You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

COTA MotoGP notebook: One top rider has ‘score to settle’

Seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi holds down second place in this year’s standings, but he comes into Austin aiming to make amends for a misstep last year.

Rossi, of the powerful Movistar Yamaha team, crashed out last April at Circuit of the Americas after just three laps. It was an unusual development for a man who has a record 88 top-tier victories in the sport.

Let’s just say he’s motivated for the Red Bull of the Americas Grand Prix this weekend.

“I have an account to settle with this track,” said Rossi, a 38-year-old Italian. “In the warmup, I made a big step for a strong race, but unfortunately I made a mistake and it was over. This year I want to try to have a good race.”

Not that Rossi, trailing only teammate Maverick Viñales after two of 18 races, harbors any negative vibes about COTA.

“I’m happy to be in Texas,” he said. “Austin is a very difficult track, and I love riding here. I also really like the atmosphere at the American circuit and I come to this place always very happy. I’m confident in my bike and in my team.”

Bounceback II: Another Italian embarking on the COTA redemption tour is Andrea Dovizioso. Unlike Rossi, Dovizioso was the victim of a wayward Dani Pedrosa on the 15th lap in Austin last year.

“I’ve always done well at COTA,” he said. “In 2014 and 2015, I managed to get onto the podium. Last year things were going really well until I was hit by Pedrosa.”

Riding for a revived Ducati team, Dovizioso is third in the standings, even after a DNF in Argentina.

“COTA is a fantastic track, one of the best in the championship, and it has really different characteristics to the previous two in Qatar and Argentina,” he said. “If we want to get our season back on track, Austin is a great opportunity because I believe we can be really competitive.”

New gameplan: Alvaro Bautista explained how the Austin track will be quite a change from the one in Argentina, where his fourth-place finish was his best in three years.

“This is quite a different track with different demands,” the Spaniard said. “We need a good pace and a good set-up to fight for another top five.

“Austin has some hard braking and acceleration zones as well as some mixed sections with a variety of direction changes. It will be tricky to find a set-up there because when you get the bike working well in one sector, it tends to be compromised in another.”

Now that’s fast: Former world champion Kevin Schwantz of Westlake said he’s had a lot of chances to ride at 5-year-old Circuit of the Americas since retiring from competitive racing in the late 1990s.

“I was on an AMA Superbike, the GSXR 1000, probably closing 200 horsepower, going about 180-185 mph down the backstretch in 2014,” Schwantz said. “I’ve tested 2016 and ‘17 models of the GSXR at similar speeds here at COTA. The track is terrific. It’s got just about everything.”

Quotable: COTA chairman Bobby Epstein, who’s been on the back of Schwantz’s bike for hot laps around COTA, offers this thought about what fans will see this weekend: “MotoGP is the most exciting, nerve-racking on-track competition you’ll ever see. The racer’s bodies are so close to the pavement, and the forces seem to defy gravity.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Bohls: Near end of his career, Ginobili is more heart than spare part
Bohls: Near end of his career, Ginobili is more heart than spare part

The tributes came pouring in, unsolicited but totally accurate. Pau Gasol spoke of his teammate’s “intensity and willingness to sacrifice his body.” Kawhi Leonard raved about his friend’s “competitive nature.” Patty Mills? He referred to the “grandpa juice” that his elderly teammate brings to the floor...
NFL draft capsules for NFC teams 
NFL draft capsules for NFC teams 

LAST SEASON: 49ers tied franchise record for losses, leading to organizational overhaul. Longtime GM Trent Baalke was fired, along with first-year coach Chip Kelly, and replaced by first-time GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Team struggled just about everywhere in 2016. Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick failed to provide strong quarterback play...
Distracting or dirty, NHL agitators can provide spark in playoffs
Distracting or dirty, NHL agitators can provide spark in playoffs

Late in the second period of a scoreless Game 3 of his first-round playoff series at Madison Square Garden, Montreal Canadiens forward Steve Ott went to work. With New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello hovering around Montreal goaltender Carey Price, Ott stepped in front of Zuccarello and without warning began tousling his long locks. Zuccarello...
The NFL draft's fastest rising QB chose football over baseball
The NFL draft's fastest rising QB chose football over baseball

At some point in the NFL draft, probably in Thursday night's first round, a team will formalize an improbable outcome and select Patrick Mahomes II. The improbability would not stem from Mahomes reaching the highest level of football. He posted astonishing statistics at Texas Tech, got all As in high school, stands a sturdy 6-foot-3 and possesses enough...
NFL draft capsules for AFC teams 
NFL draft capsules for AFC teams 

LAST SEASON: Following 0-14 start under first-year coach Hue Jackson, Browns barely avoided becoming only second team to lose all 16 games. Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam vowed to be patient with new front office and coaching staff and were mostly true to word as team underwent minimal offseason changes. Cleveland's biggest issue remains as it has been...
More Stories