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Bumps still an issue at COTA as MotoGP weekend approaches

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Austin: Riders doubtful of COTA bump fix

https://www.crash.net/motogp/news/917399/1/riders-doubtful-cota-bump-fix

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."

 

 

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After COTA repairs, MotoGP riders hope 'Horsepower Rodeo' is less bumpy
https://www.statesman.com/sports/20190411/after-cota-repairs-motogp-riders-hope-horsepower-rodeo-is-less-bumpy

The article incorrectly states that "The section including Turns 9, 10 and 11 was fully repaved". In fact, the repave did not include Turns 9 or 11. Only Turn 10 was repaved.

As for the Statesman labeling as 'theories' the comments that the bumps might be caused by the soil conditions, that's a fact, not a theory. It's not the weather or F1 cars as COTA continues to suggest LOL.

“It’s really bumpy and sends you in many directions, kind of like a rodeo,” said Marc Márquez, explaining the rustic helmet design he’s rocking this week for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.

Though the Spaniard has ridden the bumpy Circuit of the Americas track to six straight victories in Austin, even the “King of COTA” had some stern words during the pre-race press conference Thursday when riders were asked about efforts to improve the problems.

...

“I checked a little bit, and I know that they did a few modifications,” Márquez said. “They didn’t fix what we asked from the safety commission. In the first practice we will see what is going on with the track.


“Of course, this track is quite bumpy. One of the most difficult tracks in this aspect of the calendar. Sometimes it’s disappointing because it’s one of the best layouts. We hope that they did a great job, but tomorrow we will see.”
...

In 2017 multiple riders, including Rossi, used the comparison of a motocross track. As for why the bumps exist and why they’re so hard to get rid of, opinions vary. Some point to the presence of F1 and the high downforce cars from that series inflict on the surface. But COTA is far from the only track to host both.

The most popular theory is the one that Australian rider Jack Miller of Pramac Racing floated Thursday.

“I think it’s got to be something to do with the ground around here,” he said. “It looks like it’s 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.

“I’m interested to see the work that they’ve done this year if it’s an improvement or it’s just trying to patch another job and it’s not that great.”

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NOTE from Nick: : Received this from a friend who has been directly involved in Motorsports for 50 years.

For what it’s worth, the Indycar event at COTA was a disaster for traditional motor racing fans. To make a long story short, the two IndyCar events I attended in Houston were immeasurably better than COTA, and that says a lot from the guy who always said that Indycars are always better on natural road courses. The racing was great but I watched it from home since the “wandering around” talked about in the article was severely restricted by the COTA structure set up for general admission attendees. I attended on Friday and there was a lot of talk about how expensive it was. Imagine my shock when I got inside and saw that general admission was only allowed to watch from the hillside near turn 1 and the hillside exiting the triple apex turn by the tower.  All other viewing areas required a reserved seat and that was not clear before purchasing the ticket. 

I told my son, “It’s not Road America, it’s not Mid Ohio and it’s not Barber Motorsports Park! Hell, it’s not even the Astrodome parking lot!”  Great work Epstein, only people like you could destroy Indycar’s spectacle.  This experience leads me to the belief that the Indycar streaming fee is a super bargain and I only wish I had known of the “COTA experience” before I laid out such a ridiculous amount of money.

PS. The racing undercard was only partially fun with the Indylights just about as spectacular as the actual Indycars. But the money they charged for the fans to watch Miatas drone around a big track, and Stadium Trucks to look just plain stupid was dismissive to fans. Stupid me, I expected to see Formula Mazda and 2000. Fooled me again. Just my two cents. What a debacle. 

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Hey Nick, I feel your friend's pain re: the GA experience at COTA. They are definitely not friendly to General Admission fans. However, it seems like someone gave him some bad info. GA is open all the way from where the tunnel crosses under the front straight up past turn 1, all the way down the east side of the track (T1-11), and around T11 to the premium RV lot. Then it picks up again at T16 & 17, then again at 18-20. It was probably a clueless or misinformed temp worker, as practically everyone you see on a race day there works for some temp agency. It's a rare thing to actually see someone who works for COTA. It's sad that they won't get better workers at the facility and educate them in a way that's helpful to the fan experience, but that's COTA for you.

I feel bad that his trip to COTA was ruined by that kind of bad service. We hear about things like this over and over and over again. People say we're anti-COTA, but we aren't. We want people to come here and have a good time in Austin and enjoy the racing at the track. We try to help people do that as much as we can, because COTA's certainly not going to do it.

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By the way, the bump issue was even worse than the riders expected...

The track's in bad shape.

v957ztnmcyr21.jpg?width=960&crop=smart&a

 

Riders this year talked about bumps forcing their butts off their seats and their feet getting knocked off the pegs at high speed on the back straight. Then there was Aleix Espargaro, who broke both lock stops at over 200 mph:

Here's Espargaro & Danilo Petrrucci after Friday practice this year. They aren't talking about ripples in the braking zone.

Quote

 

The real danger is in the straight, the Spaniard feared.

“In the straight in sixth gear it’s super difficult to maintain the throttle open. It’s very dangerous and we are one-by-one. I don’t want to think about what’s going to happen in the race.” He had broken both steering lock stops down the back straight, as the front end shook violently, he said.

Danilo Petrucci agreed with Aleix Espargaro. “I think this doesn’t reach the standard for a MotoGP track,” he said after FP1. “I mean, it’s unbelievable why we are riding here.”

“The track and the circuit in general is unbelievable in a positive sense, but the asphalt is unbelievable in a negative sense. It’s a shame, because it could be very, very much faster, but you have to ride trying to deal with the bumps.”

Isle of Man vs. Circuit of the Americas

The bumps were now so bad that he could not keep the throttle pinned down the back straight, the factory Ducati rider said.

“The main problem is that we checked the data from last year, and in some parts we were able to keep the throttle open, this year it is impossible. The risk is that on that part, you change gear, and if you hit the limiter when the bike jumps, when the rear tire jumps, and if you hit the limiter too much, the problem is that you can break your engine.”

 

This is the part that COTA should be most worried about - how quickly the track has become so bumpy.

Rossi & Jack Miller:

Quote

 

"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.

"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."

 

Dovizioso: It's bumpy everywhere. Not sure if it can be fixed without a total rebuild...

Quote

 

"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."

 

 

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