2016 MotoGP Austin – First Impressions

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I’m in Austin for MotoGP (and a few other things), and the first day of Free Practice is in the books. Here are some quick thoughts from my first day at Circuit of the Americas! Fair warning – I don’t have photo editing software on my travel laptop. Sorry!

1. Dorna screwed up and somehow gave little ol’ me press credentials. This cannot end well.
MotoGP Media Pass

I look completely out of place compared to crews like this:
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Camera Crew

A little behind the scenes action for you. Dorna does a pretty impressive job keeping media in the loop. I ain’t fancy enough for this!
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Press Room

2. Marquez crashed in Free Practice. The dude just doesn’t know how to function at 99.8%, and it’s awesome to watch. He was already in possession of the fastest time and was on pace for an even quicker lap when he lowsided on the last corner. Didn’t matter – he pushed his bike back into the pits, then went out and beat his time with a 2:04.034. What a badass. You may remember that last year he took pole at CotA with a record lap that he set on his backup bike, after he had issues with his main bike and had to hop the wall and run down the pits:

Seems like he’s started a trend of swapping his bikes in Austin. Oh, and because there are other riders out there besides Marquez: Andrea Iannone (Ducati) placed second and Maveric Vinales (Suzuki) placed third. Love seeing a variety of manufacturers up at the top!

3. Because I am a Laguna Seca snob, I am loath to admit that Circuit of the Americas is a much, much better track for fans. There are many more opportunities to watch multiple corners at once, and the tower is awesome. I’m a bit stingy, but I think the view from the tower is well worth the $20 charge. The track just needs an iconic corner like the Corkscrew.

photo from http://blog.caranddriver.com/circuit-of-the-americas-tower-stunning-views-of-the-track-lots-of-stairs-2012-f1-u-s-grand-prix/

Some of the views from the top of the tower:
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Tower View 4

Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Tower View 3

Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Tower View 2

Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Tower View 1

4. Speaking of good views, rain slicks look awesome.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Rain Slicks

5. Quick MotoAmerica tangent: Danny Eslick is back from his suspension. Unfortunately, said suspension prevented him from his bid to become the first rider to win the Daytona 200 three times in a row. He was incredibly nice to me and I hope he does well this weekend.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Danny Eslick

6. Some people are just way more into motorcycles than I am.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Tattoo

7. I don’t care for the new wings (I know, I know, aerodynamics!) but I enjoyed watching this guy dremel away at the wings for Pramac Ducati. I swear he ended up putting tape on it when he was done.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Pramac Ducati Wing Dremel

8. Revival Cycles is brilliant for hosting the Handbuilt Show during MotoGP weekend when passionate motorcyclists from around the world are already in town. More on this later, but it’s well run, very popular, and the bikes are generally fantastic. In addition to the custom bikes that you’d expect to see, there was some well fought flat track racing…
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Flat Trackin' 2

…and general hooliganism:
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Super Hooligan

Why wasn’t something like this happening when MotoGP was at Laguna Seca? Or was it, and I just wasn’t cool enough to know about it?

9. Remember kids, NASCAR is boring. Watch motorcycle racing instead!
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Nascar is Boring

Are you in Austin, too? Drop me a line, I’d love to meet up – I met several of you today and it’s great to put a face to the name! Otherwise, I hope you’re watching this on TV and that you have a great weekend.

Read on for my thoughts from the next day!

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