The MotoGP paddock ventures outside of Europe for the first time since the Qatar double-header season opener, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions still gripping the world, as the championship returns to COTA for the first time since 2019.
Fabio Quartararo continues to hold a healthy points lead at the top of the MotoGP riders’ standings despite Francesco Bagnaia’s back-to-back wins at Aragon and Misano, with the Yamaha rider 48 points ahead of the Italian with four rounds to go.
Despite a disappointing San Marino GP last time out, Joan Mir still remains mathematically in title contention, 67 points off Quartararo, in third place in the standings for Suzuki.
The Americas GP has previously been a Marc Marquez stronghold with the Honda rider taking six consecutive MotoGP wins at COTA before he crashed out while leading the 2019 race, with Suzuki’s Alex Rins sweeping up to clinch his maiden premier class victory.
But with Marquez continuing his difficult arm injury recovery this season, domination by the Spaniard isn’t guaranteed after 18 months away from COTA after last year’s race was cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Repsol Media
This weekend’s race will also mark a new challenge to the trio of riders adapting to new teams mid-season; Maverick Vinales at Aprilia, Franco Morbidelli at the factory Yamaha squad and Andrea Dovizioso at Petronas SRT Yamaha.
The Americas GP will also be an emotional race for Vinales following the traffic death of his cousin Dean Berta Vinales who was killed in a crash in the opening World Supersport 300 race at Jerez last weekend.
2021 Americas MotoGP session timings
MotoGP will run its standard schedule across the Americas GP weekend, with two practice sessions on Friday that will run for 45 minutes each. On Saturday third practice will also run for 45 minutes, with the top 10 on the combined FP1-2-3 timesheet automatically entering into Q2 of qualifying. A final 30-minute FP4 session is held on Saturday afternoon ahead of qualifying.
Q1 of qualifying sees all riders who did not finish in the top 10 of the combined practice times take part, with the top two finishers progressing into Q2 alongside the top 10 who gained an automatic spot via their practice times.
Q2 is the pole position shootout which decides the order of the front four rows, with the rest of the grid organised on Q1 times, for the Americas GP on Sunday.
Moto2 and Moto3 are also in action during the Americas GP.
Friday 1st October 2021
Free Practice 1: 3:55pm-4:40pm BST (9:55am-10:40am local)
Free Practice 2: 8:10pm-8:55pm BST (2:10pm-2:55pm local)
Saturday 2nd October 2021
Free Practice 3: 3:55pm-4:40pm BST (9:55am-10:40am local)
Free Practice 4: 7:30pm-8:00pm BST (1:30pm-2:00pm local)
Qualifying: 8:10pm-8:50pm BST (2:10pm-2:50pm local)
Sunday 3rd October 2021
Warm Up: 3:40pm-4:00pm BST (9:40am-10:00am local)
Race: 8:00pm BST (2:00pm local)
Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
How can I watch the Americas MotoGP?
• Channel: BT Sport 2
• Channel numbers: Sky – 414 (BT Sport 2)
• Channel numbers: Virgin Media – 528 (BT Sport 2)
BT Sport’s live coverage of Sunday’s action starts with the warm-up sessions at 2:30pm BST, taken from the world feed, before switching to its own broadcast at 4:15pm BST for the pre-race show ahead of the Moto3 race.
The build-up to the MotoGP race starts from 7:30pm, or when the Moto2 race finishes, ahead of lights out at 8:00pm.
Can I stream the Americas MotoGP?
Viewers in the United Kingdom can also stream the Americas GP by purchasing a video pass from MotoGP.com. A one-off video pass, for the remainder of the 2021 MotoGP season, costs £38.67p.
The video pass gives access to every live session, qualifying and race, plus world feed content and the chance to watch previous races.
Weather forecast for the Americas MotoGP at COTA
COTA is set for warm and mixed conditions on Friday and Saturday but more settled weather on Sunday. There is a strong chance of thundery showers across Austin on Friday and Saturday but Sunday is expected to remain dry throughout. Highs of 30 degrees Celsius are forecast on race day, which is five degrees warmer than the San Marino GP.
Most Americas MotoGP winners (premier class only)
Marc Marquez: 6 wins (MotoGP – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
Alex Rins: 1 win (MotoGP – 2019)