Travis Willis has dreams of getting a prosthetic leg so he can go back to riding dirt bikes.
That kind of dedication to motorsports is something many of the adrenaline junkies in Austin this weekend can relate to.
Willis is the owner of Team FMX, a traveling motocross stunt show. He brought his act to Circuit of the Americas, where it is performing for the fans attending the MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a small little fair or a major facility like this,” said Willis, who walks with a noticeable limp from a bad crash. “It’s two wheels and a throttle. A bunch of motor heads.”
Trevor Cartmill and Geoff Gaskin are the riders performing, treating fans to a series of backflips, whips and other tricks off a ramp next to turn 12. You won’t catch them racing at high speeds, though. It’s too risky.
“These are a lot more wild than we were,” said the 26-year-old Cartmill, a former dirt bike racer. “I would never want to go 150-plus on any kind of bike. These guys are gnarly. It’s fun to watch, but that’s all I would do.”
Wet, dry, wet: Moto3’s Jorge Martin has been as dominant as anybody in any class this week. The 20-year-old from Madrid was fastest two of three practice sessions, just missing in the third, and then he ruled qualifying with a fast lap of 2:18.629.
“It was a bit confusing because it started wet, dried up some, then got a little wet again,” he said. “I didn’t know whether the track was dry or wet. I almost crashed two times before getting the pole.”
The No. 88 Del Conca Gresini rider was half a second quicker than fellow Spaniard Aron Canet and nearly eight-tenths better than Great Britain’s John McPhee.
Prince of COTA?In Moto2, Alex Marquez grabbed the pole position with a fastest lap of 2:10.588. The Spaniard was two-tenths of a second faster than British rider Sam Lowes. Mattia Pasini of Italy will join them on the front row.
Marquez is the brother of Marc Marquez, who will be gunning for his sixth straight victory at COTA in MotoGP.
Joe Roberts, the only American on the grid, will start 27th.
Hayden Hill: COTA is honoring former American MotoGP standout Nicky Hayden with a track memorial. He lost his life at age 35 last May in a bicycle accident. In his honor, COTA painted “#69” into the grassy area below the tower at turn 18, renaming it Nicky Hayden Hill.
The Kentucky Kid, as he was known, won an AMA Supersport title in 1999 and joined MotoGP in 2003, grabbing a world championship in 2006.
Quick hitters: Honda riders have ruled the last 14 MotoGP races in the States. … Only four current riders have won in the U.S.: Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. … The last two Moto3 winners in Austin are now in Moto2: Danny Kent (2015) and Romano Fenati (2016, ‘17).