This is the third successive year that a MotoGP Grand Prix has been held at the Austin circuit, and below is a selection of facts and stats related to this event:
In 2013 Austin became the fourth different circuit to be used for motorcycle grand prix racing in America. In total, there have been 26 previous grand prix events hosted in the USA: Daytona – 2, Laguna Seca – 15, Indianapolis – 7 and Austin – 2.
The same two riders have finished first/second in both the previous MotoGP races at Austin, Marc Marquez followed home by teammate Dani Pedrosa. Last year at COTA, Marc Marquez topped every practice session, qualified on pole with a new pole position record lap, led every lap of the race and set a new race lap record.
Third place finisher in the MotoGP race at Austin last year was Andrea Dovizioso – his first podium finish on the factory Ducati. The first Yamaha rider to cross the line last year in Austin was Bradley Smith, in fifth place.
Marquez won the MotoGP race in Austin last year by 4.124 seconds – his largest margin of victory in a MotoGP class, in a dry weather race.
Honda riders have won the last Ten MotoGP races in the USA. The last non-Honda MotoGP winner in the country was Jorge Lorenzo, at Laguna Seca in 2010. Last year in Texas, Moto3world champion Maverick Viñales took his first Moto2GP win, in only his second outing in the class. This win by Viñales made him the second youngest rider to have won in the Moto2 class, at the age of 19 years 91 days; the only rider who has won in Moto2 at a younger age is Marc Marquez, at the age of 18 years 87 days. Viñales returns to Austin this year in the MotoGP class riding a Suzuki, who have returned to compete in MotoGP full-time with a factory team for the first time since 2011.
Jack Miller won the Moto3 race last year in Austin, repeating his victory from the opening event of the year in Qatar, which was his first ever GP win. These two wins gave Miller the honour of becoming first Australian rider to take back-to-back GP wins in the lightweight class (125cc/Moto3) of grand prix racing. Last year in Texas Jack Miller started from pole for the first time in his grand prix career. It was the first pole in the lightweight class of Grand Prix racing by an Australian rider since Casey Stoner was on pole for the 125cc race at the Dutch TT in 2004.
At the GP of the Americas last year, 40-year-old Colin Edwards announced that 2014 would be his final season of racing before retiring.
Record books re-written at Qatar GP
The opening MotoGP race of the year in Qatar was significant in many ways in terms of records and milestones, and below are the details of the most significant:
This was the first grand prix event since the Chinese Grand Prix in 2005 that no Spanish riders were on the podium across the three GP classes.
The last time that none of the three championship tables were headed by a Spanish rider was following the Spanish GP at Jerez in 2009, then the tables were topped by: Valentino Rossi, Hiroshi Aoyama and Andrea Iannone.
For the first time since the Grand Prix of Valencia in 2011, none of the riders on pole position were from Spain.
The first all Italian MotoGP podium since the Japanese GP in 2006 at Motegi.
For the first time since 2003 there was no Spanish rider on the podium at the opening MotoGP race of the year.
After his win in Qatar Valentino Rossi heads the championship table for the first time since he won the opening race of 2010 in Qatar.
Valentino Rossi is the oldest rider to head the premier-class world championship table since Jack Findlay had joint-leadership of the 500cc world championship in 1977 with Barry Sheene, after Findlay had won the second race of the year in Austria – a race boycotted by many of the top riders.
Rossi is the oldest rider to win the opening premier-class grand prix of the year since Harold Daniell won the very first 500cc race counting toward the world championship title back in 1949 at the Isle of Man TT races.
Ducati had two riders on a MotoGP podium for the first time since the Aragon GP in 2010, when Casey Stoner won the race and Nicky Hayden finished third. A non-Spanish rider heads the MotoGP championship table for the first time since Casey Stoner topped the table following his win in Portugal in 2012.
The last time that the reigning MotoGP champion did not finisht on the podium at the opening race of the year was 2007, when the 2006 champion Nicky Hayden finished 8th in Qatar.
The MotoGP podium in Qatar was the first in the premier-class to include two Italian riders both riding for an Italian constructor since the Finnish Grand Prix in 1972 at Imatra, when Giacomo Agostini won the race and MV Agusta team-mate Alberto Pagani was second.
Jonas Folger won for the firsttime since moving up to the Moto2 class at the start of 2014. Following this win, Jonas Folger heads the world championship table for the first time in his career.
This was the first victory in the Moto2 class by a German rider since Stefan Bradl won at Silverstone in 2011.
Sam Lowes qualified on pole for the fi time in his GP career. This was also the first pole for Speed Up since Gabor Talmacsi was on pole at Estoril in 2010.
The Moto3 race in Qatar was the first all Honda podium in the lightweight-class of grand prix racing since the Rio Grand Prix in 1999. Alexis Masbou qualified on pole for the first time in his grand prix career, in what was his 141st grand prix start.
The first nine riders across the line in the Qatar Moto3 race were covered by just 0.909 seconds. Never before have the first nine riders across the line been separated by such a small margin (in races that have run to full distance): the previous smallest margin was at the Czech GP last year, another race won byAlexis Masbou, when ninth place finisher Alex Rins crossed the line 0.910 seconds behind the winner – just one thousandth of a second more than the race in Qatar.
Nicky Hayden scheduled to make his 200th MotoGP start
At the grand prix in Austin, Nicky Hayden is scheduled to become only the fourth rider to reach the milestone of 200 starts in the premier-class of grand prix racing. Hayden is the first American rider to reach this milestone, as shown in
the following list of the ten riders with most starts in the premier-class:
RIDER PREMIER-CLASS GRAND PRIX STARTS
Valentino Rossi 253
Alex Barros 245
Loris Capirossi 217
Nicky Hayden 199
Colin Edwards 196
Carlos Checa 194
Kenny Roberts Jr 167
Sete Gibernau 160
Jack Findlay 157
Dani Pedrosa 152
Grand Prix Racing Numbers
250 – At the Grand Prix of the Americas, Alex de Angelis is scheduled to make his 250th grand prix start. De Angelis, who made his grand prix debut at Imola in 1999 riding in the 125cc class, will be only the eighth rider in the 67 year history of motorcycle grand prix racing to reach the milestone of 250 GP starts, joining: Loris Capirossi, Valentino Rossi, Jack Findlay, Alex Barros, Angel Nieto, Brno Kneubuhler and Randy de Puniet.GrandPrixracingnumbers
200 – At the Grand Prix of the Americas, Thomas Luthi is scheduled to make his 200th grand prix start. Luthi is the third Swiss rider to reach this milestone, joining Bruno Kneubuhler (264 grand prix starts) and Stefan Dorflinger (223 grand prix starts).
88 – The win by Valentino Rossi in Qatar was the 88th victory in the MotoGP class by Italian riders since MotoGP became the premier-class of grand prix racing in 2002. This is one more win than Spanish riders have achieved in the MotoGP class over the same period.
43 years – Danny Kent’s third place finish in Qatar is the first podium at the opening race of the year for a British rider in the light-weight class of GP racing since Chas Mortimer finished second at the Nurburgring in 1972.
26 – Following his third place finish in Qatar, Thomas Luthi now holds the record for the most podiums in the Moto2 class with twenty six, one more than Marc Marquez.
24 – Axel Pons celebrates his 24th birthday on the day before practice starts at the Grand Prix of the Americas.
17.435seconds – The top ten riders across the line in the MotoGP race at Qatar were covered by just 17.435 seconds, which is the closest ever top ten finish in the MotoGP class since it was introduced as the premier-class of grand prix racing in 2002 (in races that have run to full distance).
8 – Valentino Rossi’s last two MotoGP wins have been achieved from 8th place on the grid, at the first race of the year in Qatar and in Australia last year. 6 – Alexis Masbou made up six places on the final lap of the Moto3 race in Qatar to win the race, the same as at the Czech GP last year when taking his first GP win.
5 – Marc Marquez has won on each of the five occasions that he has raced in the MotoGP class in America; at Austin and Indianapolis for the last two years and at Laguna Seca in 2013. Only once in these five appearances in MotoGP in America has Marquez not been on pole; at Laguna Seca in 2013 when he qualified in second place on the grid behind Stefan Bradl.
5 – The fifth place finish by Marc Marquez in Qatar is his lowest finishing position in a MotoGP race where he has not crashed and re-started.
Moto2 stats and facts
Tito Rabat has finished second in each of the previous two Moto2 races in Texas. Last year he qualified on pole for the Moto2 race in Austin; after getting pushed back to ninth on the second lap he battled his way back through the field to finish second.
Alex Rins is the only rider in the current Moto2 starting line-up to have won previously in Austin – the Moto3 race in 2013. Rins also finished 4th in the Moto3 race last year.
Mika Kallio finished third in the Moto2 race at Austin in 2013, and last year he finished fourth after qualifying down in 11th place on the grid.
There was a multi-rider crash at the first corner of the Moto2 race at Austin last year, involving; Josh Herrin, Luis Salom, Axel Pons, Nico Terol, Franco Morbidelli and Sam Lowes. With the exception of Luis Salom all of the riders managed to re-start and continue racing.
Dominique Aegerter took the final podium slot last year in Austin, after battling for the lead for much of the race with Xavier Simeon.
Championship leader Jonas Folger finished fourth in the Moto3 race at Austin in 2013. Last year he qualified in seventh place on the grid for the Moto2 race at Austin, and then crashed out on the fifth lap.
Xavier Simeon led the Moto2 race in Austin last year from the third lap up to lap thirteen, when he ran wide at Turn 1 and dropping back to fifth. He then crashed at the final corner on the penultimate lap when pushing to get back into podium contention.
Johann Zarco finished 6th in the Moto2 race two years ago in Austin, having started the race down in 17th place on the grid. Last year he was the second fastest Moto2 qualifier in Austin, but crashed out of the race on the second lap.
Thomas Luthi missed the race in Austin two years ago; he completed the first day of practice, but then withdrew from the event still suffering with injuries from a preseason crash. Last year he finished 6th in Texas.
Sam Lowes qualified in 17th place on the grid last year in Austin in only his second Moto2 race. He was then involved in the multi-rider crash at the first corner which dropped him back to 32nd place at the end of the first lap; he fought back through the field and eventually just missed out on scoring points, finishing in 16th place.
Moto3 stats and facts
None of the riders currently competing in the Moto3 class have won previously at the Austin circuit.
Two years ago in Austin the Moto3 race was stopped after twelve laps due to a heavy crash for Jasper Iwema. The race was re-started, with Alex Rins winning the shortened five-lap race.
Romano Fenati finished in second place last year in Austin, just 0.069 seconds behind race winner Jack Miller. Efren Vazquez took the final podium place in the Moto3 race last year at Austin, from second place on the grid.
Jakub Kornfeil, who has his 22nd birthday on the Wednesday before the grand prix in Austin, finished fifth last year in Texas – his equal best grand prix result of 2014.
Following his win in Qatar, Alexis Masbou will be aiming to take back-to-back GP wins for the first time and to become the oldest rider to win back-to-back races in the lightweight-class since Lucio Cecchinello in 2002.
Enea Bastianini finished second in Qatar after starting down in 21st position on the grid. This is the lowest qualifying position from which a rider has achieved a podium finish in Moto3 since Alex Rins finished 3rd at Le Mans in 2012 from 26th place on the grid. Last year in Austin, Bastianini finished 13th in – his first point scoring ride in the Moto3 class in only his second GP start.
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