Andrew Wheeler

MotoGP 2018 Visits Circuit Of The Americas

A photo essay from the Lone Star State

Since 2013, the MotoGP World Championship has settled at the Circuit of The Americas in Texas each spring to do battle on the 3.4-mile strip of asphalt just outside Austin. The undisputed king has been Marc Márquez, who has won all of the six Grands Prix held at COTA on his Honda RC213V. The circuit seems to suit the Spaniard and his Honda, but that doesn't stop the world's best riders from gathering every year to test themselves over 20 laps.

The 2018 edition was the third round of the championship, and the last of three “fly-away” races (including Qatar and Argentina) before the MotoGP circus returned to Europe for the meat of the season. Five MotoGP rookies—Thomas Lüthi, Franco Morbidelli, Takaaki Nakagami, Xavier Simeon, and Hafizh Syahrin—joined the ranks this year, trying to make the leap from the teeming waters of world-championship racing to household motorcycling name.

Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso’s helmet is his cocoon of peace and focus, and also a billboard for energy drinks, burgers, and plumbing.Andrew Wheeler
Bradley Smith
It’s KTM’s second full season in MotoGP, but ­despite deep lean (demonstrated here by Bradley Smith), the Austrian firm hasn’t seen as much progress.Andrew Wheeler
Thomas Lüthi
Swiss rookie Thomas Lüthi wheelies his Honda RCV part way down the back straight, where top speeds hovered around 215 mph. Welcome to the big show.Andrew Wheeler
COTA track

Circuit of the Americas is a racetrack but also a concert venue, and a soccer stadium is scheduled to open. It is a world-class use of $400 million.

2018 MotoGP World Championship, Round 3, Austin, Texas, 22 April 2018Andrew Wheeler
Hafizh Syahrin

2017 MotoGP RD2, Austin, Texas

Hafizh Syahrin, another rookie and the first Malaysian in MotoGP, leads a pack of riders through the blind turn 9 on his Tech3 Yamaha.Andrew Wheeler
Valentino Rossi
At the opposite end of the spectrum to Syahrin, 39-year-old Valentino Rossi readies himself for yet another session. During the following round in Spain, Rossi’s career Grand Prix mileage equaled one lap of Earth: 24,901 miles.Andrew Wheeler
Cal Crutchlow
A tale of two Britons: Cal Crutchlow ran in the top five during the race before crashing with 12 laps to go.Andrew Wheeler
Scott Redding
Scott Redding’s time at Aprilia is summed up with one face.Andrew Wheeler
Marc Marquez and crew
The race-day crowd covers the grandstand and hillside as Marc Márquez’s crew dangles off the pit wall to congratulate the reigning world champion on extending his unbeaten run at COTA to six years.Andrew Wheeler