Photography by Andrea Wilson
AUSTIN, TEXAS, APR. 18 – If one thing became even more clear in today’s press conference in advance of the start of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas tomorrow, it’s that the Circuit of The Americas is a difficult racetrack to learn and those who didn’t test here a month ago will be at a big disadvantage – at least in the opening day of practice.
“We were here one month ago and it was not so easy for us,” defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo said. “I’m very curious to see how the racetrack has changed from one month. I’m excited to practice tomorrow. It’s really, really difficult. I think it’s one of the most difficult tracks of my career to understand the secrets, to find the limit. I think we have quite a big advantage compared to the riders who couldn’t be here with us. But, anyway, one month is a lot so for sure practice will also be difficult to understand and have the feeling from the test.”
Lorenzo and his factory Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi tested here last month along with the Repsol Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez and the satellite Honda of Stefan Bradl. The weather in March was colder than it is now and Lorenzo believes the warmer weather will bring better traction.
“In the test, it was so much cold, especially in the morning,” Lorenzo said. “For warming up the tires it was not so simple. For sure with more warm temperatures there will be more grip on the track and easy for us, for the Yamahas. Today is rain, so maybe tomorrow is another rain day.”
Although today started with rain and high winds, good weather is forecast for the rest of the weekend.
When asked what portions of the technical 3.4-mile track are the most important, Lorenzo named almost all of it.
“The first corner is very difficult because it comes from an uphill,” Lorenzo said. “One of the biggest uphills I’ve ever seen at a racetrack. Also it’s wide turn so for sure after the start it will be really dangerous for the braking and you will have to pay attention. Then, obviously, the turns in first gear, the hairpins, are one of the keys of the track and probably the first sector of chicanes, two or three chicanes, are very difficult. They are blind, also. So it’s really difficult to understand where is the limit, where is the best line. And the last corner because it is your last chance to overtake.”