Riders blast ‘joke, disaster’ COTA amid safety concerns ahead of MotoGP race

MotoGP riders say they will not return to the United States's COTA next year unless their concerns about the bumpy track surface are resolved.

Joan Mir - Suzuki MotoGP

MotoGP returned to US soil for the first time since April 2019 but it wasn’t a welcomed comeback for many of the riders, who labelled the Circuit of the Americas ‘dangerous’ due to its excessively bumpy surface.

Located just outside the Texan city of Austin, COTA is considered the United States’ most modern, state-of-the-art venue having taken over from both Laguna Seca and Indianapolis as America’s primary MotoGP event in 2013.

However, the time away from COTA has seemingly led to problems arising for the MotoGP riders, who didn’t hold back in their assessment of a track surface that has become so bumpy it has left some to claim it isn’t worthy of its spot on the calendar.

Defending champion Joan Mir says he will speak to the Safety Commission to find a solution.

"For sure there is some sort of solution in this case but it means money no? It is expensive and I don’t know if they can find a solution. 

"Here it looks like every three years they must resurface! I understand it is difficult but we have to find some solution because today…well…we have to find some measure. 

"We will speak seriously in the Safety Commission and we will see what the conclusion is."

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo was also less than impressed, saying the bumps make it akin to a Motocross track.

"It’s more or less a track that I used to race, to train with the motocross bike. But yeah, it’s much faster with the MotoGP bike so it’s really bad. 

“We talked (with safety commission) two years ago and said they need to resurface, but now it’s even worse. It’s just acceptable to race. I don’t know what to say. It is a joke.

"I mean the track is not a MotoGP track for me. For me it is a track to train. To make a race here - for one lap it is okay, but 20 laps you will see that for me there will be some bad moments. They told me that they see a lot of bikes are shaking in turn 10.”

Even Marc Marquez - who has a strong record at COTA and was fastest of all on Friday - admits the circuit isn’t in good shape.

"It's a circuit that I love and a layout I like, but the bumps are in the limit," he said. "I mean the condition of the surface is in the limit, because they are not real bumps, it's more like the surface is moving. It's so difficult."

Though this is the first proper flyaway event for MotoGP since Qatar at the top of the year, riders have said they will not compete at COTA again without significant changes.