Viñales arrives in the USA holding fourth place in the championship standings and beaming with his usual fiery determination. The Spanish rider counts the Circuit of The Americas as one of his favourite tracks and is eager to put the learnings from his Argentina experience to good use here.
When COTA was added to the MotoGP calendar in 2013, the then 18-year-old secured a strong second place in the Moto3 class. He followed this up with his first Moto2 race win in 2014. His best MotoGP finish at the American track was a fourth place, just off the podium, in 2016. He was unable to finish his first race on a Yamaha on American soil last year, but the solid pace he showed throughout the weekend suggests that he will be a strong contender also this time round.
Rossi currently sits in eighth place in the championship standings after scoring no points at the last Grand Prix. However, the nine-time World Champion is not a rider that should ever be ruled out. He and his team will pull together and give their 100% to make a strong comeback and turn their fortunes around.
The Italian acknowledged in the past that the COTA track has an interesting lay-out that’s not easy to master, but that makes riding there all the more fun for the Doctor. Through recent years he improved his performance at COTA, with a hard fought third place in 2015 and a second place in last year’s race as his best results so far.
The Circuit of The Americas was constructed in 2012 and was added as a permanent fixture on the MotoGP calendar the following year. The 5.5km-long track is run counter-clockwise, has 20 corners in total (11 left turns and 9 right turns), a longest straight of 1.2km and has a 41m-elevation change. Its tight hairpins, inclines, declines and fast straight make finding a well-balanced setting vital, but the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team is up for the challenge, in order to snatch places on the podium in front of the 120,000-capacity crowd.