|The Yamaha Factory team dominated at Qatar
Photo: Yamaha Factory Racing
The Yamaha Factory Racing team heads to Austin for the inaugural race at the Circuit of the America’s this weekend, fresh from a 1-2 podium in Qatar and are predicting hard work will be coming their way.
Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo won the opening race in Losail under the floodlights with a staggering lead of over 5 seconds. He is hoping to stay consistent, but the 25 year old is heading to America understanding it will be hard work.
Following a test at the circuit back in March, the Yamaha teammates were struggling to keep up with the Repsol Honda’s, but Lorenzo hopes to leave with another winner’s trophy at the end of the weekend. “Qatar was stunning for us. A great start of a really competitive season. It’s always crucial to make a good beginning but Losail was just the first race of a long season. Now we have to change our mindset, we go to the USA and we visit a completely different track, not just the layout but also for the asphalt, the climate and some different circumstances.
The Austin track has a very long straight and several corners in first gear where you are need good acceleration and traction. There we will have to work really hard from the first session to cut away the distance to our competitors. Anyway, I keep my confidence that we can also make a good result there. I want to win at Austin and that’s my mentality although I know in the USA it will be much more complicated.”
Returning to Yamaha, teammate Valentino Rossi has similar feelings about the new COTA track, understanding this weekend will not be easy.
The Italian certified his competitive pace back in Qatar, securing a podium for Yamaha following two seasons away at Ducati. He produced a stunning race, bouncing back from 7th position on lap 3 to finish in second position ahead of rookie Marc Marquez.
Nine-times champion Rossi is looking forward to using the new track, however he also understands how fast the competition will be. “Austin will not be an easy race but for sure the podium in Qatar is giving us extra motivation. We have done a great job there and we can go to Austin with some more certainty. Our competitors will be very strong but our goal will be to bring home points. I am confident, I really like the track and my first impression, when we tested there, was that the circuit is beautiful. The track lay-out is very special: there is some downhill and uphill and the first braking zone is very technical. For me turn two is the best though and after when you enter into the chicane. The straight is very long, which is good for overtaking. I really look forward to racing at COTA.”