Although MotoGP is new to Austin, it is not new to the United States. MotoGP currently races at two other legendary tracks: Laguna Seca in California, and Indianapolis in Indiana. Unlike Formula 1, MotoGP has a long history of successful American racers — currently Ben Spies, Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden.
Ben Spies on a Ducati, was the first American to win a GP last season since 2006. In 2010 he was MotoGP “Rookie of the Year.” He is from Dallas, so this will be his home Grand Prix. Colin Edwards on a Kawasaki, is a native of Houston, so this will also be as close to a home Grand Prix as possible for him. Nicky Hayden on a Ducati, was the 2006 MotoGP champion, and has been in MotoGP for over a decade now.
This weekend there will also be two American wild cards: Blake Young and Michael Barnes. Wild cards are used in MotoGP to help give local talent the opportunity to shine in front of their crowd against the sports elite.
Unfortunately none of the Americans enter the weekend as favorites, but hopefully the home Grand Prix advantage will create some surprises on behalf of the Texas natives. The three favorites going into the weekend are Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.
Watching the motorcycles race down the back straight at over 200 mph will be nothing short of impressive. In case that’s not enough to get the adrenaline rushing, racers will then be negotiating a series of tight turns in which they will rapidly go from grazing the ground with their left knee to their right one and back and forth a few more times before the end of the lap.
There are 24 riders in MotoGP, and with the race only lasting about 45 minutes, there should never be a dull moment. Two other classes of motorcycles will race before — the Moto2 and Moto3 — so there will be lots of action on track over the course of the weekend.
For those who are still debating whether or not to attend, this is definitely the most exciting event at COTA for the money. Three-day passes are $89 for general admission, and GA is far from second rate at COTA. It’s actually probably the best, because you don’t have to pick one place to watch the race. I would recommend walking around during the practice sessions Friday and Saturday to figure out what your favorite viewing point will be for the race.
There will also be a custom motorcycle show Friday and Saturday until midnight, located at 1100 East Fifth Street. Featured motorcycles will be presented by See See Motorcycles, Deus Ex Machina, Roland Sands, Shinya Kimura and one of my favorites Austin’s own Revival Cycles. The event is free and open to the public.
Everything from the weather, the racing series, and the ticket pricing should make this one of the best events of the year to attend at Circuit of The Americas.