Teammate Jorge Lorenzo experienced his second Grand Prix weekend to forget today, making a jump start at the beginning of the race and receiving a ride-through penalty as a result. He pitted immediately at the end of the opening lap and re-joined at the back of the field in 23rd. The four-time world champion then showed his dedication and professionalism, working hard to move back through the pack to earn his first championship points of the season. As he crossed the finish line he did so in tenth position, less than four seconds from Rossi in eighth.
The eighth place finish gains Rossi a further eight points to give a total of 28, dropping him to third on the overall standings. Lorenzo’s tenth place earns his first championship points of the season, putting him in 16th with six points.
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders today finished round 2 of the MotoGP World Championship in a highly determined manner, with both riders achieving their best ever results in the premier class. Bradley Smith finished in 5th position after narrowly missing out on a debut podium, with rookie Pol Espargaro crossing the line in 6th to claim his first MotoGP points and as the quickest rookie.
Bradley Smith delivered a fierce campaign to challenge for a podium position, before guiding his Yamaha YZR-M1 home in what was his best ever MotoGP result. After having qualified in 8th, the British rider dropped back a place during the first lap, but soon set into a smooth rhythm and proceeded to move up the field, progressing up to 7th a few laps later. He then closed in on the Factory Yamaha of Valentino Rossi before passing him quickly. On lap 14 the young British rider overtook his teammate and swiftly caught the 5th placed rider three laps later, before hunting down the remaining competitors to challenge for the final podium position. Smith rode tirelessly to reach them, and then exchanged forceful moves with Stefan Bradl right down to the chequered flag fighting for 4th position. Even though the battle didn’t come to a lucky end, on what was once again a difficult racetrack for all the Yamaha bikes, Smith brilliantly showed his progression, finishing as the top Yamaha on the timesheets.
Rookie Pol Espargaro successfully clinched his maiden points scoring finish today at COTA, and completed the race as the fastest rookie by finishing in a highly impressive 6th position. The Reigning Moto2 World Champion had a positive start, and moved forward to 10th on the first lap. Espargaro skilfully forged ahead and continued to battle remaining with teammate Bradley Smith as they moved up the field. On lap ten, the Spanish rookie brilliantly overtook multiple world champion Valentino Rossi. Espargaro finally completed his impressive point scoring race by taking 6th place on the final lap.
The NGM Forward Racing Team leaves Texas with Aleix Espargaro finishing 9th overall and first open. After the great result scored yesterday in qualifying, Aleix struggled to make a good start, losing contact with the front group. He had issues with chattering and preferred to be a bit conservative to finish the race and get some good points. The result puts him 5th in the championship with 20 points.
It was an unlucky day for Colin Edwards who expected to get another result in his home grand prix. As with his teammate, Colin struggled a lot during the race and when there were 4 laps to go his bike stopped, obliging him to retire. With today’s retirement, Colin is 14th in the rider Championship.
The championship stays outside of Europe for round three, moving south for the Gran Premio de la República Argentina on 27th April.
“We destroyed the front tyre completely on the right side. I had the same problem during the weekend but less than this. This morning we made a good step and with a used tyre I could do all the warm up so we were quite positive. Unfortunately after seven or eight laps the front was gone and I had to go three seconds slower. It's a pity because we could do another podium which was the target here in Austin, unfortunately it wasn't to be.”
“I wasn’t thinking and was distracted and I made a big mistake in the start. I just tried to push at the maximum afterwards to get the best result but the race was almost over for me. I want to say sorry to the team as I destroyed my race, but at least I didn't crash because it was a difficult situation with the tension and it was easy to make a mistake and get injured. The good thing is that I finished the race and got my first points in the championship but clearly it wasn’t our weekend.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“Unfortunately Valentino completely destroyed the right side of his front tyre after a few laps. We had suffered already this weekend with this and made some changes to the set up, this morning we could do 16 laps with the tyre still looking good so we thought the problem was solved. It's a shame because as a result we lost the podium here in Texas, where we knew from the beginning it was going to be a tough race. As for Jorge, no matter how hard you prepare for a race weekend there are some things that cannot be anticipated. We all know he is one of the hardest working riders here and very rarely makes a mistake. He did a good job to make the best of it afterwards. I want to thank all the team for another weekend spent working extremely hard to overcome challenges and make a competitive bike for the race, we are looking forward to Argentina to come back even stronger.
“I am very pleased with my performance during the 21 laps with this being the most physical track on the calendar in my opinion. I made it hard work for myself. It’s difficult to get a perfect setting around here as there are so many different corners, and it is impossible to make one setting which suits all of them. You have to make the best compromise. I was a bit too aggressive during the first laps, and overheated my brakes and the front tyre got really warm. So rather than risking anything, I let them recover, which took me 3 or 4 laps. I saw Pol come past me and then Valentino getting away, so I just had to take a breath. Once the tyres had stabilised, I started moving forward. I then thought either the bike is going to come to me or I am just going to have to sit where I am. With 12 laps to go, I realised that I had a chance and put my head down. I got to Bradl and gave everything I could, and when I reached those left right left corners, where I tried to go underneath him, my heart rate just went through the roof. I put all my cards on the table, as I knew that Dovizioso was edging away, but I am still really pleased to be the top Yamaha”.
“I’m truly happy with today’s result; to finish my first MotoGP race in sixth position and in front of the Factory Yamahas makes me quite proud. I knew that I had to push as much as possible at the beginning, as I didn’t want to lose contact with the guys in front of me. I probably pushed a little too much and I could not keep the rhythm until the end of the race. But I’m happy that I was able to battle with my teammate during a certain stage of the race because Bradley is going really fast this season. Being the second Yamaha means we have not done a bad job at all. The biggest problem during the race has been the front tyre and I think all of the Yamaha’s struggled with it. We knew already from last year’s race that it would not have been an easy track for our bike. I can physically feel that it has been a very demanding race, the MotoGP bikes are exhausting. I have some pain in my shoulder because of the high number of left corners and especially during braking towards the end of the race. The team did a great job and I’m really giving it my all to learn and improve as quickly as possible. I’m already looking forward to the next round in Argentina in a couple of weeks”.
“This morning we struggled a lot due to the front chattering and it happened the same in the race. I couldn’t push. I had to be a bit conservative, focusing on finishing the race and getting some points. It was very frustrating but it was impossible for me to push more today. Anyway I’m confident for the next gp and I look forward to race in Argentina."
“We struggled the whole weekend and I also had an issue with my front tyre, that made my race even more complicated. With 4 laps to go, I had problems with the fuel pressure and my bike stopped, when I was in the back straight. My race was over. Now we will try to understand what happened."