Morbidelli and Lüthi ready for COTA challenge
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi head Stateside this week for the Grand Prix of The Americas in Austin, the third round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.
With a total of 20 corners, eleven left and nine right, the Circuit of the Americas track is both physically and technically demanding, but it's one where Morbidelli and Lüthi have enjoyed some success previously in the intermediate Moto2 class.
Morbidelli took his third consecutive win of the season in Austin last year on his way to the Moto2 World Championship title and he was joined on the podium by championship runner up Lüthi, who was also second in the race.
It will be a very different experience for the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammates this coming weekend however. As MotoGP rookies it will be the first time they've taken on the challenge of the 5.5km Circuit of the Americas aboard Honda's RC213V, the bike that has won every single one of the five MotoGP races held at the track since it was added to the calendar in 2013.
Morbidelli and Lüthi head to Texas looking to continue their adaptation to the demands of racing in the premier class at a track that differs greatly in character to both Qatar and Argentina, with the goal for both being a points scoring finish in Sunday's 20-lap Grand Prix of The Americas.
“The Circuit of the Americas is a nice track and it's a nice environment, so I'm looking forward to heading there this week for the third race of the season. I still need more laps on the RC213V, more riding and more work to understand the bike and the tyres better. In short we need more experience so, right now, every race is an opportunity to continue the learning process. COTA is a physically demanding circuit to ride, but it's also quite technical, so finding a good set up quickly will be very important.”
“The target from me in Austin is clear; to start where we finished the race in Argentina and to continue building on what we've learnt so far. The experience is more, the feeling is better and my confidence in the bike and the tyres is increasing with every lap so it's good we're back on track again so soon after the race in Argentina. Initially in Moto2 I struggled in Austin, especially the first part of the track where you flick from left to right so many times, due to the arm injury I sustained in 2013. But last year was a good race after finally finding a solution to give me a better feel for the track and I hope with the RC213V we can do the same. For sure it will be fun circuit on which to race the MotoGP bike.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Franco and Tom put in solid performances in the opening two races in Qatar and Argentina, but this weekend's race at the Circuit of the Americas will be the toughest test of the season so far. It's the first left hand track of on the calendar and compared to what's gone before it's very technical. Finding a workable set up early will be the priority, so that both riders have the maximum time to familiarise themselves with the unique demands of this track.”