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Saturday April 20, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday April 26, 2013 MYT 12:24:13 AM
AUSTIN: Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, who got off to impressive starts at the season-opening Qatar race, will be aiming for another one-two finish at tomorrow’s maiden MotoGP race in Austin.
Spain’s Lorenzo won the season-opener at the Losail track earlier this month. Pole-sitter Lorenzo was followed across the line by Rossi in his first race for Yamaha since returning to his old team from Ducati.
“Qatar was stunning for us. A great start of a really competitive season,” said reigning world champion Lorenzo. “Just the first race of a long season.”
Tomorrow’s Grand Prix of the Americas marks the debut of the newly-constructed, 5.51km Circuit of Americas track which will host the second event of the 2013 MotoGP season.
“Now we have to change our mindset,” said Lorenzo. “We visit a completely different track – not just the layout but also for the asphalt, the climate and some different circumstances.”
Circuit of the Americas now becomes the third US venue on the MotoGP calendar, along with Laguna Seca and Indianapolis. Laguna Seca is scheduled for July while Indianapolis takes place in August.
Said Rossi, “Austin will not be an easy race, but the podium in Qatar is giving us extra motivation.”
“The (Austin) track layout is very special: there is some downhill and uphill and the first braking zone is very technical.”
Lorenzo has a five-point lead over Rossi in the championship race with 17 of 18 races to go.
Lorenzo and Rossi could have an advantage tomorrow as they were part of a small group of riders who were given three-day access to the new circuit last month.
“The Austin track has a very long straight and several corners in first gear where you need good acceleration and traction, Lorenzo said.
Nicky Hayden is one of three American riders in the MotoGP field as the USA now becomes only the second country, after Spain, to host three or more events on the schedule.
The Ducati Team rider is looking to impress the home crowd.
“I hope to be at my best for Austin,” said 2006 world champ Hayden. “Having three Grands Prix in my home country almost seems like a dream to me.”
Hayden and fellow American Ben Spies also checked out the track in mid-March. The other US racer is Colin Edwards, who rides for NGM Mobile Forward Racing.
Lorenzo’s Yamaha team got a scare early on Thursday morning when a fire broke out in an adjacent building to their main garage.
The fire resulted in the MotoGP machines and the team’s equipment being heavily doused in water and fire retardant materials from the sprinkler system.
“Fortunately it doesn’t look as bad as we initially thought,” said team director Massimo Meregalli. — AFP
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