It’s beautiful Spring weather at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the West Coast round of MotoGP, the top tier international World Championship motorcycle series. It’s sunny and mild and breezy. It’s Round Ten for the seventeen ‘regular’ riders and one Wild Card rider.
The Wild Card rider this weekend is AMA Pro National National Guard SuperBike rider, BEN BOSTROM, who will be racing with the LCR Honda MotoGP team with TONI ELIAS. Bostrom will be doing double duty, also running in the Superbike race. Superbikes have a single practice session Friday, in late afternoon.
Three classes of AMA Pro Road Racing will be the support races, along with daily Yamaha Exhibition and Demonstration Laps with veteran FIM World Champions such as KENNY ROBERTS and EDDIE LAWSON.
MotoGP Points Leader, CASEY STONER/No.27 Repsol Honda Team was fastest in the first Friday practice-mid-morning. His fastest lap was 1:22.300/75.9 mph kph, slower than his two record laps – his 2010 Circuit Race Lap of 1:21.376/159.703 kph/99.234 mph. and his 2008 Circuit Qualifying Lap of 1:20.700/161.040 kph/100.065. And when he put pedal to the metal, his went 163 mph in the speed trap.
DORNA is the MotoGP rights holder. FIM (Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme) is the sanctioning body, and IRTA (International Road Racing Teams Association) is contracted by DORNA to run the race. IRTA selects the Wild Card rider at each round. Often times it is a local rider, who must have impressive credentials, either be someone with Grand Prix experience or an up-an-coming youngster who can benefit from the GP experience. AMA – American Motorcyclist Association) can put up a rider’s name.
Bostrom is currently fifth in the AMA Superbike standings, out of 36 riders, racing a Suzuki GSX-R1000 for Michael Jordan Motorsports. Last year the LCR Honda Team ran American rider, ROGER LEE HAYDEN, younger brother of MotoGP rider, NICKY HAYDEN.
This will be Bostrom’s first MotoGP race. At age 37, Bostrom is the third oldest rider. LORIS CAPIROSSI of Italy is 38, and COLIN EDWARDS of Texas is 37, not quite three months younger than Bostrom.
This year there are two Rookies racing MotoGP – KAREL ABRAHAM/No.17 Cardion AB Motoracing, racing a Ducati – the first Czech rider to make it to the top rung in motorcycle racing; and Brit CAL CRUTCHLOW/No.35 Monster Yamaha Tech 3. They will be racing Laguna Seca for the first time. Another GP rider will be making his maiden voyage around the 2.232 mile track is 29-year old HIROSHI AOYAMA from Japan, racing No.7 San Carlo Honda Gresini. He missed the race last year due to injuries suffered in the British race.
Abraham, Toyama and Bostrom were sixteenth through eighteenth in the morning session. Crutchlow was thirteenth.
MotoGP has another afternoon session, with the AMA categories filling in the blanks.