Riders doubtful of COTA bump fix

MotoGP riders unsure how effective latest attempt to reduce COTA's bumps will be at this weekend's Austin MotoGP round.
Riders doubtful of COTA bump fix

One of the main question marks for riders and teams ahead of this weekend's Austin MotoGP is the effectiveness of recent bump reduction treatment at COTA.

The technical Texan circuit has been plagued by bumps in recent years. An initial attempt to grind down the worst of the ripples receiving a lukewarm reception one year ago, with further treatment for 2019.

"This track is quite bumpy. It is one of the most difficult tracks in this aspect of the calendar and sometimes it's disappointing because it's one of the best layouts. So we hope that they did a great job, but tomorrow we will see," commented reigning world champion and undefeated six time COTA winner Marc Marquez.

"They tried to fix last year but it was not good on the straight. It was full of dust," said Suzuki's Alex Rins. "We hope this year the dust disappears because it was a little but dangerous when you go close to someone."

Double title runner-up Andrea Dovizioso is among those that are sceptical of how much can be achieved without a full resurfacing.

"I'm worried it's not possible to really fix the problem that exists with the track. And that is very bad because I think it's one of the most beautiful tracks in our championship," said the Ducati rider.

"The problem is there are bumps everywhere and with the bike it’s very difficult to ride. Not just to be fast. Looks like the asphalt or the dirt under the asphalt moves almost everywhere. So it's difficult to fix if you don’t make a completely new preparation, I think."

As Dovi suggested, while F1 cars are typically blamed for excessive bumps on MotoGP circuits, many feel the geology of the area is the main factor.

"It's a great shame because the track is fantastic and also quite new, but suffers a lot about a bumps problem," said Yamaha's Valentino Rossi. "Maybe something happens from below [the surface].

"In three or four parts they are very big. In the last years they've tried to do something about the bumps but unfortunately they don’t improve. We have to check tomorrow and we hope that it's better."

"The track itself is not that old, as Vale says," Pramac's Jack Miller added. "We go to many tracks on the calendar that have a lot more years on them and are not that bumpy.

"I think it's definitely got to be to do with the ground around here. It looks like a lot of clay and if I remember correctly directly after the first year we were here they had a lot of rain, which could cause it to move.

"But the track was bumpy, especially the back straight, and then last year they ground it down and the bumps actually became bigger and longer. So I'm interested to see if the work for this year is an improvement or if it's just trying to patch another job and not that great."

The opening pair of MotoGP free practice sessions will be held at COTA on Friday.