By Neil Morrison
This weekend marks MotoGP's race debut at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
For most, including the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, it will be a step into the unknown. However a handful of MotoGP riders took part in a private test at the circuit in March.
This is what they, and notable others, had to say about the 20-turn anti-clockwise layout, which features a 'signature' uphill climb to turn one, plus sections resembling Silverstone, Hockenheim, Suzuka and Istanbul Park to name but a few...
“It's a very beautiful track which is very complete with every kind of corner. In the beginning it was difficult to understand the lines but I have improved 22 seconds from the 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 some other places to have this extra time. I think 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.” - Jorge Lorenzo
“I really like the track, my first impression is that it is beautiful. There are three hairpins that are very tight; this is better for Formula 1 overtaking, but for us they are a bit slow. In general the track is good. There is some downhill and uphill and first braking zone is very good. The uphill at turn one helps to stop the bike, which is beautiful. For me turn two is the best though and after you enter into the chicane, which is very similar to Silverstone. The straight is very long, which is maybe good for overtaking.” - Valentino Rossi
“It is a new circuit - and a very different one at that. Quite radical. This makes it important to put in plenty of laps, to get your reference points established: braking markers, gear changes, finding out whether you are best off in second or third gear - things like that” – Dani Pedrosa
“It is a fun circuit, because there's not a single bump on the track. There was no grip at the start and we were sliding around a lot, but gradually the lines were cleaned up and we could tackle it better. In the first part of the track, where the flowing chicanes are all linked up, it is a very tricky section. It is a physically demanding part of the circuit where you have to use a lot of strength to change direction quickly. It is definitely a key point of the track. There are three right-handers later on, all linked together, making it hard to find the ideal line.” - Marc Marquez
, who set the fastest time on all three days of testing.
“It's a very nice circuit with an interesting layout and everything is well organized. You can see it's a bit more for car races - especially in the first part - so it took me some time to find the ideal line but after some laps I started to enjoy it. Overall it was a quite good first run out for us and I was positively impressed by this new circuit which is very technical.” - Stephan Bradl
, the only non-factory team rider on the full-time grid to attend the test.
“It's not just a straight line and then a simple 90-degree corner, then another straight line and another simple corner. We put sections of track that really lock themselves together, so you have to be really good and technically correct. There are also some fairly high-speed corners, high-speed exits and of course a long back straightaway with real hard braking at the end.” - 1993 world champion Kevin Schwantz
describing the layout to Crash.net
back in April 2011.
“It's very demanding, especially the first sector which is very fast. The track is very smooth and not at all porous: it reminds me a lot of Portimao in Portugal, so if it was to rain, it could be like driving on glass.” - Fernando Alonso
gave his verdict after the Formula 1 cars finished their first day of practice in last November's four-wheel GP debut.