Rossi says Austin track condition a "disaster"

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Rossi says Austin track condition a
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Apr 21, 2018, 9:39 AM

Valentino Rossi has labelled the condition of the Circuit of the Americas a "disaster" after two MotoGP practice sessions held on an increasingly bumpy and dirty track surface.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Pol Espargaro, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing, press conference
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda
Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing

Following complaints of severe bumps by riders last year, the Austin venue used diamond-grinder trucks to try and smooth out the track ahead of this year's MotoGP round.

However, the consensus among riders has been that these efforts have failed, with the surface still riddled with bumps and also covered in a fine layer of cement dust that has affected visibility.

Yamaha rider Rossi, who was fourth-fastest on Friday, said the situation at COTA had become "critical".

"It’s a disaster," said the Italian. "For me it’s the worst situation during all the season. You have three or four bumps that are very big.

"With our bike it’s difficult, because you have a lot of bumps on the straight, so the bike moves very much at more than 300km/h and it’s a critical situation.

"Last year we asked to do some improvements, they did something but unfortunately it didn’t work."

Asked where the bumps were worst, Rossi replied: "Turn 2, very bad, and Turn 10, big bumps.

"Back straight, after the hole, you go up, you go over the crest, [in] fifth and sixth [gears] the bike moves a lot because of big bumps. There are a lot of bumps in the braking [zone] also.

"Maybe the biggest one is Turn 18, before the last two lefts, the bodywork touches the ground, so it’s like motocross. Personally I like very much this track, but the bumps start to be a problem."

"They've made a terrible job"

Rossi's sentiments were echoed by LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who said organisers had done a "terrible job" in their bid to fix the bumps and had only made things worse.

"I don’t understand how we can come to a GP and it’s worse than last year, when they’ve tried to shave the bumps," said the championship leader. "They haven’t really done anything.

"It’s so dirty, and so bumpy you can’t imagine. I love this circuit, but it’s bad. It’s honestly bad that we now come to GPs and the circuit be in this shape.

"I think they’ve made a terrible job. They tried to make it better but they made it worse. I know last year was bad, and now it’s even worse.

"And it’s so dirty you can’t imagine. You can’t see down the back straight if you’re behind someone."

Aprilia rider Aleix Espargaro described the situation as "unacceptable", urging organisers to resurface the track, while Pramac's Danilo Petrucci was similarly scathing in his assessment.

"I think it's not safe to race in a track like this," said Petrucci. "We are in the world championship and a track like this I never found even in a national championship.

"Crashing for the bumps I think is [something] that maybe [Mike] Hailwood or [Giacomo] Agostini found in his career."

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont and Charles Bradley

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