Make no mistake; I am an unapologetic Valentino Rossi fan. So while I was screaming at my living room tv when he won the opening round of Qatar, it hit me that I’d finally get to see the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) live just 2 weeks later in Texas.
Friday, April 10
My girlfriend and I arrived at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) around noon on Friday. It was calling for rain all weekend and we had just driven through quite a bit on our way to the track from the airport. Friday was all practice sessions for Moto 3, Moto 2, and MotoGP. The MotoAmerica guys (and gal) have limited practice and qualifying. We spent most of the afternoon checking out the vendors and manufacturers displays in the support paddock, drinking a few over-priced beers and checking out the track itself which is a top-notch facility.
Saturday, April 11
We arrive back at the track around 9:30am to ensure we get to see the 3rd MotoGP practice session. The top 10 finishers in the session move straight to Q2 in the afternoon. Rossi is safely in the top 10.
In MotoGP Q1 Andrea Iannone on the Ducati and Maverick Vinales on the Suzuki are the quickest around COTA and get the final 2 spots in Q2.
MotoGP Q2 was something to witness! Iannone moved up to 7th on the grid. However, the story of the afternoon was none other than Mark Marquez. With only minutes left in the session Rossi in3rd, Lorenzo 2nd and Dovi holding onto pole position, Marquez has a mechanical failure on the front straight. He parks his bike, climbs the wall, sprints back to the pit to get his backup bike and then lays down the fastest lap of the day and a new COTA record, 2m 2.135s…simply amazing!
We had a dreary MotoGP qualifying session but the skies darken and then clouds rolled in before the start of the MotoAmerica Supersport race.
While I had my pon—, um cloak of invisibility to keep me dry, the riders didn’t. We watched nasty spill after nasty spill with Josh Herrin’s possibly being the worst. The rear of his bike came around to meet the front as he high-sided and then the rider behind him crashed nearly hitting him. It was definitely some exciting racing and I hope MotoAmerica is successful. We need great racing here in the U.S.
No disrespect to MotoAmerica, Moto 3 or Moto 2 but MotoGP is the SHOW. Rossi was 10th in warm up Sunday morning but I didn’t put much stock into it. When we arrived at the track that morning it was so foggy they had to delay warm ups due to low visibility. By the time the race started at 2:00, the clouds had burnt off, the sun was out and it was HOT! We were ready for the race….except the track wasn’t. I’m still not sure what happened but somehow water ended up on the track under one of the bridges so the race was delayed nearly 40 minutes. (Time for another beer)
Once the green flag is dropped, Dovi shoots out to the lead. However, we all knew how this was going to end…with a Marquez win which is exactly what happened. On paper, COTA is one of Rossi’s worst tracks so I was ecstatic that he finished 3rd and kept his points lead in the championship.