Unlike the opening round in Qatar, Circuit of the Americas in Austin will be a totally new experience for JPMoto rider Zaqhwan Zaidi. While the young Malaysian had raced at Losail in Qatar when competing in the Asia Road Racing Championship, Zaqhwan had only seen Austin on television and competing on video games.
He faces a massive challenge considering the limited hours and laps on his Suter bike the Malaysian had so far during pre-season testing. “My immediate priority will be to learn on the characteristics of Austin racing circuit as much as possible and as early as possible. Hence, I am praying for good weather to ensure that I made as many laps as possible in free practice. As I had explained, I am still familarising myself with the speed, power and behavior of the bike.”
When Zaqhwan looked back at his overall performance at the opening round in Qatar, he admitted that there are still plenty of things that he needed to learn and improve to be competitive against his more experienced rivals. “I learned a lot from the first race in Qatar and will use them to improve myself and compete against the other riders,” said Zaqhwan. “Competition was stiff in Qatar and the US Grand Prix will be even stiffer. Having said that, the team now has a better understanding of the bike after the opening race and I expect that they would be making some adjustments to make us stronger.”
JPMoto is not putting any special targets in Austin except that Zaqhwan would need to better his performance in Qatar. Zaqhwan admitted that he is still in the learning process and is still working to fully understand the behavior of his machine. Pointing out that the Moto2 bike is very different from his 600cc Supersports machine, he is also adjusting his riding techniques in search of perfection. Austin will, undoubtedly, be extremely challenging given that it will be Zaqhwan’s first ever trip of the United States.
The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas takes place between the 10-12 April, with practice on the Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.