Discovering Circuit of the Americas

Discovering Circuit of the Americas
Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Measuring just over five and a half kilometres and located less than half an hour outside of downtown Austin, Circuit of the Americas becomes the fourth American race track to host a round of MotoGP™. Plenty are excited by the prospect…

The USA now joins Spain in welcoming three or more races in one championship season, with Austin hosting the second round before the Laguna Seca and Indianapolis events come together on the calendar – but almost a month apart – in July and August.

"You’ve got Turn 1 with hard braking uphill, which is a lot of G-force," explains Cristophe Bourguignon, Chief Engineer at LCR Honda MotoGP. "Then from Turn 3 to Turn 8 is really flowing, fast corners in third gear. After that we have quite hard braking going into Turn 11, where they arrive in fourth gear and have to brake and shift down to first. Following that a really long straight where they reach almost 340 kilometres per hour, so that exit is quite important. At the end of that long straight we have really hard braking, where they have to downshift from sixth to first."

Judging by Bourguignon’s comments and a quick glance of the track map, COTA certainly doesn’t fail when it comes to variety. The Bridgestone rubber will also take some very heavy punishment, not least across Sunday afternoon’s 21-lap race.

"I think we’re using first gear for around 35 seconds of the lap," Bourguignon continues. "At some circuits we don’t even use first gear. Before we get to the two last corners we’ve got the triple-right, which is really, really, demanding for the rear tyre."

For Tom Houseworth, gearing will be paramount.

"You go with a base setup," explains the Crew Chief to Ben Spies at Ignite Pramac Racing. "You can’t really say, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this!’. You’ve got to know where it’s wheelieing, where it’s spinning…you’ve got to know what kind of backing control he’s going to need. The only way you can know that is to ride the bike. We can do a simulation and try and get the gearbox as close as we can; that’s super important, especially with this track, as it’s got like 20 corners!"

The sport first travelled to the United States in 1964, when Mike Hailwood started his third of four 500 title-winning seasons in the best possible way. The Englishman won for MV Agusta from Phil Read (Matchless) and John Hartle (Norton).

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