Thursday was warm, relaxed and fun at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – at least for some of us. The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix MotoGP is in town and it’s the American Fourth of July holiday weekend. This is the fifth year for MotoGP at the famed Laguna Seca road course, but the first time run on the patriotic holiday. DORNA, promoter of MotoGP, moved the date due to scheduling conflicts, a move which wasn’t to the liking of the track which wants the date changed back to mid-July next year.

To start off the weekend, 2008 MotoGP World Champion VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha, won yet another race. Last weekend he scored his hundredth MotoGP win. Thursday he won the Yamaha SuperKart ‘exhibition’ which turned out to be a race around the 2.238-mile elevated road course.

After a couple of warm-up laps in a SuperKart provided by EDDIE LAWSON (Motorcycle champion 1984, 1986, 1988-1989), the cheery Italian rider took the green flag thrown by Grand Marshal COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha. Rossi, six-time MotoGP champion, claimed WAYNE RAINEY (Motorcycle champion 1980-1982) told him it was to be an exhibition. Yeah, right. Put those three on a track, along with KENNY ROBERTS Sr (Motorcycle champion 1978-1980) and boys will be boys. It didn’t take Rossi long to figure out that this was a competition and off he took. By Lap One he was two seconds ahead of the others, and by the checkered flag, the lead was about fifteen seconds, according to one of the photogs.

Rossi said it was fun and so fast. “I’m happy. I beat Kenny Roberts, and shared the track with those names. It was fun and important.”

At the later Media press conference for several MotoGP riders, Rossi was still exuberant about his SuperKart victory. NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati Team Ducati joked that next year Lawson wouldn’t give Rossi such a good vehicle.

When Rossi was talking about how great to be racing with the great, former motorcycle champions, Edwards said those greats should be asked how it felt for them to be racing side by side with the greatest of all times, pointing to Rossi.