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Made it to Austin, TX for MotoGP at COTA.   Jenny and I spent Saturday at the track watching the qualifying sessions, which was better than the race.  Race day was the Marc Marquez show starting from Lap 1 (with only one change in the lead the entire race) which made the race a little boring.  By the last lap Marquez was several seconds ahead.  When Marquez passed our section on his last lap, he was so far ahead he looked over at our section and gave us a waive.  He rode across the finish line standing up and gave a dab.  Still had a lot of fun and it was nice to get away for a couple days.

The Hondas are more flickable and do better at COTA due to the multiple corners/tight sections.  The course is also a left hand turn track which Marquez does better on.  The Ducatis higher horsepower does not have a chance to push them out ahead.

KTM had the new 790 Adventure prototype on display.  I snapped a few pictures for you all.

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It is a beauty when you turn the lights off. 

The gas tank shape is what is throwing it off.  It forms around the engine in those odd looking zig, zag, triangular patterns.  The tank is also highly exposed to damage.  I wouldn't be surprised if you see some changes on the tank design.

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looks like the EU regulation for ejection/ disconnect from the machine is starting to be seen with those engine fairings.

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The seat height appears to me to be lower than the EXC 350/500.  They had it roped off so I could not throw a leg over. The bike is clearly going to have a different cockpit as well since it is mocked up with a rally roll chart and small display.  Probably something similar to the new Superduke display.

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How was the crowd at Austin? I've never been to such a high-level motorsport venue and I'm curious about who the 'hometown' hero was through the eyes of the crowd...we tend to love our domestic brand heroes but without any stars n bars in the upper echelons of Moto racing I've wondered who the hell everyone is cheering for when F1 and MotoGP come to Austin.

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Valentino Rossi is clearly the favorite at almost any MotoGP race.  He has the most fan presence by far.  Yellow 46 numbers are everywhere.   There was a decent international presence from Mexico / South America, which are also largely Rossi fans.  He is expected to retire in 2020 so it will be interesting to see what happens. 

After that, I would say Ducati fans usually have the second biggest presence followed by Honda.  Ducati generally has a Ducati Island at most Motogp and WSBK events.   You can park your bike on Ducati Island, they have great food, a band, and their bikes on display.  There is sometimes a Ducati grandstand section too.  In my opinion, they blow all the other manufacturers away with their manf. presence.  Ducati's CEO was there serving lunch.  He was also at Laguna Seca at last years WSBK.  This COTA was a little weird because the Ducati Island was not near the other manufacturer areas, which I think detracted from the experience.  You had to take a shuttle to get there.

I would also say it is motorcycle enthusiast heaven.  The motorcycle parking lot is filled with bikes of all makes and types.  Lots of Harleys, adventure bikes, sport bikes, you name it.   All the major manufactures are there and you can hop on bikes, demo them, talk with factory reps, etc.  

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Frame geometry/size looks light weight. I imaging that piece below the fuel tank is a "nerf plate" of some sort? Protecting the bottom/low side of the fuel cell? Thanks for the pic's!

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Yup, that is a skip plate that goes along the front and sides and wraps up to protect the front and ends of the gas tank. Still leaves a lot of tank out there to get punctured.

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