The Thursday pre-race media conference for the MotoGP riders is always fun because it is informal and the riders can be more relaxed with their comments. It was no different at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2009 Red Bull Indianapolis GP.
The participants were, in alphabetical order: TONI ELIAS/San Carlo Honda Gresini, American riders COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 & NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati Team, DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team, and points leader VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha Team.
Edwards was the funniest which is starting to rub off on Hayden. It’s getting easier to understand Rossi, but I’m still struggling with Elias’ accent and Pedrosa’s soft voice.
All of the riders felt it was something special to race at The Brickyard with its long and storied history. The MotoGP configuration is counter-clockwise, as it is for the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400, but the course is 2.621 miles/4.218 km. For the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400, the track length is 2.5 miles long, the second longest circuit for NASCAR. Only Talladega is longer, but only just.
The Indy 500 runs for 200 laps, equalling 500 miles. The MotoGP race is 28 laps, making the race run 61.88 miles/107.520 km.
Rossi said that IMS is a good track. Since the direction is different than the F1 configuration, he said “The corners are a bit strange.”
There was no revelations from any of the riders whose 2010 situation is in limbo.
Hayden said “The only announcement really is Lorenzo is not taking my place. But that announcement, I guess, was last week. So I don’t expect anything this week. The due date is next week, so we’ll know something then, maybe.” To which Edwards quipped, “I didn’t know you were pregnant.”
Edwards said “I don’t know what I’m doing yet – dominoes maybe. I’d like to stay with my team. We’ll have to see financially if everything fits together. And I got to have the right passport. Lamas was the number one domino, and he made the right decision. Everything is starting to fall into place.”
Elias didn’t have any more 2010 news either. Same tune, different musician. “I’m in the same situation, and I’m thinking the same. But it’s like this: I don’t know what will happen. I’m not worried about that. I try to be concentrate about my job and try to be at the maximum. Now I’m enjoying a lot with my bike, the setup, bike is OK. The last five, six races we are leading the second group, and this is good. We see the first four or five riders are very, very strong this year. I’m enjoying my bike setup. I believe in me. If not this year, then next. I think I’m a good rider.
“Pedrosa said ” No news. Just everything still the same as Brno. Yes, still discussing and still waiting. Same situation as last race. I didn’t sign, if they are interested on have another rider, maybe they have to talk to the riders. But nothing decided and … If I’m interested, then I can ask for an option, of course”
With his teammate, JORGE LAMAS, re-signing with Fiat Yamaha Team, Rossi said it had been interesting because of all the rumors about Lamas maybe moving to Honda or Ducati. There have been a lot of changes in MotoGP. Rossi said he (Lamas) “made the right choice.”