MotoGP: Dorna Previews Red Bull Grand Prix Of The Americas At COTA

MotoGP: Dorna Previews Red Bull Grand Prix Of The Americas At COTA

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

3, 2, 1… RODEO! MotoGP™ saddles up to take on Texas

The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas is ready to rock & roll in Austin

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Argentina was another showdown overflowing with headlines and this time, the field have had a weekend off to get suited, booted, and ready to go. Now we saddle up for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas as the paddock heads for Austin, TX, with both a new Championship leader and MotoGP™ winner in the field: Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team). Another Tissot Sprint and another surefire show await us at the horsepower rodeo!


What to say about Marco Bezzecchi? The number 72 was on another level on Sunday last time out, and that’s earned him both the points lead and his maiden win. The question now is, can he follow it up? With his track record it seems likely the answer is yes, but when and where remains to be seen as yet. Teammate Luca Marini, meanwhile, also arrives from a first after taking a podium in the Tissot Sprint, and he’ll be more motivated than ever looking over to the other side of the garage…


It started perfectly for Francesco Bagnaia in Portugal, but it continued with a couple of bumps in the road in Argentina. On Saturday it was a safe sixth in the Sprint, and then on Sunday it looked like a well-controlled podium… until it slid away. Resetting now will tell us much about what the reigning Champion has in the locker for 2022. For last year’s COTA winner Enea Bastianini, meanwhile, it’s sadly another event on the sidelines as he waits for his shoulder to heal, with test rider Michele Pirro stepping in.


It was a somewhat anonymous Sprint for both Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin in Argentina, but Zarco certainly hit back on Sunday with that late race charge for the podium. He’ll want more as his search for that maiden win continues, and Martin will want to take a big step back to the front after a tougher weekend in Termas. His goal this year isn’t a win, it’s wins plural. Can Texas get the mission back on track with a little more time to heal up, too?


After a slightly scrappy Portimao, it came good for Alex Marquez in Argentina as the number 73 took his first premier class pole position and turned it into a first podium with Ducati on Sunday. Can he keep or improve on that pace once again in Austin? He’s aiming to become a perennial presence in the fight for the rostrum. On the other side of the box, teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio will want a lot more as he watches the likes of Bezzecchi win races, but the number 49 also took a step in Termas. Can he keep it rolling to the flag this time round?


Friday in Argentina made for ominous reading for the rest of the field as Aprilia Racing ended the day first and second, but it just didn’t quite come together in the end. A year after the same venue staged his first win, Aleix Espargaro left Termas this time around with only 12 points in total, and he’ll be absolutely focused on gaining some more in Austin. Maverick Viñales, meanwhile, has a pretty good haul of 32 but won’t want to stay AWOL from that front group. The stars seem to threaten to align and then change their mind as he aims for that first win with Aprilia, so will it be a lucky visit to the Lone Star State or another wait?


‘Sunday rider’ was always a compliment to Brad Binder, but it just isn’t true anymore after that stunning Saturday in Argentina. From 15th to 1st, the South African was simply not going to be stopped and put in a serious statement ride. Sunday saw bad luck hit early and makes COTA the follow up performance… so can we expect an encore? For Jack Miller, meanwhile, Argentina was another solid round. He’s adapting, the project is putting those pieces together and some solid consistency – as well as flashes of serious speed – put him sixth overall as it stands. Will COTA be another step forward as he continues to impress and enjoy proving his doubters wrong?


Franco Morbidelli had a fantastic return to form in Argentina, and eyes will be on the number 21 to see if he can repeat the feat at another venue. Impressive in qualifying, the Sprint, and on Sunday, it was a weekend he’s needed and one he’ll be keen to back up. Teammate Fabio Quartararo was no slouch though. Despite yet more bad luck, Sunday especially saw the Frenchman prove his quality once again as he sliced through from well down the order after a little close attention earlier in the race. COTA has never been the best venue for Yamaha, but in 2023 anything can and has been happening… with both riders on form, what will the Iwata marque deliver in Austin?


As we head into a venue he’s ruled before, it’s Alex Rins holding the honour of top Honda after two pretty solid first rounds in his new home. With more and more track time we can likely expect more and more from the proven frontrunner, and COTA has some good memories from that previous win, his very first. What can Rins do this time out? Teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) will be hoping to cut the gap and get back on terms too.


The huge news ahead of the weekend was the withdrawal of Marc Marquez as his broken hand continues to recover. He’ll be replaced by test rider Stefan Bradl, and despite Honda having a tougher pre-season than some and Marquez having been injured in Portimao, his absence may seem a reprieve for some, such is the pure quality of his record at the track.

On the other side of the garage, Joan Mir, after that crash on Saturday in Argentina, will be hoping to get back into the learning curve and make more progress. Said progress was going pretty well in Portimao so we can be sure there’s much more to come from the 2020 World Champion.


There will be a new face on the grid for GASGAS in Austin, or more a new face for 2023. Jonas Folger joins the fold as the replacement for the recovering Pol Espargaro, and he’ll be an interesting addition after some time on the sidelines. He did test in pre-season, however. Rookie Augusto Fernandez, meanwhile, has already scored some points and diced it up in the mix with much more experienced riders, so COTA is another chance to double down on his progress.


It was a tough Round 2 for the RNF squad and Raul Fernandez certainly will be eager to get more from the Americas GP. He arrives with only a couple of points so far but some good flashes of speed shown, so can he start to turn it around in Texas? On the other side of the garage, Miguel Oliveira is heading to Austin hoping he passes a medical test on Thursday at the circuit. If that happens, the Portuguese rider will be back in action after such bad luck in the season opener, looking to pick up where he left off in terms of pace.


Friday’s two practice sessions decide entrants to Q2, before the MotoGP™ grid qualify on Saturday morning. The Tissot Sprint then gets in gear at 15:00 on Saturday, before we rodeo on Sunday at 14:00. Don’t miss it!

Tissot Sprint: Saturday 15:00 (GMT -5)

Grand Prix Race: Sunday 14:00 (GMT -5)

See you there!

Can Arbolino keep the lead in Austin?

On the road to Austin, it’s now Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) who leads the way in the intermediate class… and guess who won at COTA last year? He was also joined on the podium by another rostrum finisher in Argentina, Jake Dixon (Asterius GASGAS Aspar), so the two have form. Meanwhile Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up) hasn’t even ridden the track in Moto2™, but that’s not stopped him taking podiums and wins last year as a rookie either.

Speaking of last year’s rookies, Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a tougher time of it in the rain last time out and will want to reassert his speed, and Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) will very much want to stop him. Despite a jump start and two Long Laps at Termas, the number 40 still took a top finish and will want more at COTA. Join us for another chapter of Moto2™at 12:15 (GMT -5) on Sunday!

Moto3™ tee up to take on COTA

He just missed out on the podium in Argentina, but Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) is still the Championship leader heading into Round 3… by just two points. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) remains the rider on the chase though, and after two podiums to start the year he’ll be looking for another as a minimum as he seeks that first win.

Meanwhile, Argentina winner Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) will be aiming to stay in the game, and teammate Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing), last year’s Americas GP winner, wants that first visit to the rostrum this season. Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) haven’t really got off the mark yet either, whereas Andrea Migno (CIP Green Power) already has a podium as a replacement rider… and was on the box last year at COTA. It’s an intriguing mix already, so get ready for more Moto3™ at 11:00 (GMT -5) on Sunday!

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