MotoGP: Riders Looking For Redemption In Texas

MotoGP: Riders Looking For Redemption In Texas

© 2024, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

“It’s too easy to talk”: the Thursday dispatch from Texas

Friday, 12 April 2024

Portugal had it all, and the stage is set for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas to deliver even more. First, the podcast welcomed Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder to the show, before a special press conference with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, Chief Commercial Officer Dan Rossomondo and Chief Sporting Officer Carlos Ezpeleta – for more on that, see below.

The first press conference for the riders then got in gear, with Championship leader Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) joined by Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), aka the current top three in the Championship. 

Then, after news earlier this week that Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) had signed a new contract with Yamaha, he joined Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) for press conference two.

Here are some photos and quotes from the opening day at COTA!

 

Jorge Martin. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Jorge Martin. Photo courtesy Dorna.

JORGE MARTIN

How confident are you heading into this weekend?

“I am very happy with the start of the season so far, and I think our target is to be better than the years before because I struggled quite a lot last season at COTA, and my target is to be better than last year. It will be a big challenge as there will be many strong rivals this weekend, but I feel confident that we will do a good job and I feel in good physical condition, which is important here as last season I struggled a lot as I had a fever and was taking antibiotics, so I am hoping I can be one of the best.”

 

Brad Binder. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Brad Binder. Photo courtesy Dorna.

BRAD BINDER

How much are you looking forward to this weekend?

“For sure, it is exciting to get going again, this track is very special and has a little bit of everything, so it is important to find a rhythm and have a good pace as it is a long lap, and that is my goal going into the weekend. In Portimao, unfortunately, I struggled from the first session; I couldn’t find my feet, and then I, unfortunately, crashed in the Sprint and fourth in the main race with a lot of help in front of me, but I am really keen to have another go here as the step between 2022 and 2023 was huge, and I expect a step like that this weekend.”

 

Enea Bastianini. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Enea Bastianini. Photo courtesy Dorna.

ENEA BASTIANINI

What is it about COTA that you like so much?

“I have great memories from 2022 here at COTA and it was fantastic to have a great victory here. I come from a great podium in Portimao, and I am also confident at the moment and let’s see if we can continue in this direction. I think we have a good set-up at the moment at every track, and this is important. Let’s see if I can be fast at COTA as physically, it is one of the most difficult races.”

 

Francesco "Pecco" Bagnaia. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia. Photo courtesy Dorna.

PECCO BAGNAIA

Is this year at COTA about redemption from last year?

“Let’s see, it is a track that I like, and last year, I was very competitive and feeling great but I crashed and made a mistake in the race. I think we can be competitive again, it is a different track compared to Portimao so let’s see what we can do and improve the feeling from Portimao which caused me some trouble in the race.”

 

Pedro Acosta. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Pedro Acosta. Photo courtesy Dorna.

PEDRO ACOSTA

It seems expectations around you are changing already… are they for you too? And how much are you looking forward to riding a MotoGP™ bike around COTA?

“We don’t have expectations anymore; it is too easy to talk, and we are not in the moment to think about this. We need to be realistic and not aim for results after two races. As you said, it would be super nice, as last season, I enjoyed riding a Moto2™ bike around COTA, so let’s try and enjoy!”

 

Marc Marquez and his special COTA helmet. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Marc Marquez and his special COTA helmet. Photo courtesy Dorna.

MARC MARQUEZ

What are your chances of winning here on the Ducati?

“Obviously, we now arrive at a good race track for my style, and in the past, we have achieved a lot of good results. But at Portimao, there are three or four riders faster than me, so let’s see if we are closer here. If today (Thursday) you said you would achieve a first podium, I would sigh as a podium must arrive before a victory, so let’s see step by step.”

 

Fabio Quartararo. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Fabio Quartararo. Photo courtesy Dorna.

FABIO QUARTARARO

Did you discuss signing with other manufacturers before signing with Yamaha?

“Of course, we spoke to different manufacturers, and the decision was not easy, but in Portugal, we had a meeting with top management from Yamaha to discuss the project from now to the end of the year and 2025/2026. There are some really interesting things which are still confidential in Yamaha, like new people. The project is going to be huge so the decision was made in Portugal.”

Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) and teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio headed courtside with Houston Rockets, with ‘Bez’ taking the honorary free throw to tip off the evening’s entertainment.

 

Miguel Oliveira (left) and Raul Fernandez (right) wiith a Trackhouse Racing Aprilia at the Texas State Capital building in Austin. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Miguel Oliveira (left) and Raul Fernandez (right) with Fernandez’s Trackhouse Racing Aprilia MotoGP racebike at the Texas State Capital building in Austin. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 
ICYMI: MotoGP™’s touchdown in Texas

Then, Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez headed into Downtown Austin for a photo op near the Capitol Building, showing off that stunning star-spangled livery and an Aprilia Racing machine too.

 

John Hopkins (left), Managing Director of Ohvale USA, and Raul Fernandez (right). Photo courtesy Dorna.
John Hopkins (left), Managing Director of Ohvale USA, and Raul Fernandez (right) at an event promoting Mini Cup USA Thursday at COTA. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

FIM MiniCUP USA gears up for a new era!

The Mini Cup USA took centre stage at COTA kart track on Thursday, with some familiar faces from the MotoGP™ paddock paying a visit to the launch event. Part of the FIM MiniGP World Series, which is the first initiative in global motorsport aimed at creating grassroots equality, the Mini Cup USA will prove a key stepping stone for the stars of tomorrow. Now a key figure in the competition, John Hopkins was on site as well as the likes of Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing) and Joe Roberts (OnlyFans American Racing). Multiple SX champion Ryan Villopoto even dropped in!

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