Nathan and I are on our way to Austin for my favorite motorcycling weekend of the year! There are plenty of sites that will give you in-depth race analysis (check out Crash.net), so my goal this weekend is to take you through what Austin offers the world of motorcycling from the perspective of a casual MotoGP fan – I’ll assume that you’ve heard of the rider’s names but that you don’t know very much about them.
Let’s start with the most obvious riders to pay attention to. Last year when came down to check out the race, it seemed fairly obvious that Marc Marquez was going to win. This year, it doesn’t feel like that at all. Maverick Vinales has won the first two races of the season, but history is on Marquez’s side. He has won the last eight MotoGP races hosted in the US – 4 in Austin, 3 in Indianapolis, and Laguna Seca in 2013. He’s the only rider in MotoGP history to have earned a pole position or a win at CotA! Will he be able to keep it up?
Fan favorite Valentino Rossi says “he has an account to settle with this track” as last year he crashed out:
I’m always blown away by the amount of support that Rossi has around the world. Hell, I’m writing this post up on an airplane full of MotoGP fans and I’m sitting next to a gentleman who owns 20 helmets with Rossi race replica liveries!
Someone else to keep an eye out for: Andrea Dovizioso. In 2014 and 2015 he had podium finishes at CotA, and he was in the top 3 last year when he got taken out by a teammate:
In total, there’ll be 23 riders, 13 teams, and 6 manufacturers competing for points this weekend. KTM is making their debut this season and they got their first points of the year last race in Argentina. Here’s hoping they can snag some more on Sunday.
The current point standings:
1 – Maverick Viñales (SPA – Yamaha) 50 points
2 – Valentino Rossi (ITA – Yamaha) 36 points
3 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA – Ducati) 20 points
4 – Scott Redding (GBR – Ducati) 17 points
5 – Cal Crutchlow (GBR – Honda) 16 points
Some information about Austin so you can impress your buddies when they come over to your house to watch (US readers can watch on beIN sports or stream it via MotoGP):
– This will be the 30th MotoGP race hosted in the US. Previous races include 2 at Daytona, 15 at Laguna Seca, 8 at Indianapolis, and 4 at Austin. I miss Laguna Seca.
– Only 4 riders have won a race in American in the past – Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, and Valentino Rossi.
– Every one of the 12 podium finishers in CotA MotoGP history is from Spain or Italy.
– Every podium finisher from last year’s Moto2 at CotA (Johann Zarco, Sam Lowes, and Alex Rins) have all been promoted to the big leagues and racing MotoGP this season.
My plane’s about to land, so that’s it for now! If you have any questions about this weekend’s race, let me know and I’ll get answers for you if I don’t know them myself. Otherwise, follow along as I take you through a weekend full of motorcycling delight – hope you enjoy the tale!
Featured Photo: Possibly my favorite photo that I took from last year – a very lucky baby doesn’t realize that his life can only get worse from here.
Click here for my thoughts from Thursday and Friday.