Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after Sunday's race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas:
BRILLIANT RINS WINS HIS FIRST MOTOGP RACE IN TEXAS
Team Suzuki Press Office - April 14.
Alex Rins: 1st
Joan Mir: 17th (+ 48.063)
• Alex Rins keeps cool to execute perfect debut victory.
• Joan Mir left to recover following a jump start penalty.
• Team SUZUKI ECSTAR celebrate first win since 2016.
The Circuit of the Americas witnessed a drama-filled race 20 lap race, but Alex Rins immediately slotted into a Top 5 position and began to work his way up the field. The Spaniard felt confident with his GSX-RR, and with his usual smooth riding style he was able to remain cool while others around him fell foul of mistakes. Alex had already placed himself in a podium position, but was promoted to 2nd with 11 laps to go as Marquez crashed out.
Using excellent race craft, Rins planned a victory charge for the last few laps, before executing a great pass on Rossi to lead. Alex remained calm under pressure from the 9-time champion to earn his first ever MotoGP win.
Joan Mir, meanwhile, was feeling ready for the race after a positive morning warm-up session, but the rookie unfortunately jumped the start and was forced to complete a ride-through penalty whilst running in 13th place. Joan used the remainder of the race to learn and become further acquainted with his GSX-RR, finishing the GP in 17th place.
Today’s victory marks Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s first win since Silverstone 2016, and Alex Rins’ first win since Le Mans 2016, as well as being his debut MotoGP top step.
Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager
“It was a great race. Our bike and Alex have both grown a lot in recent months, and we were finally able to show the results of these improvements. Joan made a small mistake today but he paid a big price. We’re looking forward to the next races with him because he’s learning fast. I want to thank Alex, the whole team, and everyone who is involved with this project on site and in Japan - today is a very happy day for Suzuki.”
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“Today we are so happy - so pleased for the factory back in Japan and for all the team staff, because everybody has worked so hard. It’s wonderful for Alex, this is further proof of the way he’s matured and improved. When he began with us he suffered a lot with injuries, and since then he has worked so hard and this achievement is something he really deserves. Now I can say that our target this season was victory, and we’ve done it at the third race. Thanks to all the Suzuki staff and Alex. Joan had amazing pace today but unfortunately he jump-started and the penalty cost him a lot, we already talked a lot about this; but finally he has made another important step this weekend. I’m happy about his improvements.”
“It’s incredible! I’m very happy to win the race here! In warm-up this morning we tried a different set-up and it didn’t work in the way we expected, so we reverted to the usual settings for the race and we won, it’s super! I’m lost for words! I managed the pressure well, even though I suffered a bit in the last laps. When I crossed the line all the feelings hit me at once. I just want to say a big thank you to all my team, everyone in Japan, and all the people around me!”
“I’m quite disappointed about the jump start, the footage shows that I moved a fraction before the lights, but I didn’t gain anything from it. Nevertheless the penalty is a ride-through. Without this I could have had a strong result so it’s a real shame, but anyway, I’m happy with my pace and my feeling with the bike - both were good this weekend. I want to congratulate Alex because he did an amazing job! All the team will continue working to be even more competitive.”
Rossi Rides to Stunning Second in Close COTA Contest
A perfectly sunny race day at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) delivered nothing short of a sensational Grand Prix of The Americas. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi put his heart and soul into today‘s race and only just missed out on the victory, taking 2nd position. Maverick Viñales had an equally competitive race pace, but a ride through penalty after a jump start cost him valuable time and places. Still the Spaniard kept going, cutting through the rider pack all the way back up to 11th place.
Rossi rushed off the line, dashing towards the tight left first corner, just like he planned. He knew that if he wanted to challenge for the win today, he would have to push 100% right from the very start. He was doing a superb job to block Cal Crutchlow, whilst chasing Marc Márquez.
With 15 laps to go, The Doctor got a bit of breathing space as Crutchlow crashed out. At the time Márquez was almost 3s ahead of him, but the Italian never gave up. He searched for the perfect balance between keeping the pressure on and managing his tyres, and it paid off. Márquez crashed out with 12 laps to go, giving Yamaha the lead in the race.
The events also spurred on the chasing Álex Rins, but Rossi managed the gap until, with five laps to go, the battle for the victory was on. Rins came through a lap later. The veteran tried to retaliate, using a block pass, but it was unsuccessful and resulted in 0.5s gap. The number 46 rider was making a great attempt to undo the damage, inching closer, but he ran wide with two laps to go, meaning he had to do the work all over again. He wasn‘t giving up, though. In the last lap Rossi managed to make up a lot of time and was looking threatening behind Rins in the final sector, but ultimately he came just 0.462s short as they crossed the finish line.
Viñales held firm at the start of Round 3, defending his P6 going into turn 1. He battled with Andrea Dovizioso and crossed the line for the first time in seventh place. With 17 laps to go, Viñales had to let Franco Morbidelli past, and more bad news was on the horizon as he was given a ride through penalty for a jump start.
A moment of confusion lost him 4s and five places, as he unnecessarily took the long-lap penalty lane. He completed the ride through penalty in pit lane on the next lap, which moved him even further back, to 19th place.
Though down the order, the Spaniard wasn‘t out for the count. He soon flashed a red sector and started to climb up the ranking again. Whilst various riders retired from the race, he passed Hafizh Syahrin and found himself in P16, nearly back into the points and lapping more than 1s quicker than a group of nine riders ahead of him. He soon gained two more places, closed an almost 4s gap, took another two positions, closed a 5s gap, and overtook yet another rider to salvage an 11th place finish, 34.077s from first.
Today's results see Rossi climb to 2nd position in the championship standings with a 3-point gap to first. Viñales is now in 12th place, with a 40-point margin to the top. Yamaha is joint second in the constructor standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is also second in the team classifications.
The team will be back in action in three weeks' time, when the MotoGP paddock embarks upon the European leg of the championship, starting with the Spanish GP, held at the Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto.
Valentino Rossi, 2nd
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
"I'm very sorry for missing out on the victory, because when I saw Márquez crash I said to myself 'Maybe I can do it', but after that Rins arrived. Sincerely, I pushed to the maximum, the race was very fast, I did one good lap after another, but in the end he was better than I was. I was riding very well, and I wasn't able to overtake him. It's a shame because I haven't won for a long time, but we are strong, and we will try again next time. On a positive note, I tried everything today, I rode a very good race and stayed in front for a long time. Riding on the limit, unfortunately I made some mistakes. Maybe if had done everything perfectly I could have tried to attack on the last lap again. So, mixed feelings: on the one side, I'm sorry about the victory, and on the other side it's a great result after a great weekend. I was strong and I rode a very good last lap, but I didn't want to do anything too crazy because 20 points are very important for the championship, which is still very open. It looks like we are strong this year and that the bike has improved, and these are the most important things, because maybe we can fight at the front many times this season."
Maverick Viñales, 11th
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
"I misunderstood the penalty a little, but anyway, besides the mistake, it was a good race weekend for us here. We showed a really good race pace and after the ride through I could easily ride in the 2'04s. This is just the way it is. We will have to try again in Jerez and be stronger there. I made a mistake at the start. I was starting really well all weekend, this afternoon I tried to do the same, but on the grid the bike got a bit hotter and the clutch engaged and the bike started running. It's a shame, because I felt really good during the race. I already knew there was a chance that I would get a penalty, and that's just the way it is. At first, I thought I had to do a long lap, but then I saw 'ride through' and thought 'OK, I have to do this'. The good thing was that the bike was working really well. We had a good set-up for the race. We need to keep working and find the best system for the start. The start was actually good, as in that I didn't lose any positions, and I tried to overtake some riders. Let's see what happens at the next races."
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Today was a very mixed experience for the team, results-wise. Valentino really did all he could to get the victory. It's a shame - also for the team, but especially for him - that he just missed out. It was so close! Still, taking a second consecutive second place is very good, so we feel encouraged to keep up the good work. As so often in MotoGP, a small mistake can have a snowball effect and create a lot more trouble. After his jump start, Maverick lost a lot of time because of the ride through and the unnecessary long-lap lane. We can tell from his pace at the end of the race that he could have been a strong contender today. So, in the end there are some learning points after this experience, but I think one major positive that we can take away from this weekend is the overall bike performance. We've made another step and are looking forward to confirm the improvements at the next round in Jerez."
GP of the Americas: Andrea Dovizioso 4th and back into the championship lead, sixth place for Danilo Petrucci. Ducati 1st in the Constructors standings
Andrea Dovizioso seized 4th place in the GP of the Americas at Austin (U.S.A.), reclaiming the championship lead after three rounds with 54 points in the standings. After qualifying in fifth row in 13th position, the Mission Winnow Ducati rider got off to a strong start and immediately recovered several positions. With a strong and consistent pace, the Italian rider then progressively cut the gap from Jack Miller, finishing the race just nine tenths of a second behind the Australian, third on the finish line with the Desmosedici GP 19 of the Pramac Racing Team.
Danilo Petrucci also enjoyed a solid comeback despite a difficult start from P8 and was able to progressively climb his way back through the field to claim sixth position half-way through the race. The Italian rider then increased the gap from the riders behind him and defended the position until the checkered flag. With 30 points, Petrucci is still fifth in the Riders standings.
After three rounds, Ducati leads the Constructors standings with 57 points while the Mission Winnow Ducati team leads the Team standings with 84 points.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 4th
"I'm happy with this result, especially considering that I was 13th on the grid, even though if I had one half lap more to ride I would have probably finished on the podium. It's been a very tough race. Early on, I was struggling with the front and I didn't have the pace to stay with the leading group, but I managed to stay calm and collected. Lap after lap, I regained confidence and my rhythm in the final stages was very competitive, so much that I almost managed to catch Miller. We've also been lucky because there were some crashes, but those things happen when you ride on the limit. We're back on top of the Riders and Constructors standings, and my feeling with the bike has improved compared with last year, but it's not enough because there are many competitive rivals so we need to keep improving."
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 6th
"Finishing sixth, given all the issues we encountered during practice, can be considered a good result for us here in Texas. Clearly I want to do better, but we still took some important points, keeping fifth place in the standings. It's been a long, grueling race. At one point I was recovering ground on Dovizioso and Morbidelli and I even thought I could catch them, but the front locked a couple of times and I preferred not to take too many risks. At any rate, I'm happy. My team really did a fantastic job. This wasn't a friendly track for us, but I think we managed to obtain the best possible result today. Now we'll head to more favorable circuits and I can't wait to be back on track at Jerez and start the European leg of the season."
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) for the fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship, scheduled for May 3-5.
Strong 8th position for Espargaro at Red Bull Americas Grand Prix
MotoGP 2019 Round 3 of 19, Circuit of The Americas (USA) - RACE
After a landmark qualification run on Saturday and a best ever slot of 5th on the grid, Pol Espargaro scored his second top ten finish of the 2019 MotoGP season by crossing the line in 8th position at the Circuit of The Americas. The third round of the FIM World Championship season also saw all four KTM RC16s classify among the group of 18 race finishers.
After the storms and high winds of qualification on Saturday the Circuit of The Americas offered crystal clear blue skies and decent 20-degree temperatures for the 20 lap Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas affair and for what was the third round of nineteen on the 2019 calendar.
Pol Espargaro continued his positive trajectory this season so far by setting off from the second row of the grid and battling for a position in the top ten. The Spaniard was able to keep consistent across a bumpy and physically demanding surface and improved his race time from 2018 by sixteen seconds to capture 8th place. #44 was the first of the Red Bull KTM riders home and has now registered results of 12th, 10th and 8th in Qatar, Argentina and the USA.
Teammate Johann Zarco used the long and challenging COTA layout to gather more feeling and information on the KTM RC16 and ahead of possible upgrades to his technical package for the fourth Grand Prix of 2019 in three weeks time. The Frenchman was 13th for his highest ranking yet. Chasing the rear slick of the #5 machine was Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira who recovered from a bad start to again post points in what was just his third outing. Hafizh Syahrin struggled to 18th after a misjudgement with tyre selection.
Espargaro is 9th in the championship table and his efforts have helped KTM to rise to 5th in the Constructors standings.
Pol Espargaro: “My crew and all the team worked really hard this weekend in a very tough place for us. We took an unexpected result here in Texas and we were sixteen seconds faster than we were last year. This is a realistic position: around the top ten. We’ll go now to Jerez and a place we have been fast in the past maybe with some small improvements on the bike. I’m excited about what the guys are trying in the factory. I’m super-proud when I look at the results from last year or two years ago and what we are able to do now and what we are achieving. It also feels like the people in the paddock are also seeing our work. I have everything I need to keep pushing.”
Johann Zarco: “I managed my energy much better. It doesn't mean that I could go faster. I could manage the gap with the guys behind me and tried to push also at the end to save the 13th position. Some guys in front had problems and crashes but this is part of racing so I just tried to finish and to take what I could. I will try to be as natural as possible in Jerez and take as much information as I can. If small things give me that good way to improve feeling then I will be able to use my quality and I’ll be the first one happy.”
Miguel Oliveira: “For sure it was a difficult race. I was not expecting to start this bad but then we picked up the pace. We need to be happy about this result because in the end we finished where we wanted, which is inside the points. It is definitely a very difficult track to ride and to be in the points here is very good. Now we go to Jerez. The bike looks like it’s performing well there so we can’t wait. We’ll take many positives from this race because we learned and understood the bike more. My position needs to be a bit different, so we are working in this direction to make me feel more comfortable.”
Hafizh Syahrin: “I’m honestly a bit disappointed because we tried a different choice of tyre and it seems it was not the right selection. Right from the beginning of the race I felt a huge drop; I couldn’t stop the bike well enough so I was just fighting with it. It was difficult to keep the pace and this took all my energy. I hope we can come back in Jerez, the first race on European ground.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “From Pol’s side the weekend was great for us. Austin is a demanding track for all bikes and riders so he performed very well in qualifying and took his rhythm in the race and finished a clear 8th. We can only be happy about that. With Johann we were struggling more and he still doesn't feel confident on the bike so we will work hard on that. We had three bikes in the points with Miguel scoring also. For us the top ten is always an achievement, so now we’ll look forward to getting to Europe and making another step in positions. I think it is great for the company to see that all the pushing and hard work in the winter can translate to results and this is very good. We’ll continue and by the end of the year we’ll see where we are with our package and riders.”
ANDREA IANNONE FINISHES IN THE POINTS IN THE GP OF THE AMERICAS
A CRASH IN THE EARLY STAGES PUTS ALEIX ESPARGARÓ OUT OF THE RACE
NOW EVERYONE WILL BE HARD AT WORK FOR A DAY OF TESTING IN AUSTIN WHILE THE TEST TEAM IS BUSY IN JEREZ
Andrea Iannone brought home points in the GP of the Americas, finishing twelfth. After starting from the seventeenth spot on the grid, Andrea moved up through the ranks, thanks in part to a couple of crashes, reaching the top ten. In that stage, around the mid-race point, it seemed that Iannone would be able to move up even farther, but tyre wear in the final seven laps kept him from defending the result he had achieved. Andrea continued pushing hard, finishing twelfth to bring home championship points.
Aleix, with a harmless crash on the second lap, compromised his chances for a good placement which, given his pace and the overall standings, would certainly have been within his potential.
Austin confirms its status as a difficult track for the Italian team which, precisely for this reason, will stay here tomorrow for a day of testing, whereas on Wednesday and Thursday, the test team with Bradley Smith will be busy on the Jerez track. The growth of the RS-GP is the primary objective and both the team and the factory in Noale are working hard to achieve this goal.
"Given the way the race went today, it would have been a good chance to pick up some important points, but unfortunately, already in warm-up, the bike was not as consistent as it had been in the other sessions. I didn't feel good with the traction control already in the morning and in the race it was the same. I found myself in a high side when I opened up the throttle and we need to understand why. We need to improve the bike, so the tests tomorrow are important. We especially need to improve grip. Right now this is the primary goal and I hope we are able to take some steps forward."
"The final position isn't bad, but more importantly, we added another notch to our belt in terms of growth, accumulating experience. My only disappointment is that I wasn’t able to maintain the pace in the last seven laps. The bike got twitchier and more difficult to ride. Without this drop in performance, we would have been able to make a play for the top ten and, what’s more, we would have reduced the distance behind the leaders. Right now, the most important thing is not the result. More than anything, we need to improve the gap behind the leaders."
Repsol Honda Team leave difficult Austin weekend ready for European return
Both Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo leave the Americas GP pointless after a double DNF while fighting at the front.
A chilly, but dry, morning Warm Up session soon gave way to 39ºC track temperature as the MotoGP World Championship lined up for the 20-lap race. Leaving his braking late, pole-setter Marc Marquez led into and through Turn 1, steadily building his lead each lap. An error into Turn 12 on Lap 9 caused Marquez to lose the front of his RC213V, unable to restart his machine he was forced to retire. Marquez was unharmed in the fall.
Starting 11th, Jorge Lorenzo did his best to maintain his position in the opening laps. Lap 5 saw Lorenzo find his rhythm and commence his march forward, quickly making up several positions. Looking comfortable on his RC213V in tenth, Lorenzo was closing in on Bagnaia in ninth when he encountered a problem and was forced to retire. The issue was unrelated to the one suffered by Lorenzo on Saturday and HRC are investigating the issue.
The Gran Premio Red Bull de España at the iconic Jerez circuit, May 3 – 5, offers the Repsol Honda Team a chance to return to fighting at the front. Marquez and Lorenzo have taken 14 premier class podiums, including five wins, between them on their previous visits to the Spanish track.
“We have had six amazing years here but today I made a big mistake. When I arrived in the garage I said sorry to the team and now I’d like to say sorry to the fans because it was my mistake. It’s different to make a mistake fighting for fifth and fighting for the win, the level is there. We’re only nine points off the lead. It’s true, we made a mistake but we are human and this can happen. We need to learn from it and understand and come back stronger in Jerez.”
“It has been a difficult weekend with the weather and everything. I didn’t get the best start but I was able to recover and then I started to make up some positions. Sadly we had an issue with the bike and I was forced to retire from the race. It was a different issue to yesterday. The positive is that in the race I was feeling quite good at a circuit where normally I have difficulty. Now we look to Jerez, a circuit I like and where we will hopefully be able to be stronger.”
#AmericasGP Race. Fantastic podium for Jack: P3 after a stunning race. Pecco clinched his first TOP 10 in MotoGP
A weekend that can't be forgotten. Jack Miller conquered a sensational podium finishing in third place after having been fighting for a long time for second position and Pecco Bagnaia was the protagonist of a very consistent race clinching ninth place and the first Top 10 in his MotoGP career.
Pramac Racing celebrates a spectacular Grand Prix of the Americas with the team protagonist on and off the circuit thanks to Automobili Lamborghini - title sponsor of the American round - which allowed riders and staff to drive fantastic Lamborghini Huracan and Urus.
With this result, Jack climbs to sixth place in the World Championship (29 points) while Bagnaia takes 7 points (9 in total, 14th place) that allow him to stay close to Quartararo (-8) for the "Rookies Championship".
Despite the unfortunate double 0 in Qatar, Pramac Racing (38 points) is now only 3 points behind Lcr Honda, the first Independent Team in the MotoGP standings.
P9 – Pecco Bagnaia
“We did a great job throughout the weekend on a track that is not exactly my favorite and that's why I'm very happy. We are constantly making progress and the direction is the right one. The important thing right now is to have some good races. We have won the first Top 10 and this gives us great confidence".
P3 – Jack Miller
"I am very happy with this result. The feeling with the bike was very good all weekend. I got off to a good start and this allowed me to be in the front group right away. I thank the team because they have done a great job not only this weekend but since the beginning of the season”.
Magnificent Top 5 finish for Morbidelli and PETRONAS Yamaha SRT
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT enjoyed a spectacular race at the Circuit of The Americas on Sunday, with both riders placing inside the top seven. Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo both claimed their best results in MotoGP so far, with the Italian in fifth and the Frenchman in seventh.
In conditions of complete contrast to those experienced yesterday, with the sun shining at Austin, Morbidelli rode solidly from start to finish. The Italian who started from tenth on the grid, immediately gained two places off the start line and was fifth by lap six - the position that he continued to hold until the chequered flag. It is the best result of his career in the premier class so far.
Quartararo was the top rookie at the GP of The Americas, as he had been at the previous round in Argentina. The young Frenchman, who turns twenty next Saturday, didn’t get off the line well, losing three places on the opening four laps, but impressively recovered to reach seventh by the end of the race.
After this superb result for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT in the USA, Fabio Quartararo returns to Europe 10th in the overall standings with 17 points and Franco Morbidelli in 11th, with 16 points.
The MotoGP World Championship will now travel to Europe for round four, which will take place on the 5th of May at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, in Spain.
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Team
"It's been a great race here in Austin and I'm very happy. Yesterday's qualifying was unfortunate for us, but I knew that the potential was there. I was able to gain positions during the race and get my first Top 5 finish in the premier class. Unfortunately, I had to slow down towards the end of the race, but I feel that we are working very well, we are improving and we are getting closer to the top positions. Thanks to the team and to everyone who has been working with me. I feel great and I can't wait to get to Jerez."
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Team
"It was a very positive race. I managed to make a good start and put in some good opening laps, staying within the Top ten. At first, Pol Espargaro, Petrucci and I got in each other's way and we lost the group ahead of us that contained Dovizioso and Morbidelli. However, the pace was very good and although on the last five laps I had to slow down, I'm very happy with the result. We've improved on the result from Argentina and I was the best rookie again. In addition, today I learned a lot from riding behind Petrucci. Whenever I'm on track with the best riders in the world, I'm learning. That's also very positive. I'm looking forward to more!"
PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team Manager
"I'm very happy with the work that we did here at COTA, and with the fifth and seventh place finishes. Also we finally completed the race with both riders in the points, after not being able to do that in Qatar or in Argentina; It's a very good feeling. If we look at the results, the Top six is our goal for Franco [Morbidelli] and this is going to be a boost for his motivation. With Fabio [Quartararo], our goal is the rookie of the year award, and now he is leading the standings for that, so this is a very good moment for us. Hopefully we can continue to look even higher up the order and continue on this positive path at Jerez."
TAKA CLAIMS ANOTHER TOP 10 IN TEXAS
PRESS RELEASE: 14 April 2019 | Austin Grand Prix
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami claimed his third straight top-10 finish of the 2019 season at the Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday. After taking ninth in Qatar and seventh in Argentina, the Japanese star produced another gritty rider in Austin to eventually come home in tenth place at the Circuit of the Americas.
After struggling during qualifying, Nakagami started from 15th position on the grid and endured a difficult start as he was squeezed from his line at the first corner. But the 27-year-old kept his discipline and worked his way back through the field to ensure a good points return from a challenging weekend.
Takaaki Nakagami – 10th
“The start wasn’t too bad, after that I didn’t have the best line into turn one as I followed Jorge (Lorenzo), but he suddenly changed his line and I lost my position. So after that it wasn’t the best first lap and I really struggled to find grip and dropped another position. It took me a little bit of time to find the pace and overtake (Johann) Zarco and then our pace was not fantastic, but also not too bad. I just tried to be consistent and keep the pace and in front of us there was some trouble and some riders crashed and I saw that my position was improving. In the end I could have had P8 as Pol (Espargaro) and (Francisco) Bagnaia were only a second ahead, I needed one more lap but it wasn’t possible. Overall, it was a tough weekend for us but we finished in the top 10 which is not too bad. Now we are looking forward to Jerez where we did a really fantastic job in the winter test and I can’t wait to race there.”
Oliveira brings home points from tough Texas - Syahrin gathers more experience
Miguel Oliveira did a brave third MotoGP race of his career today to end up inside the points, while Hafizh Syahrin managed to finish demanding 20 laps, although the Circuit of the Americas didn’t occur as an easy playground for the Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo from the very beginning.
Following a rather difficult start, finding himself only in P20 after the first lap, Oliveira found a solid rhythm in order to make up several positions. The Portuguese Youngster grit his teeth to fight through to 14th at the chequered flag. Meanwhile, Malaysian star Syahrin struggled to get into grips with one of the most challenging tracks in the MotoGP calendar, but did well to complete the Grand Prix in P18.
“For sure it was a difficult race, a very disappointing start of the race. I was not expecting to start this bad, but then we picked up the pace, riding good, I mean inside of what we predicted. We need to be happy about this result, because at the end, we finished where we wanted, which is inside the points. It is definitely a very difficult track to ride and to be in the points here, is very good. Now we go to Jerez, a track, we like a lot. The bike looks like it’s performing well there, so we can’t wait. We take many positives from this race, we learned and understood the bike more. My position on the bike needs to be a bit different, so we are working in this direction to make me feel more comfortable, so it’s definitely the time to look at the good things, we achieved this weekend.”
“I’m honestly a bit disappointed, because we tried a different choice of tyre, but it seems it was not the right selection. Right from the beginning of the race, I felt a huge drop, I couldn’t stop the bike well enough, so I was just fighting with it. It was difficult to keep the pace and this took all my energy. I don’t know why this happened, but I hope we can come back in Jerez, the first race on European ground. I wish we find something there in order to have a good pace and close the gap to the front.”
“Overall it has been a tough weekend and we were not on the same level like in Argentina. We knew coming here wouldn’t be easy, but I have to say that Miguel - as usual - put his head down, kept calm and worked really well. He qualified ok and although his start was very poor, he recovered quite a few positions and he has been finding himself right behind Johann (Zarco) and they did the race at the same pace, following each other and it was quite interesting for Miguel to see how Johann was working, so I think he learned a few things, plus got another two points. Clearly, it was an interesting weekend, but the gap at the end, was quite big. Hafizh was a big disappointment, as we know his potential. Sometimes he goes two seconds quicker than the previous lap or the previous practice, so he is very up and down and we don’t understand how you can have such a big difference of lap time. Still we were quite confident he could have a strong race but although the start was a lot better than Miguel’s he just faded lap after lap. I hate to be last, but he was last and this is not a good position. The gap was huge, at the end of the race, we could see that he had nobody in front of him and the motivation was going down. There is still some work to do for him to understand better how to ride the bike and to be more consistent because more than the speed he needs consistency. It’s still early days in the season, only round three, but we really need to see Hafizh showing some progress and improvement, plus reducing the gap to his teammate. Let’s take the positives; we have done three races, we are clearly closing the gap to the guys in front, we are in a great group, which is very competitive and very exciting. Now we go back to Europe to a track we know. We will certainly get some upgrades from KTM and have a test after the Grand Prix on Monday, which all is very promising. We need to work, we need improvements and this is what’s going to happen in Jerez. Thanks to everyone in the team, in KTM MotoGP department to support us the way they do and I would like to congratulate Pol (Espargaro) for his incredible Qualifying and his really, really strong race, because you can’t complain about the package when you see his results. This is a good sign and this is the target we have to have in mind.”
TEAM RACE WITH AWARD FOR TITO
The race weekend in Austin was affected on Saturday due to the heavy rain that fell on the Texas track that caused the free practice to be canceled and the qualifying delayed. With a less session of test for all the riders, Sunday dawned a splendid day of races in C.O.T.A. that Tito took advantage of already from the Warm up to put his bike in perfect conditions for the race, after a Saturday in which the rider of the Reale Avintia couldn't find a good set-up that left him in the twentieth second position of Starting Grid. But Tito is a tireless fighter and managed to cross the finish line in the tenth fifth position achieving his first point of the season.
Karel Abraham was just behind his teammate, he was fighting with Tito all the race. The goals are getting closer and again progressing and improving the previous race.
“ The first points of the year, we have been able to see many things, especially at the end of the race, now we have to wait for Jerez, we have two weeks to strengthen the leg and there we will do even better”
“ I'm a little disappointed. The weekend was pretty good, we were quite strong during the race being very consistent all the laps and at the end we were even faster, practically the whole race I did with Tito, but of course I'm disappointed because I made my best race lap in the last lap but I couldn't overtake Tito who gets the first point for the team. The next race I will try to do it even better and get points. I'm really disappointed with myself because I tried hard and I couldn't get it, but I'm sure that in the next race we'll get it”
CRASH COSTS CRUTCHLOW PODIUM CHANCE IN TEXAS
PRESS RELEASE: 14 April 2019 | Austin Grand Prix
Cal Crutchlow ensured another frustrating Sunday afternoon as he suffered an early fall at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas. The LCR Honda CASTROL rider looked poised for an assault on the podium places in Austin having started in third position on the grid after demonstrating impressive during qualifying.
The Briton had made a strong start to the race and was ahead in a front three along with pole-sitter Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi in the early stages. However, Crutchlow lost the front end of his RC213V on lap six when stalking Rossi and slid out to bring his race to a premature and disappointing end.
Cal Crutchlow – DNF
“Obviously I’m very disappointed with today’s result here at the Circuit of the Americas. It seemed that I got a good start and managed to be on the pace with the front guys, Marc had a little bit of a lead but I felt comfortable in the position I was in. Unfortunately I started to feel some issues with the turning of the bike, the front tyre was not giving me a great feeling and when I crashed I think I made a mistake because the engine was snapping on the braking. I locked the front in turn 11 going on to the back straight and it was the end of my race. It’s my first mistake of the year and I’m disappointed to make it here because we could have capitalised on some great points (in the championship), but we have to look forward to Jerez now which is another great circuit and we hope to do a better job there. I want to thank my team who produced a great bike all weekend and we’ll look to try and improve it in Jerez in two weeks’ time.”
MICHELIN MASTERS THE BUMPS OF COTA AS RINS REIGNS IN AUSTIN
Michelin witnessed its third different race winner of 2019 from the third different manufacturer as Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) raced to his maiden MotoGP™ victory during today’s Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas at the Circuit of The Americas in Texas.
The Austin weekend had produced a mix of weather, with warm sunshine of Friday – which led to some fast lap-times – to a huge thunderstorm and torrential downpour on Saturday morning causing the cancellation of FP3, through to cooler and windier conditions on raceday. This mix did give the opportunity for all Michelin tyres to be tested, with a small window on a drying track at the start of FP4 for the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres to be given a debut at CoTA, unfortunately it was neither wet enough, or of a long enough duration to gather much valuable data as to how the rain tyres perform around the 5,513m American circuit. All this, added to the uneven and bumpy surface, made this a challenging weekend for Michelin, which was overcome in a rewarding and satisfying style.
With the cooler temperatures and the lack of track time due to the weather on Saturday, tyre choice was a major factor before today’s 20-lap race, with many teams and riders leaving the decision of which MICHELIN Power Slick tyres to fit to their respective machines right up until the last minute. These late decisions saw four of the six available compounds used today, with riders again choosing different configurations to give them the best performance from their machines.
As the race started, pole-setter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was aiming for his seventh successive victory in Austin and looked on course for that, before a mistake from the reigning World Champion saw him crash out unharmed on lap-nine, leaving Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) to inherit the lead. The nine-time champion held that position for the next eight-laps, before Rins used the grip of his Michelin tyres to the full and overtook Rossi on the inside of a corner. The Yamaha man tried to fight back, but Rins held on to claim his first MotoGP victory and Suzuki’s first premier class win since 2016. Joining Rins and Rossi in the top-three was Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), a result which saw the Ducati racer also claim the title of First Independent Rider and complete a podium of three different manufacturers. The winning time from Rins of 41’45.499 also secured a new race duration record, beating the previous one by almost seven seconds.
Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) came home fourth, a result which took him to the top of the championship standings, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) took fifth, with Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) in sixth. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was the top rookie with his seventh place finish, Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) claimed eighth, with Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) ninth. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) finished tenth, a result that meant five different manufacturers were in the top-10.
Michelin now travels back home to France ahead of MotoGP moving to Europe for an 11-race summer schedule on that continent, beginning with the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on Sunday 5th May, where Michelin and the riders will face another fresh challenge on a circuit that has been predominantly resurfaced since last season’s race.
Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR:
“I’m very happy to have won here in Austin, this is now victories here in Moto3™, Moto2™ and MotoGP. It was an unbelievable race; I made no mistakes and the tyres performed well for me all race. I suffered a bit with the bumps, but I managed well and am happy with the victory. It was an important day for me and Suzuki.”
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“This has been an important weekend for Michelin. On Friday the tyres produced some very fast times, but losing most of Saturday due to the weather was unfortunate, although we were able to get a small bit of data about the wet tyres for the first time here in Austin. Today’s race saw four of the six compounds used, three different manufacturers on the podium and a new race record by a considerable margin. We are very pleased with the performance this weekend as this is a very difficult track, we don’t have the chance to test here and it is very bumpy, making it demanding for all. The tyres performed well in all the conditions and before the race the choice was still for all six options, as they were all usable. We will now head back home after three tough, but rewarding races and we look forward to getting to grips with some European tracks over the coming weeks.”