I am an ordinary guy who enjoys riding motorcycles. I love riding all makes and models. I love short rides, long rides, and multi-day road trips. I post reviews about motorcycle gear, motorcycles, roads, restaurants, sights, gadgets and more. The Motorcycle Facts,Trivia and History page has a lot of good info. Be safe and enjoy the ride, Oz.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MotoGP at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX

The ultimate motorcycle racing is MotoGP and it is a blast!  Austin, Texas hosts the only MotoGP round in the USA and it is a fantastic event.
Cota day 1, waiting for practice sessions to start
April 10-12, 2015 was the 3rd year for MotoGP at COTA in Austin, Texas.  I attended the first MotoGP in 2013 as a spectator.  This year my son and I attended the races as volunteer track workers.  Wow! what an experience.  There was the added bonus of MotoAmerica's SuperSport and Superbike/Superstock classes also racing that weekend.  A total of 5 classes to enjoy.
Richard and I ready for action
Not only did we get to see the world's best sportbike riders, we got to see them up close both on the track and in the paddock.  No crowds to disrupt the view of the races, plenty of space to move and be comfortable and drinks and meals delivered to our location.
 The sound and the speed is amazing - first practices of day 1
We asked to work together and to be track marshals.  Our duties included track inspection each morning and between races/practices and assist riders that go down or have mechanical problems in our assigned area.  Otherwise, watch and enjoy the races.  We saw several riders go down, but only one slid to a stop in our area for us to help.  Most of our work was removing rocks and debris from the track.  The rider we helped sure was young, not sure he had started shaving!  He was on a Moto3 (250cc) bike.
Day 2 - helping Moto3 rider after a high side on our corner
Volunteering was a full 3 day commitment with morning check-in between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m.  Breakfast and drinks were furnished each morning.  Parking was free and transportation to and from our track station was provided.  Each station had a cooler with water and soft drinks.  At various times the drink wagon (a side by side ATV) would stop by and make sure we had drinks and/or ice.  A box lunch from Jason's Deli was delivered at lunch time and on Friday and Saturday after the races a dinner was provided at the volunteers tent.
Amazing lean angles
Friday a track parade lap for volunteers and certain other groups was an option.  Due to other commitments we did not participate, but will next year.  We heard is was great and riders hit speeds close to 70 mph!

Saturday there were more practice sessions and the qualifying sessions.  The MotoGP qualifying session saw Marc Marquez display his competitiveness with a remarkable sprint back to his garage to his 2nd bike, after 1st bike mechanical problems, and then set a COTA track record as he qualified for the pole position.

For the Sunday races we were moved to corner 2.  We could see the big hill immediately after the start and the tough corner #1 before the riders headed down the hill to corner 2.  What a great view! The races on Sunday had some longer breaks in action which allowed us to visit the pits.  With our stylish (ha ha) track volunteer outfits we were able to walk though the pits (where spectators were not allowed).
Walking the pits Sunday morning
We were able to take photos of the bikes and even saw a few of the riders including Marquez.  We got really close and watched as crews finalized the bikes for the races.
 #99 Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha Movistar bike getting ready to race
 Looking up the hill to turn 1 Sunday morning and waiting for the fog to lift
 Rider and bike waiting for the fog to lift and the races to begin
 Rossi's bike getting final touches
 Grandstands beginning to fill
Marquez's #93 ready to roll

  #46 ,Rossi, has both bikes ready to go, one with racing slicks one with rain tires
 Nice bike and someone pointed out there were umbrella girls in the background - coincidence I am sure
 Nicky Hayden's bike - the lone American
The MotoGP race concluded with Marquez (Honda) winning his 3rd consectutive COTA race (there have only been 3) with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) taking 2nd and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) finishing 3rd.  After the checkered flag while the riders were taking a final lap Dovizioso ran out of fuel and coasted to our turn, stopping so we could push his bike off the track and he could catch a ride back to the podium.  Pretty cool to see his bike up close.  They are so light due to the carbon fiber and other advancements on racing bikes.
2nd place Dovizioso's bike waiting pickup after the final race
We are looking forward to volunteering again next year.  The days were long, the vantage point was awesome, we were well taken care of and we got in without a ticket!  If you enjoy motorcycle racing I would recommend volunteering at least once.  You get a new perspective.

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