth place, just off the podium, in 2016. He was unable to finish his first race on a Yamaha on American soil last year, but the solid pace he showed throughout the weekend suggests that he will be a strong contender also this time round.
Rossi currently sits in eighth place in the championship standings after scoring no points at the last Grand Prix. However, the nine-time World Champion is not a rider that should ever be ruled out. He and his team will pull together and give their 100% to make a strong comeback and turn their fortunes around.
The Italian acknowledged in the past that the COTA track has an interesting lay-out that’s not easy to master, but that makes riding there all the more fun for the Doctor. Through recent years he improved his performance at COTA, with a hard fought third place in 2015 and a second place in last year’s race as his best results so far.
The Circuit of The Americas was constructed in 2012 and was added as a permanent fixture on the MotoGP calendar the following year. The 5.5km-long track is run counter-clockwise, has 20 corners in total (11 left turns and 9 right turns), a longest straight of 1.2km and has a 41m-elevation change. Its tight hairpins, inclines, declines and fast straight make finding a well-balanced setting vital, but the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team is up for the challenge, in order to snatch places on the podium in front of the 120,000-capacity crowd.
Championship: 4th – Points: 21
“We arrive in Austin in a position from which we can work on improving the bike. It’s the third race and we can’t afford mistakes. We need to fight for the victory with all our strength. I don’t have good memories of last year at COTA, because unfortunately I crashed at the beginning of the race, so this year I’m set on being able to stay ahead throughout the race, and above all being able to be on the podium. I really like COTA because the lay-out is amazing, so I will try to give my 100% and try to enjoy the GP as much as I can.
Championship: 8th – Points: 16
“Getting back on track after a difficult race, like the one in Argentina, is always important. We have to work to improve our M1 and every session will be crucial. Austin is a very difficult track for me and for the M1, but also for this reason I need to work at the best level with my team, so we can find a good set-up from the first day of free practice. I’m confident. I’m always happy to be in Texas. I like the atmosphere and the track. It hasn’t been a good start to the season, but in Austin I hope to do a good race. We will do our best.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“As a team, we are eager to move on from a compromised and disappointing end to the race weekend in Argentina. The COTA track is a great place to do so. Our team really enjoys spending time in Austin, because the atmosphere is always fantastic. The circuit’s lay-out isn’t the best match for Yamaha, but last year Valentino underlined once more that good results and podium finishes are definitely within our reach here. Maverick is also a fan of the track and he too is no stranger to the COTA rostrum – he has stood on it twice already in the lower classes. Our riders are both in great shape, so we’re fully motivated to get started!