THE DOCTOR IS IN

Warm, sunny and windy Рthat is the weekend weather forecast at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.  MotoGP is enjoying summer temperatures of mid-sixties.

On his last, obviously flying lap, World Champion VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha turned the fastest Friday practice time of 1:21.981. He eclipsed his teammate, JORGE LORENZO, who had been leading for the last fifteen minutes of the hour-long session.

Rossi had been playing back and forth with Aussie CASEY STONER/Ducati Team Ducati for second. Despite his ongoing but as yet undiagnosed internal ailment, Stoner was able to top the charts for a good while during the session. But a team spokesperson said “he is not well. He is weak and has no strength. He didn’t do as well as he could have.”

Stoner holds the Laguna track records for both qualifying (1:21.700) and the race (2:22.488), set last year.

Stoner’s pattern the past two races has been to start out the weekend feeling relatively better, and qualifying well. But as the race wears on, fatigue sets in and he gets sick during the race. Afterwards, he is totally exhausted and in need of care.

Fourth and fifth were DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team; and TONI ELIAS/San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda.

MotoGP and SCRAMP (Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula) measure the 11-turn road circuit using slightly different lines. SCRAMP’s track length, as measured by Timing & Scoring, is 2.238 miles, while MotoGP measures it at 2.243 miles.

Update on Rookie MIKA KALLIO, the Finnish Pramac Racing Ducati rider who is sitting out this race due to his finger injury incurred last weekend. When he crashed on the last lap at Assen, his motorcycle landed on his ring finger, tearing off the finger nail. It will never re-grow, and in August he will have a skin graft from his hip to cover the end of the finger. For the next two races in Germany and Great Britain, Kallio will have a temporary skin cover on the finger. It’s painful and the risk of infection is still high, which explains his absence at Laguna – the first race he’s missed this year. He is fifteenth in the standings, with 26 points.

Kallio’s affected finger is his left ring finger. He is engaged, soon to be married.

GABOR TALMACSI from Hungary is racing his third MotoGP race this season, with the Scot¬† Racing Team MotoGP Honda, and was second to last of the MotoGP riders in Friday practice. He started the season with a 250 cc team, and then left after three races. Scot tapped him for its team, and a team spokesperson said “Talmacsi is here for the season.” Financial concerns as well as a back disc problem with its other rider, YUKI TAKAHASHI, led Scot to the ‘regrettable decision’ to run only one motorcycle the rest of the season. Takahashi had run every race so far this season and was eighteenth in the standings with nine points. Talmacsi has zero points.

MotoGP had but the one practice session Friday. Saturday morning has an hour of practice, with afternoon qualifying. That session will be telecast live on SPEED TV in the US at 1:55 local time/4:55 PM EDT. The live race telecast will be aired on FOX at 2 PM local time, 5 PM EDT.