He hasn't put in a full day on the Austin facility yet but Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi likes what he's seen.
Before he ate his lunch with members of his team, Rossi commented on the COTA facility. "I like the track. My first impression is that it is beautiful," he said. "It's very flowing and has a lot fast corners, change of direction, and it's fun with the bike. The three hairpins are very tight--they are there for the F1 overtake--for us they are a bit too slow. But in general the track is good, good corners. Good (elevation changes). I like, I like the track."
Like a lot of riders here at COTA, Rossi spent the morning riding around concerned that one wrong choice on entry would put him on his ear. He said that he was leery of the left hand side of the Bridgestone front when the temp was cool. "We have to understand which rubber to use but the asphalt and the surface doesn't have any rubber, it's very clean. So the grip is not fantastic. We need to put the rubber on the right place with MotoGP bike for better grip."
COTA's turn one seems like something straight out of 1960s GP racing. A rider hurtles into it in fifth or sixth gear and then is met with a steep uphill that has to be seen to be believed. "Turn one is unique, but it is also (is a) help," Rossi says. "It helps to stop the bike, it's beautiful. But for me the best is the turn two. The chicane there is very similar to Silverstone. Some portions of the track are like China and Istanbul. I think this will be a good track because there is the possibility of overtake. The braking also will be fun for MotoGP race. The rest of the circuit is fantastic. The atmosphere is very good and I think this will be a good place for a race."
Like lunch with Kenny Roberts, just being here at COTA is its own reward. The track is difficult and has many as yet unknown nuances. Putting in three days here will be very important when practice starts here next month. "Very important because the track is so difficult," he said. "It is technical and also a lot of blind corners. You have to know where to brake so this is an important test I think."
Rossi's workload for this afternoon? More laps. "We will work on the lines and now start working on the bike. We will increase the rear grip especially," he said.