Alvaro Bautista will be the only Honda RCV rider participating in this weekend's inaugural Austin MotoGP event without the benefit of prior testing at the circuit.
The Spaniard's Gresini team did not make the expensive trip to COTA in mid-March, but after emerging with a sixth place in the Qatar season-opener Bautista remains confident of further progress with his Showa-sprung machine.
“The 2013 season has started really well. I am happy even though we had a few problems with the front in Qatar. It forced us to use the soft tyre because I had more confidence with it, but we lost stability under braking,” said Bautista.
“It was an important sixth place, my best result in MotoGP in Qatar and that gives us optimism for the future.
“Austin will be a new experience for almost all of us. They say it is a technical and demanding circuit and I am looking forward to getting on with the job of learning it and finding a setting that will allow me to fully exploit the potential of the RC213V.
“The level of competition is very high, but I am confident that if we do our job right then we can be even more competitive than we were in Qatar.”
Rookie CRT class team-mate Bryan Staring suffered the disappointment of crashing on his MotoGP debut, but takes comfort from the fact that none of the full-time privateers have tested in Texas.
“I am still disappointed with the way my debut went in Qatar but I also know that it is all part of the process of picking up experience in a completely new category,” said the Australian. “We will learn from it and try to make up for our disappointment this weekend in Austin. It is a new track for all the CRT guys so we will start out on a more level playing field.
“I have seen some footage of the track and it looks awesome. I am looking forward to seeing it for myself and I am sure that the Circuit of The Americas will be fun to ride. This will also be my first ever trip to the USA so overall there is a lot to look forward to as we try to put Qatar behind us and focus on producing a positive performance in Austin.”