The Doctor and Black Mamba impressed at Austin
Austin’s Circuit of the Americas (COTA) will host its first MotoGP race next month, but the Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were very much taken aback by the venue, as they descended with their M-1s on the track earlier this week.
The track, the third-longest on the calendar after Great Britain’s Silverstone and Malaysia’s Sepang, was completed only last year, wowing motorsport fans the world over with its sweeping curves and dramatic elevation changes.
"At first it was difficult to understand the lines, but I have improved by three seconds since my first lap today; that means it's a hard track to learn and a difficult track to go to the maximum on. I think it helps more than at some other places to have this extra time…three or four practices before the race will not be enough to understand it, so some of the riders who didn’t come here will have a little disadvantage," the Yamaha rider held.
With Lorenzo adding that crosswinds caused several issues, he also pointed out that with only five riders in action this week it is taking longer than usual to clean the racing line. "It’s difficult to understand if it’s very grippy or not," he added. "It’s hard to know if it will be much better on the race weekend, or just a little bit."
Rossi was equally impressed by both the COTA facility and its surroundings. "I really like the track - my first impression is that it is beautiful," the Doctor said. "It’s very flowing with a lot of fast corners and direction changes – it’s fun on the bike! There are three hairpins that are very tight; that’s better for Formula 1 overtaking, but for us they are a bit slow. In general the track is good.”