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April 08, 2014

Bridgestone MotoGP Preview: Circuit of the Americas, Austin

After a successful debut event last year, MotoGP returns to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas with legions of American fans set to be thrilled after an intense season opener at Qatar.
 
The Circuit of the Americas packs every type of corner into its 5.515 kilometres making it one of the more technical venues on the calendar. Elevation changes, the longest straight in MotoGP, and a combination of slow and fast corners makes the circuit a real challenge for the riders and tires. The fast, sweeping corners require high levels of edge grip, while drive grip from the centre section of the tire is also important as there are many hard acceleration zones at this track. The riders approach a top speed of almost 350 km/h down the 1200 metre-long back straight, so excellent front tire stability is required for the hard braking zone into turn twelve.
 
Overall, the layout of the Circuit of The Americas places similar loads on both shoulders of the rear tires, yet the presence of high speed right-hand corners at turns sixteen to eighteen and turn six, means the temperature of the right shoulder of the rear tire reaches a higher level than the left side, even though there are more left-hand turns. Consequently, asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulders are offered for this circuit.
 
Open class and Ducati riders will be offered the soft and medium compound asymmetric rear slicks, while the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders can utilize the medium and hard compound rear. With front-end feel important through the faster sections of the track, the front slick options for this circuit – the soft and medium compounds – are selected for the best combination of grip and stability.

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