The USA's Circuit of the Americas is a purpose-built track that feels organic. The Texas track has a fantastic mix of slow, medium and high-speed corners as well as long straights.
This makes COTA fantastic to race around, but nailing the setup is massively challenging.
Don't fear though, we've got you covered with our setup guide for the best race possible in the Grand Prix of the Americas!
COTA has a real mix of corners, some of which require a lot of grip, whereas others are easier on your rubber.
In general, the medium compound is the best to opt for, as it gives you the most consistent grip throughout a race distance. A hard tyre on the rear axle can give you better grip at the end, but it's hard to keep the temps up.
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You can go for a soft on the front, but this will wear out towards the end of the race. When that happens, you'll lose heaps of time in the first and last sectors.
With a long, 200+ mph backstraight, you'd be forgiven for thinking that your bike needs to be setup for straight-line speed. However, the first and final sectors need a responsive ride to have a quick lap time.
The preload value for the front has to be turned up to 9 for turn-in. This allows the bike to lean as much as possible through the first sector and hit apexes more often.
The rear is different, though, you can get away with a low value of 2, which helps stability on the rear axle.
Your fork values need to follow a similar trend. 8 for the rebound is a must, while a low compression of 4 suits COTA. This makes the springs have less damping and therefore more responsive in the corners.
Shock absorbers need to be high as well, with a rebound value of 8 and 10 compression. The kerbs are harsh in Texas and will cause you a lot of problems if you go wide, but this will help if you stray off the racing line.
The springs need to near the default values with regards to their hardness. The harsh damping should compensate and let you get away with softer springs. We went for 4 on the front and 8 on the rear.
The steering adjustment must be on the low side to be quick in COTA. The steering head inclination needs to be down at 3, the lowest value you can get away with, without making the bike more unstable.
Likewise, the trail is best down at 4. If you're feeling brave, you can go lower. But, be warned! You're really likely to be thrown off the bike at some point, which will cost you a lot of time.
Because of COTA's unique mix of varied corners, the gear ratios are all over the place. Your first and sixth gears need to be low to aid acceleration out of the hairpins and on the long backstraight.
Gears 2-5 are set between 8 and 10, this is to make it easier changing gears around longer corners such as the triple right-hander of Turns 17 & 18.
COTA is one of the few circuits on the calendar which, if it were possible, you would have larger brakes around. However, 340 mm on the front and 220 mm on the rear are the maximum values available.
Smaller brakes than this would elongate the already long braking zones of Turns 1 and 12, that simply isn't an option.
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As this is a modern circuit, you need to utilise all of the electronics at your disposal to make it round in one piece.
Traction Control has to be set to four, as wheelspin is a nightmare on the low-grip surface at COTA. If your rear wheel goes onto the kerbing, you'll probably be spun around for good measure.
Engine braking needs to be turned up to the max value of 4 too. This is to help lose speed through the esses in the first sector, as well as the horseshoe corners of Turns 17 & 18.
Anti-wheelie aid cannot be lower than 4, as both the front and rear axle love to levitate, depending on the gradient.
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Power should be up to 2 for the straights in the race and qualifying.
All of the ECU settings can be adjusted on-track and during the race, so feel free to alter these as your race progresses.
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