Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas 2015

Posted on Apr 07, 2015 by Nick Harris


Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith continue their battle to be the best British MotoGP™ rider in the second round of the championship at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin Texas on Sunday.

Just half a second separated the pair as they fought for seventh place behind the factory machines at the opening round in Qatar. Isle of Man – based Midlander Crutchlow came out on top on his CWM LCR Honda debut after a tremendous fight with Oxfordshire’s Smith riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. Both have decent records at the demanding and undulating 3.426 miles Circuit of the Americas. Crutchlow was fourth a couple of years ago and Smith fifth last year.

Joining in the battle could be Gloucestershire's Scot Redding despite a disappointing 13th on his factory Honda debut in Qatar. Corner entry problems restricted the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider, which was a great shame because the 2013 Moto2™ Championship runner–up certainly has the pace to be right up there with Crutchlow and Smith.

Eugene Laverty had a disastrous MotoGP debut in Qatar when major ECU problems dropped him to 18th after looking very capable of a points scoring finish following practice and qualifying. Hopefully the problems will be sorted by the Aspar MotoGP team for Laverty’s Austin debut.

Without a doubt the most disappointed British rider in the Qatar paddock was Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes. He took his first ever Moto2 pole position but crashed out on the Speed Up machine on the third lap while in second place. The former World Supersport Champion knows now he has the pace, but with so many of the top riders dropping out in Qatar Lowes also knows he had a big chance of that first grand prix victory.

Danny Kent and John McPhee arrive in Austin with a real chance of a Moto3™ victory and podium finish. In an amazing opening round Wiltshire – based Kent, making his debut for the Leopard Honda team, was just 0.142s behind race winner Alexis Masbou, as he grabbed third place in a sensational battle to the line. Less than one second separated the first nine riders and Scotland’s McPhee came so close to his first podium finish eventually finishing fifth under seven tenths behind SAXOPRINT RTG team-mate Masbou. Sunday will be no different.

Rossi and Marquez line up for Texas shoot out
Two weeks after his epic victory in Qatar, Valentino Rossi faces world champion Marc Marquez in the second round of the MotoGP World Championship at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, in what promises to be the classic Texas shoot–out.

Thirty six year old Rossi takes on 22 year old Marquez around the demanding 3.426 miles Circuit of the Americas near Austin where the Spanish world champion has dominated for the last couple of years. The Repsol Honda rider won his first MotoGP race there two years ago and last year repeated the dose after dominating practice, qualifying and the 21 lap race, but after Rossi’s victory in Qatar and with Ducati completing the final two podium places he faces his biggest challenge.

Rossi, riding the Movistar Yamaha, was supreme in the opening round where Marquez, after a first bend mistake, fought back to fifth. Marquez will be without team-mate Dani Pedrosa who will be replaced by Honda test rider and former 250 cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama for at least the next two races after Pedrosa underwent an arm pump operation in Madrid. Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo returns to the scene of his embarrassing jump start last season, but the former double MotoGP World Champion showed in Qatar he’s right back on the pace before slowing with a helmet problem.

The biggest talking point in the opening round was the performance of Ducati and the new GP 15 machine in particular. Fresh from their testing success Andrea Dovizioso not only put the machine on pole but pushed countryman Rossi to the limit in the race to eventually finish second with team-mate Andrea Iannone completing the all Italian podium. It was an amazing turn around and both will be in contention for Ducati’s first race victory for nearly five years. The Pramac Ducati team of Yonny Hernandez and Danilo Petrucci had a great start to their campaign in Qatar finishing tenth and 12th respectively while Hector Barbara completed the points scoring in 15th place on the Open Class Avintia Ducati.

Cal Crutchlow won the battle of the Satellite teams on his CWM LCR Honda debut finishing seventh, half a second in front of Bradley Smith’s Monster Tech 3 Yamaha who fought off the challenge of team-mate Pol Espargaro. Suzuki make their first appearance at COTA with Maverick Viñales returning to the scene of his debut Moto2 victory last season. Team-mate Aleix Espargaro was 11th on his Ecstar Suzuki debut in Qatar with Stefan Bradl, who finished fourth last year, out of the points in 16th after replacing the Spaniard in the Athina Forward Racing Yamaha team.

There is a lot of catching up to do in the Moto 2 race after a dramatic opening round won by the German Jonas Folger. The big losers were world champion Tito Rabat and pole setter Sam Lowes who both crashed out while Frenchman Johan Zarco looked a certain winner before gear linkage problems on his Ajo Motorsport Kalex dropped him to eighth. Belgian Xavier Simeon and the experienced Tom Luthi completed the podium, fighting off the impressive Alex Rins on his Moto2 debut. Moto3 World Champion Alex Marquez, Estella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team-mate of Rabat, was a steady 11th on his debut in the bigger class.

The COTA circuit can’t wait for the arrival of the Moto3 gladiators after a stunning opening round in Qatar. The championship is wide open after the defection of the top three from last year and it showed. Just 0.142 s separated the podium finishers headed by veteran Frenchman Alexis Masbou on his debut on the SAXOPRINT RTG Honda after he started from pole position for the very first time. Despite a poor qualifying, Italian teenager Enea Bastianini was a brilliant second heading off British rider Danny Kent.

Nine tenths of a second separated the top nine and any one of them could have won and it promises to be exactly the same in the 18 lap race which starts proceedings on Sunday.

Additional Austin
• In 2013 Austin became the fourth different circuit to be used for motorcycle grand prix racing in America. In total, there have been 26 previous grand prix events hosted in the USA: Daytona – 2, Laguna Seca – 15, Indianapolis – 7 and Austin – 2.

• The same two riders have finished first/second in both the previous MotoGP races at Austin, Marc Marquez followed home by team-mate Dani Pedrosa.

• Last year at COTA, Marc Marquez topped every practice session, qualified on pole with a new pole position record lap, led every lap of the race and set a new race lap record.

• Third place finisher in the MotoGP race at Austin last year was Andrea Dovizioso – his first podium finish on the factory Ducati.

• The first Yamaha rider to cross the line last year in Austin was Bradley Smith, in fifth place. • Marquez won the MotoGP race in Austin last year by 4.124 seconds – his largest margin of victory in a MotoGP class, in a dry weather race.

• The last ten MotoGP races in the USA have all been won by Honda riders. The last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the country was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010.

• Last year in Texas, Moto3 world champion Maverick Viñales took his first Moto2™ GP win, in only his second outing in the class. This win by Viñales made him the second youngest rider to have won in the Moto2 class, at the age of 19 years 91 days.

• Jack Miller won the Moto3™ race last year in Austin, repeating his victory from the opening event of the year in Qatar, which was his first ever GP win. These two wins gave Miller the honour of becoming first Australian rider to take back-to-back GP wins in the lightweight class (125cc/Moto3) of grand prix racing.

• At the GP of the Americas last year, 40 year old Colin Edwards announced that 2014 would be his final season of racing before retiring.

Television Times
BT Sport2
Friday April 10  3.00pm – 10.00pm (practice)
Saturday April 11  3.00pm – 10.15pm (practice and qualifying)
Sunday April 12  4.30pm – 10.30pm (races)

ITV 4 Highlights
Monday 13 April 8.00pm – 9.00pm

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