What feeling do you get when you think about racing in Austin?
Wow, for me it's the feeling of great memories, happiness, joy...!
COTA is a very special circuit where I have won in every category. I always feel a lot of motivation when I think about racing here.
Coming from a podium in Argentina and a positive start to the season, what do you expect this time out?
Yes, I’m feeling happy after the podium in Argentina. This weekend we will ride again on a circuit with fresh asphalt, which is very positive for us - especially after the old surface at COTA was so bumpy and tricky. We will try to give 100% and try to ensure maximum performance from the bike.
Your first MotoGP win was here and it was…
It was a very special moment! I was battling with Valentino in a great race, recovering positions from the back. I remember in the last 4 laps I overtook him, and I was expecting him to get me back again, but I pulled a little gap and I got my first MotoGP win...those 4 laps were the longest of my life though!
What do you remember in terms of emotions from that race?
We were happy but also super positive, we celebrated together and it was awesome - so much emotion from everyone on my team. We went to Jerez and finished on the podium again, we had great momentum.
What is it about this track that suits your style?
It's a bit of everything, and that's why it's a track I like a lot. There's not one thing in particular; it is a mix of all types of corners; high speed corners, the 'esses', the triple corner. Whenever we come here I enjoy it a lot and it's good fun for me.
So, you don't have a favourite point on track?
Well yes actually, the right-handed triple corner. You have to make all three corners sliding, controlling the gas, always leaning...it's fantastic!
What do you expect from this year's race at COTA?
This season I have a really nice bike and a great base to work from. So, personally, I would like to be at the same level as the bike. We expect a better performance with the engine on the straights, and then I need to be ready to defend myself and to give my all!
My first win here was a very special moment! I was battling with Valentino in a great race, recovering positions from the back. I remember in the last 4 laps I overtook him, and I was expecting him to get me back again, but I pulled a little gap and I got my first MotoGP win...those 4 laps were the longest of my life though!