'My feet came off' - riders ask for COTA changes

Full resurfacing unlikely, but riders hope critical areas for COTA bumps can be repaired for next year's MotoGP.
'My feet came off' - riders ask for COTA changes

The bumpy COTA surface came in for extensive criticism from MotoGP riders during the Americas Grand Prix weekend.

The Austin track is aware of the problem and, for the past two years, has made attempts to treat the bumps, alongside a recent resurfacing of Turn 10.

The bump treatment, essentially grinding down the peaks with heavy machinery, has received a lukewarm reception. However riders were pleased with the Turn 10 resurfacing and, with a full change of asphalt apparently not possible, are hoping that several other areas can be replaced prior to the 2020 round.

World champion Marc Marquez - who didn't blame the bumps for his fall from the lead of the race - outlined the work needed:

"There are three points which are very critical; especially Turn 2, then from 9 to 10, there's a big bump on the kerb, and then the back straight," he said. "These are the most critical points that they need to try to repair for next year."

Of those, it was Turn 2 that gave the biggest problem for debut MotoGP winner Alex Rins.

"I was suffering a lot at Turn 2. Depends on the line. But mostly at the end of the race when I was going through these bumps I was losing a little bit the front tyre. This starts to be dangerous," said the Suzuki rider.

"We already talked on the Safety Commission to do something for next year, because it’s a shame to come here in America on this nice layout and feel all these bumps."

Runner-up Valentino Rossi also praised the layout, but added that it's the worst circuit of the year for bumps.

"Like Alex said it’s a shame because the track is fantastic, the layout is great, but for the bumps is the worst track in all the season. Also today [in the race] is the same as Friday. We speak in the Safety Commission, but is not easy to fix so I think that we have to take the bumps."

Jack Miller, who completed the podium, revealed he suffered a tank-slapping scare in warm-up, similar to those caught on camera for Marquez along the back straight in qualifying.

"I almost killed myself this morning down the back straight. I didn’t really understand how Marc had that headshake yesterday [Saturday], but boy I got it this morning on the first lap," said the Australian.

"I thought it was game over. Just the wind was a little bit in the wrong spot. It started slapping on me and I literally had no idea what was going on. My feet came off. The brake lever was gone to the handlebar. I had to pull it like six times [to get the pads back to the disc].

"Like Alex said, I had the soft front [tyre, for the race] and going into Turn 2 you almost roll off early and have to get back on with the gas to then accelerate over the bumps, otherwise the thing gets all swapped out.

"But doing that you’re going through the most crucial part of the corner with the gas on, taking load away from the front. Towards the end of the race, I had three or four times on my elbow there.

"We were fortunate today. I think also in the race, to be honest, down the back straight I had quite a good opportunity to pass Cal there on the first lap, but I wasn’t going to pull out and try and pass with the wind and everything because the front wheel is bouncing up and down.

"When these bikes come past each other in close quarters, that’s the last thing you want at 340k an hour, 330k an hour. So definitely something needs to be done."

At that point Rins quipped that the issue was more to do with the potent top speed of Miller's Ducati: "This is not for the bumps. This is for the top speed. If you've got a Suzuki or a Yamaha…"

"…[then] less problem at the end of the straight!" smiled Rossi.

"My groin is hanging off now because my bike is so fast," responded Miller. "I've got to try and get us through that first sector and change of direction. I think I would have swapped with you halfway through the race."