Updated: Feb 28
MotoGP returns to the Circuit Of The Americas this weekend for the first time since 2019. The return of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in North America has been marred however by comments from the riders over the track’s surface.
Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Aiden Hover
COTA has retained a reputation as being a bumpy track for many years and, despite it being resurfaced in several places, much of the track remains uneven – most notably at turns 2,3 and 10. Riding through the bumpy surface has proven difficult and borderline unsafe, with a significant portion of the grid leaning towards the latter.
Amongst the more vocal riders was championship leader Fabio Quartararo calling it a “joke” and even labelling it “not a MotoGP track.”
“It’s more or less a track I use to train with a motocross bike, but much faster and with a MotoGP bike. So, it’s really bad. I can’t imagine it, we said three years ago they need to resurface and it’s even worse.” Said the Frenchman.
Despite his displeasure, Quartararo stated that the conditions could just about hold a grand Prix.
“It’s just acceptable to race, I don’t know what to say. But it’s a joke. It’s not a MotoGP track for me. To make a race here – for one lap it’s OK – but for 20 laps, we will see that there will be some bad moments.
“You see a lot of bikes shaking in Turn 10. The thing is the bumps are in the worst places possible because if you have bumps in Turns 1, 11, 12, it’s OK because it’s slow corners.
“But Turn 1, Turn 2, 3, 10 are the worst corners you can have bumps, and there are bumps there. So, let’s see.
“I usually don’t go to the safety commission, but when there is something serious, I will go and today something serious that for the safety is… the track is unsafe. It’s clear to say that it’s not great and we need to resurface everything.”
Tech3 KTM rider Iker Lecuona echoed Fabio’s comparisons of the track to Motocross saying. “There are so many bumps, it feels like a motocross track and very difficult to manage.”
Another vocal critic of the conditions was Aleix Espargaro, “The asphalt is in poor condition, much worse than I remembered, and the times show it,”
“We have been complaining about this track for many years and they haven’t resurfaced it, the bumps are very, very dangerous,” he said. “The bikes in 2015 were much worse than now, it’s been six years and Marquez’s time after all this time is two seconds slower.
Espargaro went on to state that he thinks conditions are too dangerous to hold a Grand Prix this weekend at all “The track is very dangerous and for me, it’s too dangerous to race here on Sunday.”
His sentiment is shared by Peco Bagnaia who sits second in the championship with the Ducati rider stating earlier in the weekend that he’d have no qualms skipping the race and conceding 25 points to Championship leader Quartararo.
With the inherent risks that accompany motorcycle racing the addition of an uneven bumpy surface is not a welcome one. However, with the Grand Prix set to go on this weekend the Circuit Of The Americas will most definitely be the intensification of all the challenges that accompany motorsport in all aspects. Guess everything is bigger in Texas.