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MotoGP 2016: Round 3 - USA Preview

Concluding the tour of the Americas at the Circuit of the Americas, we're finally on to a track that I really like.

Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

Two rounds in, two race weekends full of controversy and bewilderment. We're not quite at "our new qualifying process means we see an empty track for five minutes" level, but it's not been the greatest start to the "new era" for Dorna and the FIM.

That said, it's another round, and another day. A big round, the last before the tour comes back to Europe. Isn't everything supposed to be bigger in Texas?

The Circuit

The Indianapolis GP is no more, with dwindling crowds mostly to blame. Reason for that? CotA.

I really like the Circuit of the Americas. I like the cars on it, and I love the bikes on it. Love it.

It's one of those rare things - a new track which is good to watch racing on. It's very safe, but also very challenging.

In the news

Decision time for Jorge

Jorge Lorenzo is involved in a tug-of-war between Yamaha and Ducati, and where he goes will affect the entire field. Ducati say they have been talking to him, but that he's not the only free agent available - Marc Marquez's name was mentioned.

When Lorenzo makes his intentions public, it's going to have a domino effect on the rest of the field. If he goes to Ducati, Maverick Viñales is tipped to replace him at Yamaha. Andrea Iannone is supposedly the subject of interest from Suzuki, should he leave Ducati, while Aleix Espargaro's seat isn't safe on the blue beauty.

While it's almost unthinkable to imagine Marquez leaving Honda, the same was thought of Valentino Rossi before he left to join Yamaha, and again when he left Yamaha to join Ducati. Dani Pedrosa isn't nailed on for the second seat either, with some fanboy hope that he may take the empty KTM seat alongside Bradley Smith.

Tech 3, Smith's current employers, also have a blank canvas to work with. Pol Espargaro isn't exactly setting the world on fire this year, and isn't guaranteed a spot. Two satellite Yamaha rides up for grabs, as well as a potential Ducati ride, if Andrea Dovizioso decides he wants to try something new.

Crazy Joe's got some 'splaining to do.

Andrea Dovizioso is not happy with his team mate Iannone for the above crash, costing Dovi 20 points and spoiling a good weekend in Argentina.

Iannone is quoted on Crash.net:

"I'm okay. I'm just disappointed," Iannone said. "For sure I worry for the team and my team-mate Andrea. It is a very difficult because, yes, I went down and touch Andrea. Both me and Dovizioso would have been on the podium so to finish the race in this way is unbelievable.

"I didn't brake too late. I braked in the same point, but I stayed a little bit more inside because I had Andrea on the outside... I've been in Race Direction. But for sure I will say sorry to Andrea. Fortunately, I have a good relationship with him.

Although Dovi may not feel the same about him:

"We worked really hard in the last two years and we really created a good bike together and to lose the points like this is unacceptable," he added.

"I didn't know if Iannone was there or Valentino [on last lap] but when I crash I knew it was Iannone and I can expect something like this."

Angry Argie Riders

Bradley Smith isn't happy. He feels Michelin's decision to pull their rear tyre options was solely for the benefit of Ducati.

"The circumstances of today's race were too biased to one manufacturer that seemed to have problems,"

"That's what I believe why the other manufacturers need to fight against the tyre company because to take away our strength of being strong at the end of races and basically hand the perfect scenario to the red bikes is hard to deal with.

"OK, they weren't winning today but a lot of the satellite riders took valuable positions off us that I don't believe they would have in a normal race scenario.

"It's something that needs to rectified because I complained of a front issue all weekend. I believed it was a safety issue but because it does not explode it's not a safety issue.

"It's something that I believe the organisers need to look into a bit more seriously but it won't change overnight."

One Ducati rider who wasn't happy was Scott Redding.

His bike suffered a mechanical problem on Sunday, but not before Jack Miller had....annoyed him somewhat.

"I'm disappointed because we made a good race considering the problem we had,"

"We made good of a bad weekend but it just wasn't enough. Something had to come and get us again which was quite annoying."

"The start was OK. F**king Jack [Miller] fighting with you for no reason. That's why we lost the first guys originally. Then I went into turn one deep and got caught up with that crash with [Cal] Crutchlow and [Aleix] Espargaro and I was 17th or 18th. I managed to catch the group again.

"I made a great change. I think it was the second or third fastest in the pits. I was fast right out of the box. Pedrosa passed me but I think he only pulled three tenths on me on my out lap so it was really good in that area. I knew I was going to be faster, passed him and tried to make a gap. I was riding about 80 percent because there was too much of a gap in front to really do anything.

"I went into turn one and there was nada. I tried to reboot the engine three times; off, on, off, on. I had to come to an end. There was an opportunity to take some good points. We were sixth at the time. With what happened I would have been third. But fifth or sixth is where it was. It was just one of those weekends. There was the incident with the tyre. Then a f**k up in FP3 so I didn't go through to Q2."

"He can put the bike where he wants but we're going to lose time on other guys. You go into T1, there's no line there and he's just driving into the side of you. I'm like, 'Dude, come on!' Then you brake into turn two and he's trying to go round the outside. Into three and he's there and he goes on the inside and you pass him back on the straight.

"Then he tries to come back up the inside of you at seven and by that point the leading guys have put eight tenths on you. I knew he wasn't going to finish the race. He was riding like a f**king out of control lunatic and then he crashes again.

"I can help myself by not qualifying there. I just need to do it. I think when I qualify in the first three rows I'll be able to hold on to that front group easily. It's getting there is a bit frustrating because you try to recover, brake harder, make a mistake and recover again. It's just endless."

Lav-ing it

Eugene Laverty, on the other hand, was delighted with his weekend, and is now aiming for a top ten finish in the States.

"I think even at the start of the last lap I couldn't imagine fourth. It was a weird race. Barbera and Pol hit each other. When they rejoined I was between them. Then I overtook Barbera and I saw all that craziness. On the last lap there were just riders everywhere. I didn't know what position until I looked at the big screen and thought, 'What the hell!'

Marquez loves Austin

The championship leader heads to a track where he is unbeaten. Since making the jump to MotoGP in 2013, Marquez has won each race from pole. That said, he's not too complacent.

"We'll see how we manage in Austin this year. It's a track that I like, where I feel strong, and where I've always had good races and good fun," he said.

"That said, the track rewards strong acceleration, which hasn't been one of our strongest points so far this year, so we'll have to wait and see how we can manage the situation.

CoW update

I'm just going to quote Crash on this.

Circuit of Wales is confident it will be given the green light and signed-off by the Welsh government but concedes it is a 'critical 48 hours'.

The latest problem has broken out between the Welsh Government, Circuit of Wales developers and its financers on whether the investment of taxpayers' money is classified as state aid – which is illegal under European Union Law for such a project.

The Welsh Government is estimated to be investing £32m in the circuit, having already committed £17m with around £2m spent on the lengthy planning and public inquiry.

The issue was sparked by legal advice given to Welsh Assembly minister Edwina Hart MP which says the investment is considered state aid and therefore illegal.

Circuit of Wales lawyers have duly denied this, pointing to the project providing up to 6,000 new jobs in the Blaenau Gwent area, but without Hart signing-off the project could collapse entirely.

Read more at this link.

And finally...

Talk has fired up again of Lewis Hamilton testing a MotoGP bike - and Mercedes have given him permission. Come to the light Lewis, it's better here. We have cake.

Last time out

Miss Argentina? So did I. DVR is a miracle. Read up about it in round two's Burnt Rubber.

Weekend viewing times

BST Session MotoGP Moto2 Moto3
Fri FP1 15:55-16:40 16:55-17:40 15:00-15:40
FP2 20:05-20:50 21:05-21:50 19:10-19:50
Sat FP3 15:55-16:40 16:55-17:40 15:00-15:40
FP4 19:30-20:00 N/A N/A
Q1 20:10-20:25 21:05-21:50 18:35-19:15
Q2 20:35-20:50 N/A N/A
Sun WUP 15:40-16:00 15:10-15:30 14:40-15:00
Race 20:00 18:20 17:00