Live updates from Saturday's MotoGP free practice and qualifying sessions at COTA!

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MotoGP makes only its second trip outside of Europe since the start of the Covid pandemic with a return to abumpy COTA in Austin, Texas this weekend.

The only other 'overseas' premier-class event since March 2019 was this year's Qatar season-opener, with Argentina, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia cancelled for two years in row.

The COTA trip thus ensures MotoGP resembles more of a world championship than last year's all-European calendar, but this weekend is also a step into the unknown with no MotoGP action since the chequered flag flew at the Texan circuit on April 14, 2019.

That race saw Marc Marquez's quest for a perfect seventh win in a row come to an end when he fell while holding a comfortable lead, will the Repsol Honda star be able to make amends this weekend?

Alex Rins and Suzuki took victory after Marquez's exit in 2019, the Spaniard holding off Valentino Rossi by just half-a-second for his first MotoGP win, on a day when Jack Miller completed the podium.

Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo will start the event with a 48-point lead over Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia, winner of the last two races.

Reigning champion Joan Mir has dropped 67 points behind and, with only 100 available, concedes his title chances are effectively over, meaning he's prepared to take more risks in pursuit of Suzuki's first win of the season.

Fourth in the championship Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) is riding for the first time since arm pump surgery.

Maverick Vinales will not be present, the new Aprilia rider withdrawing after last weekend's tragic death of his young cousin Dean Berta Vinales in a WorldSSP300 race.

Some further resurfacing has been carried out since the 2019 MotoGP event, when riders complained about bumps despite previous efforts to smooth the circuit out.

As a result of the resurfacing and change of date from April, Michelin is providing a fourth rear tyre option (two hard compounds), while wet weather is also forecast during the weekend.

COTA has the most corners (20) in MotoGP, including the slowest of the season at just 50km/h (Turn 11). The following back straight is the longest in MotoGP at 1.2km and ends with the hardest braking on the calendar, from over 330km/h to less than 60km/h.