Pole Sitter and current points leader JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha inherited the MotoGP lead on Lap 12 and never looked back Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. This was his sixth MotoGP victory this season, and eleventh overall. His points lead stretched to 72. One comment was that Lorenzo has “gratuitously piled it on.”

Lorenzo livened up the post race celebration. On his victory lap, he stopped at Turn Eight at the top of the Corkscrew, ran off to the sidelines to change into costume and then ran back to the gravel. He was wearing a silvery space suit, and planted a large black Lorenzoland fan flag in the gravel. The Spaniard then stood tall, saluted and bowed to the assemblage of race officials and others all watching. This is Lorenzo’s victory tradition – planting the fan club flag somewhere at the track post race; but this time was a first for such ceremony. He then ran off to change costume, and continued on his victory lap, all to the delight of the fans. Lorenzo continued antics and revelry in Victory Circle.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi. Photo by Lynne Huntting
Although it’s not voiced out loud, some think there’s a rivalry between Lorenzo and his teammate, VALENTINO ROSSI. This wasn’t helped when Rossi’s music was played in Victory Circle, when Lorenzo stood tall on the podium. Rossi thought it was funny. Lorenzo did not.

CASEY STONER/Ducati finished second, 3.517 seconds behind Lorenzo. He also turned the fastest race lap of 1:21.376. Fastest Race Lap is also considered Circuit Best Lap as it’s only considered official during a race. Stoner holds that record also, 1:20.700 in 2008.

VALENTINO ROSSI/Ducati evidently shook off is aches and pains from his recent accident to finish third after finally passing ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/Repsol Team Honda. However, he paid for it afterwards, limping into the post race press conference. He was aided by a high-tech lightweight blue cane support.

Fifth through eighth were the three Yanks, NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati, and the two Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders, Rookie BEN SPIES and COLIN EDWARDS. The other American, for the weekend, was ROGER LEE HAYDEN, younger brother of Nicky. He ran in last place until the very end when he rode his LCR Honda past ALEX DE ANGELIS/Interwetten Honda MotoGP to finish eleventh. The Hayden brother, older TOMMY, rode his Rockstar Makita Suzuki to third place in the AMA National Guard American Superbike race. Dad must have been busy this weekend.

The best racing was between the American swarm: Hayden, Spies and Edwards. During that closeness, Spies had a ‘moment’ and Hayden passed him. Other good racing was Dovizioso and Rossi. Rossi passed Dovizioso on Lap 27 and Dovizioso kept after the recovering Rossi, who is showing good form despite his broken leg seven weeks ago.

DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda, who gridded second, immediately took the lead at the Green Light for the start and led for 12 laps until he drove straight off at Turn Five, bike tumbling ahead of him into the barrier. Pedrosa is alright … physically. Not happy. He hit a bump coming into the corner and he “couldn’t do anything”. Pedrosa won last year’s race at Laguna Seca.

Other riders who crashed out included ALVARO BAUTISTA/Rizula Suzuki, HECTOR BARBERA/Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati, MARCO SIMONCELLI/San Carlo Honda Gresini-whose hair-do looks like the Said Heads at NASCAR races; and ALEIX ESPARGARO/Pramac Racing Ducati. All riders are alright.

The weather was a balmy 73 degrees F/23 C, and the track was 104 F/40 C. Humidity had dropped to 44 percent.

Two Bridgestone compounds were brought to Laguna Seca for this round, Mediums and Hards, for both front and rears. All but three riders ran hard fronts, and all ran medium rears. The new asymmetric tires worked well. In the morning Warm-Up, Stoner and Lorenzo went faster in the cold and mist, than last year’s race lap. And the overall elapsed race time for the 32-lap event was fastest ever at Laguna.

Each rider can run 18 slicks, 10 asymmetrics for the rear, with a 5/5 ratio of Mediums and Hard compounds; and eight symmetrics for the front, with several options – 3/5, 4/4, or 5/3 Mediums to Hards. The choice designations must be made after the first practice. For Qualifying, the riders usually run Hards in front and the softer compound in the rear.

Bridgestone has been the Official Tire Supplier for MotoGP since 2008 when Michelin pulled out – as it also did from Formula One racing. For the past two years, tire improvements have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Also, there haven’t been Qualifying tires, as such, since the end of 2008.

MotoGP has cut back the allowed testing to two days during the season and four between seasons. There are no designated tire tests, as occur with some American series. So tire testing is just part of whatever the MotoGP teams are testing. Testing tires takes away from whatever else the teams are testing.

Individual Points Standings: Lorenzo-210; Pedrosa-138; Dovizioso-115; Stoner-103; Rossi-90; Hayden-89; Spies-77; RANDY DE PUNIET, who is on the injured list-69; MARCO MELANDRI-53; and MARCO SIMONCELLI-49.

Team standings are: Fiat Yamaha-301; Repsol Honda-253; Ducati-192; Monster Yamaha Tech 3-125; San Carlos Honda Gresini-102; LCR Honda-74; Rizla Suzuki-61; Pramac Racing-59; Paginas Amaryllis Aspar-41; and Interwetten Honda Moto-30.

There’s now a three-week break before the next round in Brno. In the US, when an athlete wins, he or she is oft asked “What will you do now?” and replies “I’m going to Disneyland”. Lorenzo has more elaborate plans for his relaxing time off including Majorca.