The weather was hot, sunny with a bit of breeze for the first day of practice for the third annual Red Bull Indy Grand Prix at the famed Brickyard. The schedule is quite civilized, starting at noon. This left a few moments to catch up on the latest chatter and Silly Season, MotoGP style.
This year was the third and final year of the current contract for the Brickyard and MotoGP. Talks were ongoing, and earlier today a track spokesman said “We are close to making an announcement.”
The word imminent comes to mind. The Speedway announced Friday afternoon that MotoGP will return in 2011, running 26-28 August 2011.
DORNA Sports CEO CARMELO EXPELETA said the extension will be for a further year, which will “allow all parties involved to continue providing a superb weekend of racing at Indianapolis next season. It permits all possibilities to be explored at the end of 2011 when the current contractual agreement with the MSMA and IRTA is review, as MotoGP continues to develop into a new era in the sport in 2012.”
The Speedway has three races a year, and the other two already have confirmed dates for next year. The Indianapolis 500 will be 29 May 2011, and the NASCAR Brickyard 400 is slated for 31 July 2010.
One open secret spilled Saturday morning in Indianapolis. BEN SPIES of Texas will be the new Fiat Yamaha teammate next year for current MotoGP points leader JORGE LORENZO of Spain. The MotoGP top Rookie/top Satellite (independent) rider will move from the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team, presently seventh in the standings of 21 riders. Spies, 26, won the 2009 World Superbike Championship. With ten MotoGP races so far, four on tracks he’s never ridden, Spies has a second as highest start two weeks ago in Brno, and a third highest finish in Great Britain.
Although Monster Yamaha Tech 3 says there is nothing to announce regarding a replacement for Spies, word is out that several drivers are under consideration, including CAL CRUTCHLOW of England, currently racing for Yamaha in World Superbikes.
The full moon is waning. The other Texan rider on Monster Yamaha Tech 3, COLIN EDWARDS, is still awaiting his fate in the 2011 MotoGP season.
With racing legend, VALENTINO ROSSI of Italy, confirmed for Ducati Team next season, the future of current Ducati rider NICKY HAYDEN of Kentucky USA is a topic. Stoner has already confirmed he’s moving from Ducati to Repsol Honda Team. Hayden is still playing coy, but I’ve been told it is 100 percent sure that Hayden will remain with Ducati as Rossi’s teammate.
With Stoner and current Repsol rider DANI PEDROSA of Spain set for 2011, what is unclear is the status of current Repsol rider, ANDREA DOVIZIOSO of Italy. There are no MotoGP restrictions on running three riders…will Dovizioso remain or move elsewhere? Stay tuned.
So far, no word from the Rizla Suzuki factory team. This year’s riders are ALVARO BAUTISTA of Spain, and LORIS CAPIROSSI of Italy.
Ducati is officially pulling out of World SuperBike. Costs and development of MotoGP could be a factor?