Espargaro: "Dangerous" COTA "not at the level of MotoGP"

Aprilia MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro has slated the condition of the Circuit of the Americas track, describing the Texan venue as "super-dangerous" following Friday's two practice sessions.

Espargaro: "Dangerous" COTA "not at the level of MotoGP"

The degrading asphalt at the Austin track has been a discussion point during MotoGP's previous visits, with attempts to smooth the notoriously bumpy surface with diamond-grinder trucks ahead of last year's Grand Prix of the Americas widely deemed to have failed.

Further attempts to mitigate the bumps for this year's event likewise appeared to have made little difference, with riders still struggling with bumps in the first two sectors of the track in particular. 

"Super-dangerous," said Espargaro when asked for his opinion on the state of the asphalt. "I never rode on a track like this. It’s not at the level of MotoGP, not at all. I don’t think we can race here one more year with these conditions, absolutely no way.

"Super-bumpy, especially in many corners, but more or less in the corners you can handle it. Corner two is disaster, but if you lose the front you are at 120, 130km/h, but in the straights, sixth gear, it’s super-difficult to maintain in one straight the throttle open.

"It’s very dangerous and we are [riding] one by one. I don’t want to think about what’s gonna happen in the race. It’s super-dangerous and for me this track is not at the level of MotoGP.

"The grip is not that bad, we ride at circuits with a lot less grip. But the bumps? Come on, this is not motocross. It’s MotoGP, so yeah, too much. [On the back straight] the bike is shaking like crazy at more than 300km/h. If somebody crashes there…"

Espargaro said the only solution would be for COTA to undertake a full resurfacing, although he's ensure whether his fellow riders will agree in Friday evening's Safety Commission meeting.

"It’s difficult to know what other riders will think about it," he said. "For sure one or two riders will say the track is perfect, and the other 20 riders will say there’s no way to race here, I’m completely sure.

"This place is fantastic, but they need to re-asphalt. If some corners are bumpy, you manage, but on the straight, at more than 300km/h, it’s a matter of safety."

LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow added that while the bumps give the track "fantastic character", it also makes things dangerous.

"The problem is, I rode here in 2013 [the first year of MotoGP at COTA], the surface was amazing to ride. Now it is getting stupid.

"Yes, it adds fantastic character, some of the places where you have to manage a lot and the bike is shaking and stuff like that, it makes riding a MotoGP bike thrilling. But it is dangerous as well, there are no two ways about it. 

"I would like it to be resurfaced. [There are bumps at Turns] 2, 10, 11, the back straight, and then 15, 16, 17. It is bumpy. The straight is mad."

Additional reporting by Charles Bradley
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda

Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

shares
comments
Austin MotoGP: Vinales deposes Marquez in second practice

Previous article

Austin MotoGP: Vinales deposes Marquez in second practice

Next article

Marquez could feel difference with Honda winglet

Marquez could feel difference with Honda winglet
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Event Americas GP
Drivers Aleix Espargaro
Teams Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Author Jamie Klein
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Prime

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come...

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return? Prime

Where does Espargaro sit ahead of Marquez's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Prime

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021
Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash Prime

Why MotoGP's stewards must revisit Miller and Mir's Losail clash

Despite Suzuki’s decision not to appeal against Race Direction’s refusal to penalise Jack Miller following the incident with Joan Mir in Losail, something must be done to avoid a repeat of such an incident, which could have easily ended in tragedy

MotoGP
Apr 6, 2021
Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP Prime

Why MotoGP’s top gun looks more dangerous at the Doha GP

Lightning hasn't struck twice for Maverick Vinales since 2017 and his wayward form of recent years makes predicting how he'll fare each MotoGP race weekend tricky. But fresh from his Qatar GP win, Vinales looks like an even more dangerous prospect for the Doha GP following an intriguing Friday practice.

MotoGP
Apr 3, 2021
Why MotoGP’s new Amazon Prime series is long overdue Prime

Why MotoGP’s new Amazon Prime series is long overdue

OPINION: MotoGP is getting its own version of Drive to Survive on Amazon Prime at some point in the near future. It was news welcomed by the grid’s leading riders. And following the impact DTS has had on Formula 1, MotoGP desperately needs the same boost.

MotoGP
Mar 31, 2021
The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack' Prime

The key changes behind the latest 'return of the Mack'

Maverick Vinales’s authoritative victory at the MotoGP season opener came during a period of personal and professional change for the Yamaha rider. Can it be the springboard for a title challenge?

MotoGP
Mar 29, 2021
Why Lorenzo needs to ditch social media and enjoy retirement Prime

Why Lorenzo needs to ditch social media and enjoy retirement

OPINION: Jorge Lorenzo's status as one of the greatest MotoGP riders of all time is hard to dispute. But his constant social media spats with fellow riders and insistence on listing his achievements to his detractors are running the risk of tarnishing a legacy he worked hard to create.

MotoGP
Mar 20, 2021