If you’re sad about missing the US’s MotoGP stop for two years in a row, dry your tears. Once again, MotoGP is scheduled to return to the US, although with a much later date than originally planned.
The latest MotoGP calendar update has the US races scheduled for October 3, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Taking a look at the IMS Outdoors schedule, it seems the new-and-improved show circuit is also in Texas that weekend. IMS Outdoors runs at Texas Motor Speedway, near Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s about three-and-a-half to four hours away from COTA, meaning a committed rider should be able to make a pretty good weekend of it all.
COVID cancellation fallout
Why is the COTA round so late in the season? Of course, good ol’ COVID-19 is to blame. The 2020 round was cancelled last year, and then the 2021 round was postponed. It wasn’t looking terribly hopeful, really, but the US’s aggressive re-opening (at least in some states) seems to have convinced the MotoGP brain trust that it was safe to go ahead.
The GP schedule is very condensed now, but organizers have two weeks between the San Marino race in Italy and the COTA race, and then two weeks after the COTA round before the riders show down in Thailand, at Chang International Circuit. That should be enough to get all the bikes, riders, and other pieces from track to track, even in the world of COVID, but there’s probably not much room for error.
In other words: Don’t expect this to be a smooth ride, although hopefully there’s no last-minute cancellation this time.
Rossi’s last ride?
Why show up at COTA this year? Two reasons. First, it’s a great chance to tack on a visit to IMS Outdoors, and get a motorcycle sensory overload in a weekend. But second, this could be Valentino Rossi’s last year in MotoGP. Whether or not you think The Doctor is also the GOAT, there’s no doubt that he defines MotoGP for many riders, and it might be your last chance to see him race in person.
Plus, that late in the season, there’s a good chance the title race will be red-hot. Definitely a good visit to plug into your riding schedule!