MotoGP Weekend at the Circuit of the Americas

High speed and close quarters
High speed and close quarters

What a great weekend!
Beside photography one of my passions is sport bikes. Last weekend I flew down to Austin, Texas to watch the MotoGP race at the Circuit of the Americas with the hope of capturing some good photos of this event, for once leaving behind landscape photography. For those of you who don’t know what MotoGP is, it is the motorcycle equivalent of the Formula 1 car race.
I got there before the bulk of people arrived and was able to spend quite a bit of time around mingling with the bike makers staff and exploring the grounds to find a good spot and indeed I found one. I only brought one lens with me, the Canon EF 100-400 L coupled with the 2X Extender and my Canon 7D which gave me an actual 1200mm focal (manual focus at that point).

Marquez grabs the first place in front of Dovizioso

Photographing races is all about speed, for that reason I left the 5D Mark III home and took advantage of the 7D higher frame rate. This is an exciting event and I look forward to going again next year. The one thing I would do differently though is taking advantage of the loan program of the Canon Professional Services Platinum Membership. If you are a die-hard Canon user like myself (and Canon does have a phenomenal customer service, I’m not sponsored by them so this is a honest assessment based on years of experience) you have probably collected a number of Canon cameras and lenses which have a point value toward a CPS membership level: Silver, Gold or Platinum. In Europe the CPS program works a little differently and it is not based on points but on number/type of cameras and lenses owned.

Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati racers

Back to the MotoGP, the event lasts for 3 days (Fri-Sun) and it’s a great opportunity for speed shooters as well as those photographers who do not have experience shooting high speed subjects but want to try. In that case I recommend taking advantage of the whole three days (there are several qualification races and Sunday is the actual competition), and there is plenty to be entertain with besides the races. I was surprised to see such a high number of people supporting the Italian racers or Italian bikes and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso took home the second place, with Yamaha’s Italian rider and world champion Valentino Rossi taking the third place. First place went, with little surprise on anyone’s part, to Honda and its Spanish rider Marc Marquez who once again used his own kind of magic to take a good 3 seconds lead (eternity!) on the Ducati. It was fun and I hope to see you there next year!

Marc Marquez of Honda, his bike is inclined approx. 64 degrees.
Maverick Viñales
Suzuki Ecstar Maverick Viñales in a tight turn.

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