Broc Parkes scored points on his MotoGP debut in Qatar however the Australian knows that this weekend will be an uphill battle for PBM, starting with the daunting first corner at the Circuit of the Americas.
The track proved one of the most difficult to learn for MotoGP riders in 2013 with the majority taking the opening day to learn the flow of the Texan circuit, as opposed to the handful of laps that top riders associate with learning the nuances of a new track, and while Parkes has been getting in some practice on the Playstation his first impressions of the track showed him that it would take more than video games to prepare for the challenge!
“It looks like it’s going to be one of the toughest tracks to learn,” said Parkes. “It looks awesome to ride on and there’s a lot of corners, lot of blind corners, where the sections just have to add up. I came here yesterday and I’d played it on the F1 game, I got it a day before coming, and I thought I’d learn the track. That first corner looks tight and then you come here and it’s like, ‘I didn’t see that before!’ TV doesn’t show any of the gradient into the first corner. It’s going to be a good experience out there!”
Scoring points in Qatar saw Parkes take advantage of numerous crashes but he sees reason for optimism that this weekend should allow the PBM team to show more of their potential. Last year the team had a strong showing, Michael Laverty finished 16th, so Parkes is confident that the bike should be competitive this weekend:
“I think that Qatar was more difficult than in Qatar but I knew Qatar so at least I could go straight out and get into the session. From what Michael has told me Qatar was one of the hardest tracks for the bike last year. So I’m hoping that it’ll work quite well here and he said it was good last year. I don’t know what to expect but fingers crossed it’ll be good here as well.”
When asked about his points scoring debut the Australian admitted that his pace still left room for improvement and that tyre choice held him back during the season opener. Finding improvements on that will be key this weekend but importantly for the small PBM squad there has been recruitment that should lead to improvements in the electronics where previously Phil Borley had been the only engineer:
“I think that I could have been faster in the race, I made a decision to go for the medium tyre when I should have gone for the softer tyre and I don’t think that we went as fast as we could have been. But in general there was a lot of things that I know that we could have fixed.
“After a first race on the bike though I felt that we could improve the electronics package a lot. I spoke with Paul (Bird) during the weekend because the team was quite small and we couldn’t do any new electronic strategies because Phil was so busy running the two bikes. So this weekend Frankie has come in and he’ll start working on some new strategies.”