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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ducati Review Austin MotoGP Race

Today was a day of excitement at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, where the second round of this year’s MotoGP World Championship was held. Starting from tenth place on the grid, Andrea Dovizioso administered the 21 laps in a masterly way to conclude the Texan race in third place, his best result since he joined the Italian manufacturer. The last time a Ducati rider stepped onto the podium was in September 2012.

His team-mate Cal Crutchlow’s day was on the other hand more complicated. The British rider started from seventh on the grid, and three laps in was already up to fourth. After feeling a strong vibration in the rear of his Desmosedici GP14, Cal came into the pits to change the rear tyre. Two laps later and his race was over as he had a nasty high-side in Turn 2, crashing down heavily and injuring his right hand.

Taken immediately to the circuit’s medical centre, he was diagnosed as having a dislocated little finger of his right hand, together with some bruising. He will fly to San Diego tomorrow for a specialist visit, but there should be no problems regarding his return to the track at the next round in two weeks’ time, on the brand-new Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 3rd
“I am very pleased with the way I managed the race because in the early laps I didn’t have the right pace. But I kept calm and kept up a constant pace, and this paid off because I didn’t stress the tyres too much. My performance dropped off a bit towards the end but obviously less than the other riders I was fighting with and this allowed me to do the final stages in a good condition. Then I pulled out a small gap over Bradl and Smith, which allowed me to take the chequered flag with an advantage of almost two seconds. I am very pleased with this result for my team. We’ve been working hard for a year and suffering a lot, and we are still not as quick as we would like to be. Getting a result like this at this time of the season is very important, also for all the engineers and mechanics in the racing division back in Bologna, who are working very hard to improve the Desmosedici’s competitiveness.”

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – DNF
“I was very optimistic, but unfortunately I had a problem with the rear tyre of the bike immediately from lap 1, there were some very big vibrations and it was becoming worse so I thought it was better to pit and change the tyre. Because we were not even at half-distance, the team made the decision to put the soft rear tyre in and I took benefit from that but I was never going to get any points. I remember hitting a bump on the track that upset the bike. It was a fast corner and seemed like it was just going to be a normal crash, but I got caught up with the bike and it ended up highsiding me. I really hit my hand so hard that I dislocated the finger and the swelling of the hand was so bad that I couldn’t see the problem. I’m sorry for the team, but very pleased for Andrea to be on the podium after all the hard work the guys in Ducati Corse have put in over the winter.”

Ducati Team Press Release
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Repsol Honda Review Austin MotoGP Race

Marc Marquez has completed the perfect weekend in Austin, having led every session, taken pole (with a new lap record), recorded a new fastest race lap and crowned it with a victory this afternoon. His teammate, Dani Pedrosa, also contributed to the fantastic Repsol Honda spectacle with a strong second place 16.8 seconds ahead of third place finisher Dovizioso.

Starting on pole for the 11th time in just 20 MotoGP starts Marc, as last season, was once again the only rider to choose the hard rear Bridgestone tyre. He had his best start in the premier class, only beaten in the first corner by Lorenzo who made an uncharacteristic jump start - forcing him into the pit lane for a drive through penalty - and promoting Marc back up to first by the end of the first lap.

Once out in front, he never looked back. He set a new race lap record on lap three with a time of 2'03.575 (beating his time of 2'04.242 in 2013) and went on to win the race comfortably, apart from a final corner scare on the last lap when he briefly lost concentration, and finished four seconds in front of his teammate. Dani, starting from second on the grid, was also unfazed by Lorenzo’s mistake and slipped in behind Marc as the Repsol Honda duo ran away from the race leaving them untouchable.

With this result, Marc has become the first rider to win the first two races of the year from pole in the premier-class since Repsol Honda’s Mick Doohan in 1995. Repsol Honda riders have now won the last nine MotoGP races in the USA. The last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the USA was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010.

Marc Marquez:
"I'm very happy! I got a really good start, but when I saw Jorge overtake me off the line at first I was a little worried, but then I saw that he had jumped the start. It was a different race to previous ones because I led from start to finish; although it might seem easier that way, it is tough because you have to maintain concentration. It was a perfect weekend and gives us plenty of confidence, although we are aware that the coming races will be different. I know that the race was a little boring for the fans, but sometimes these types of races are good for a rider. Let's hope that the next one is more exciting!”

Dani Pedrosa:
"It was a tough race as Marc was that little faster than me and although I tried to improve with every corner, it was too difficult to gain ground on him and the distance between us increased with every lap. In the end, he was too far away from me. I didn't have anyone behind me either, so I just kept up my pace as best I could. I learnt a few things in this race and we will try to apply them and make the maximum improvement possible, in order to be able to put up more of a fight next time”

Repsol Honda Team Press Release
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NGM Forward Racing Review Austin MotoGP Race

After the great result scored yesterday in qualifying, Aleix couldn’t make a good start, loosing the contact with the front group.  He struggled with the chattering and preferred to be a bit conservative to finish the race and getting some good points. The Spaniard is now 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 his team mate, 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 NGM Forward Racing team leaves Texas in 4th position of the Constructor and Team classification.

Aleix Espargaro - 9th
“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”.

Colin Edwards - Retired
“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”.

NGM Forward Racing Press Release
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LCR Honda Review Austin MotoGP Race

The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas got underway at 2pm local time in hot but uncertain conditions (with a 40% chance of rain) with Marquez gaining his second seasonal victory followed by Pedrosa and Dovizioso. 

LCR Racer Stefan Bradl, who started from the third spot on the grid, was a great competitor and made the most of his RC213V to get the third place on the podium but some front tyre problems prevented him to finish the 21-lap race behind the Repsol duo. 

Stefan Bradl: 
“First of all this race was a bit strange because of the jump-start of Lorenzo and in the beginning I struggled a bit to find my pace. I had to battle with Rossi and Ducati riders in the first laps and it took me some time to get out of that for finding my speed. After that I could go, but honestly we had a big problem with the front tyre as it dropped down too fast. I had to slow down and it was impossible for me to catch Dovizioso. The tyre performances throughout the weekend were good but in the race we had a very big problem and I think it’s the same for many riders right now. I smelled the podium today and it’s difficult to accept the defeat but we can be happy anyway because we did a very good job”.

LCR Honda Press Release
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