Sunny Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the big Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. The MotoGP race is the feature, supported by three AMA Pro Racing events.The crowd counts are up. Friday pre-sales were up seven percent and the gate was up twenty-eight percent. Saturday’s attendance was the best since 2005.

Laguna Seca has a contract to run the MotoGP race through 2014. The other American MotoGP venue is Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will run its event in August, and it has a year to year contract. Starting in 2013, the MotoGP will also run at the new American course, Circuit of The Americas.

Among those visiting/observing at Laguna Seca this weekend are LON BROMLEY, the Director of Safety for COTA, JOHN MAHER of the Austin American Statesman newspaper, and KEVIN SCHWANTZ, an investor and motorcycle consultant to the track.

GILL CAMPBELL, CEO/General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, was interviewed this weekend by Maher, and the interview and photo made the front page of the Sunday paper.

The MotoGP twenty-minute Warm-Up went well. Points Leader CASEY STONER/No.27 Repsol Honda Team was fastest, followed by Pole Sitter JORGE LORENZO/No.1 Yamaha Factory Racing, ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/No.4 Repsol Honda Team, BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Team and MARCO SIMONCELLI/No.58 San Carlo Honda Gresini.

Lorenzo is still sore after Friday’s high side flip in practice. His leg is stiff, but he can move on the bike and he’s smiling.

Lorenzo is probably one of the many MotoGP riders who wear air bags. One rider notably does not – BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Racing. He is one of the larger MotoGP riders, and said he has not been able to get comfortable with them yet, but a new set is being worked on for him. Motorcycle air bags have been in MotoGP for the past three years, but are not compulsory.


Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa
Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa
Points Leader CASEY STONER/No.27 Repsol Honda Team oozed by Pole Sitter JORGE LORENZO/No.1 Yamaha Factory Racing on Lap 27 and took off to win Sunday’s MotoGP race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix weekend. Lorenzo, who was still stiff and sore from Saturday morning’s high-sided flip, led the first 26 laps with no problem.

It was a picture perfect day. The weather was low seventies F/23C, and the track surface was a warm 111 degrees F/44 C.

The race track only announces overall attendance, which they said was 136,825 this year, higher than last year’s 116,000. DORNA announced a crowd count for all three days: Friday – 38,797, Saturday – 44,818 and Sunday – 52,670.

To the victor belong the spoils. Stoner turned the race’s fastest lap of 1:21.673/98.873 mph/159.122 kph. This was the fifth win this season for the Aussie, and increased his points lead by 20, ahead of Lorenzo.

Third through fifth were DANI PEDROSA/No.26 Repsol Honda Team, the top American finisher – BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Racing, and and ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/No.4 Repsol Honda Team.

Stoner said “It was great it come back to a race like this and win.”
Lorenzo said “I’m happy to be in second position. I thought it wouldn’t be possible to win in this race.”
Pedrosa said “I’m happy to be on the podium”

For most of the 32-lap race, it was smooth sailing and very little passing by the eighteen riders. Pedrosa got by Stoner at the start and held him off for 17 laps, before Stoner executed his first of two great passes. Then he passed Lorenzo for the lead on Lap 26 and pulled away to win by 5.634 seconds.

The crowd wildly cheered all the passes.

Another popular pass was Spies passing ANDREAS DOVIZIOSO/No.4 Repsol Honda Team for fourth place with three laps to go.

VALENTINO ROSSI/No.46 Ducati Team finished sixth, ahead of his American teammate, NICKY HAYDEN/No.69. The other remaining Yank in the race was eighth placed finisher, COLIN EDWARDS/No.5 Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

American Wild Card rider BEN BOSTROM/No.23 LCR Honda MotoGP pulled into the pits on Lap Eight and retired.

The top Rookie rider was KAREL ABRAHAM/No.17 Cardion AB Motoracing, finishing eleventh. He continues to lead the Rookie standings.

Three riders crashed out, but all are OK. Rookie CAL CRUTCHLOW/No.35 Monster Yamaha Tech 3/Lap Three; MARCO SIMONCELLI/No.58 San Carlo Honda Gresini, who was running fifth when he crashed out on Lap Six; and ALVARO BAUTISTA/No.19 Rizla Suzuki MotoGP/LapThirteen.

Rider Points are Stoner – 193; Lorenzo – 173; Dovizioso – 143; Pedrosa – 110 and Rossi – 108. All three Americans are next, Spies – 98; Hayden – 93 and Edwards – 67.

Honda leads Constructor Standings with 235 points, followed by Yamaha – 204; Ducati – 117; and Suzuki – 45.

Repsol Team Honda leads Team standings with 301 points. Then comes Yamaha Factory Racing – 271; Ducati Team – 202; San Carlo Honda Gresini – 118; and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 101.

The next race is in three weeks, which will give Lorenzo and all the other recovering riders time to heal and relax.

And the media too. It was controlled panic before the race when the Internet failed throughout the entire track. Despite tripling the bandwidth and coverage over last year, there was so much digital traffic that everything including most cellphones went down. Track personnel got right on it and worked with the local airport to find a fix and bring back up the system during the race. Kudos!

One of the happy memories I will take away from this race was the television footage of the riders cresting and riding down the world-famous Corkscrew. The TV feed did it in slightly SloMo mode and it was pure poetry. Such colorful choreography.


Despite his morning fall, JORGE LORENZO/No.1 Yamaha Factory Racing has the Moto GP pole position for Sunday’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a lap of 1:21.221. He dominated MotoGP qualifying Saturday afternoon and his time turned on his sixth lap held for forty-five minutes of the hour-long session, while the order behind him remained static most of that time – a regular parade.

Then, things heated up – literally and figuratively.The ambient temperature reached a high of 66 degrees F/19 C, while the track was 109-113 degrees F/43-45 C. While Lorenzo was briefly pipped by BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Racing, Lorenzo retook the top slot with nine minutes to go, and the pack positioning began in earnest. The last fifteen minutes were exciting.

Lorenzo said “I was thinking the race was over for me after the fall. To get pole position I didn’t think it could happen.”

Lorenzo has a sore right thigh after suffering contusions during his morning fall. Given a choice, it’s the lesser of evils to have the right leg sore at Laguna Seca. The 2.232 elevated road course has eight left turns, and four rights. The riders push on the footpegs to help steer the bikes, so he’ll be pushing most with his left foot to make the bike lean left.

When Lorenzo was not on course, he was being looked after solicitously by his team

Finishing a close second was CASEY STONER/No.27 Repsol Honda Team, just 0.072 seconds behind. He and Lorenzo were the only ones to beat Stoner’s previous qualifying track record of 1:21.376 set last year. They both ran harder front tires and softer rear tires.

HIROHIDE HAMASHIMA – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division said “A key element of tomorrow’s race will be using our tyres most efficiently as although Laguna is only a short lap, the track temperature will be high like this afternoon and the tyres spend a lot of time leant over so don’t get much respite and time to cool.”

Third through fifth were DANI PEDROSA/No.26 Repsol Honda Team, BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Racing, and MARCO SIMONCELLI/No.58 San Carlo Honda Gresini.

Out of somewhere VALENTINO ROSSI came charging on his last lap to finish seventh, behind ANDREAS DOVIZIOSO/No.4 Repsol Honda Team.

Eighth through tenth were HECTOR BARBERA/No.8 Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP, NICKY HAYDEN/No.69 Ducati – who had been in seventh place for most of the session, and Top Rookie CAL CRUTCHLOW/No.35 Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Crutchlow’s teammate, COLIN EDWARDS/No.5, placed eleventh.

Wild Card rider, BEN BOSTROM/No.23 LCR Honda MotoGP placed eighteenth, but he continued to improve his laps every session.

There were several spills during the session, but no harm, no foul. Among those taking a ride on the wild side were RANDY de PUNIET/No.14 Pramac Racing Team, and ALVARO BAUTISTA/No.19 Rizla Suzuki MotoGP,

Two Americans fell big time, Hayden fell off in Turn Nine with sixteen minutes to go. He ran across the track and back to the pits and got on his backup GP11 (old) bike. Then Spies, with five minutes to go. Hayden had ridden the older Ducati because he felt the new bike wasn’t a clear improvement. That’s not to say Hayden didn’t like the GP12 – he did, – especially the gearbox, but he felt the GP11 would give him the best chance for the weekend.

No word yet if Hayden’s cross-track dash to the pits will get his wrist slapped.

Sunday’s race will start at 2 pm local time.


CASEY STONER/No.27 Repsol Honda Team led the entire 45-minute MotoGP practice session Saturday morning as a run-up for qualifying in the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The temperature never reached 60 degrees F and it was foggy all morning, with a stiff breeze. Points Leader Stoner turned a 1:21.806, his fastest lap of the weekend, and remains the fastest rider overall.

Except for TONI ELIAS/No.24 LCR Honda MotoGP, all riders turned their fastest weekend laps Saturday morning. Elias was fastest Friday afternoon.

The same five riders occupied the top five positions Saturday , with some shuffling around. At the end, for the session and the weekend, it was DANI PEDROSA/No.26 Repsol Honda Team, JORGE LORENZO/No.1 Yamaha Factory Racing, MARCO SIMONCELLI/No.58 San Carlo Honda Gresini, and BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Racing – the fastest American rider.

On Lorenzo’s last lap, he took a bad flip off his bike in Turn Five. Yamaha said “he suffered a huge high as he accelerated away into the left-hand corner.” He flipped at least twice, was hit by his bike, and landed into the gravel. Lorenzo’s long time on the ground was worrisome, but he got up and walked with assistance off track. After being checked in the Medical Centre, he was released, suffering only thigh contusions. Yamaha said Lorenzo was “fit to ride.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo

“That isn’t how I planned to finish the free practice. I am not sure yet why I crashed, I need to take the video from Dorna and study it as I was not going that fast. Anyway I am very sore especially in my hip but happy to be uninjured and will still be there to give 100% in qualifying this afternoon. Apart from the crash the morning session was good, the bike still needs more going into the corners but we are getting there.”

The 2010 MotoGP World Champion had been practicing starts. This one didn’t go well as his tires were cooling. Lorenzo’s fastest time was set on Lap ten of twenty-six.

Sixth through tenth were ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/No.4 Repsol Honda Team, the two Ducati riders, NICKY HAYDEN/No.69 and VALENTINO ROSSI/No.46, ALVARO BAUTISTA/No.19 Rizla Suzuki MotoGP and HECTOR BARBERA/No.8 Mapper Aspar Team MotoGP.

The other season-long American rider, COLIN EDWARDS/No.5 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was eleventh.

Rookies CAL CRUTCHLOW/No.35 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was thirteenth and KAREL ABRAHAM/No.17 Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati was fifteenth.

Again Wild Card rider, BEN BOSTROM/No.23 LCR Honda MotoGP was last, although his times continue to improve.

Qualifying for Sunday’s 32-lap race will be Saturday afternoon at 1:55 pm local time.


Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo
JORGE LORENZO/No.Yamaha Factory Racing was the fastest MotoGP rider Friday afternoon (and overall for the day) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, with a lap of 1:22.056. All eighteen riders went faster in the afternoon, which could be, at least in part, attributed to the warmer weather and tire choices.

The afternoon session was 71 degrees F/22 C, while the track temperature was 25 degrees warmer in the afternoon – 109 F/43C. In the morning, the track temperature was 82.4 F/28 C, and the ambient temperature was 64 F/18 C. Quite a difference.

TOM TREMAYNE of Bridgestone Tires said they brought a new Laguna Seca soft rear tire for the weekend, different than last year’s a softer rear tire. The new tire was to compensate for the cool, foggy mornings. The softer tires warm up faster but wear off quicker than the harder tires which take time to warm up but last longer.

Time for a few bars of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”

Tremayne opined that the riders would go for the harder spec for the race, if “it was like today.” The Friday temperatures ranged from 64 degrees F in the morning to low seventies in the afternoon. Although the weather was predicted for cloudy, the Laguna Seca micro climate was sunny all afternoon, with only a few rare white fluffy clouds at days end. In the distance, the Monterey-Salinas area was getting hit with a circle of fog.

Most riders went for softs in the morning and hards in the afternoon.

Lorenzo, who won last year’s Laguna MotoGP, said “P1 I’m happy with but we need to try to improve corner entry for the bike because there are some tenths in that and it will give me more confidence turning in. It’s not so bad to begin and we will try to go faster tomorrow.”

Ben Spies
Ben Spies
Lorenzo’s teammate, BEN SPIES/No.11 Yamaha Factory Team was the top American rider Friday, in fifth, after running as high as fourth. He said “This track can be kinda treacherous in the morning fog. Today hasn’t been bad, we’ve worked on a lot of different set ups – two different setups in the morning session. We haven’t found a perfect one, we’ve found a compromise so far but tomorrow we have a pretty good game plan on what we’re going to fine tune from the bike we ended on today to get a bit of a better set up for front feel. I feel there’s improvement of half a second in the bike. That half second is there. I’m not going to worry until tomorrow afternoon” Spies felt the data obtained in the morning’s two setups could be transferred to the afternoon. He tried a short bike and a long bike in the morning. There’s 6mm difference between the two.

Second through fourth were the three Repsol Honda teammates, DANI PEDROSA of Spain. Points Leader CASEY STONER from Australia and ANDREA DOVIZIOSO of Italy. The two Rookies, CAL CRUTCHLOW/No.35 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and KAREL ABRAHAM/No.17 Cardion AB Motoracing were thirteenth and fourteenth, respectively.

Wild Card rider, BEN BOSTROM from Northern California is still learning the GP motorcycle and trimmed nearly a second off his time from morning to afternoon. He was last overall.

The other Yank, COLIN EDWARDS/No.5 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 was ninth.

Spies was funny and relaxed after the afternoon session, for an informal media debrief. He was asked by a MotoGP reporter if he could be in any era or time, what would he choose. Spies would go back to the times of Cowboys and Indians. He’d like to ride horses, go to the saloon, etc. But what he’d really like, then or now, is to be a riverboat gambler. Spies said he even Googled it but couldn’t find anything.

Spies eats “clean” and really watches his diet most of the time – lots of pasta, with nothing on it. But he admitted he really fell off the wagon in Amsterdam last month. Spies said he spent more than $80 Euros on deserts and sweets, about 33,000 calories. “If you’re going to eat 3,000 calories of sweets, you may as well go all out…and drink lots of water” He wasn’t sure how he’d feel the next day, but he slept well.

Spies said he likes being at Laguna and in the United States. It’s “kinda like a vacation, being with friends, and I know the language.”


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.



VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha Team fell during the MotoGP Warm-Up, his third fall of the weekend.

The graphics on the 2011 MotoGP Ducati for NICKY HAYDEN will change, especially in the rear, due to changing sponsorship. More than that, Ducati will not reveal.

Pole Sitter GARRETT GERLOFF of Trussville Ala won the MD250H race Sunday morning. The race was marred by a crash on the warm-up lap. Rider PETER LENZ of Vancouver WA suffered “traumatic injuries and was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where he later succumbed. He was 13. His family said “We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss, but know that Peter is racing even faster in the sky.” The young rider had been mentored by MotoGP rider, COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3, and had run Edward’s number – No.45 – on his Moriwaki motorcycle.

NICOLAS TEROL/Bancaja Aspar Team Aprilia won the 125 cc race, after starting second. It was the second consecutive victory for the Spaniard and his second at IMS. Pole Sitter MARC MARQUEZ/Red Bull jAo Motorsport Derbi finished second; however, the Spaniard is leading the standings, four points ahead of Terol. There were no Americans in the race, although KRISTIN LEE TURNER was entered as the Wildcard Rider in Veloce Racing Aprilia. Turner was last in the first practice, of 27 riders, and didn’t participate any further during the weekend.

TONY ELIAS/Gresini Racing Moto2 Moriwaki won the Moto2 race, which was stopped by a Red Flag on the first lap when eight riders crashed. and then shortened to 17 laps. No one was hurt and the race was restarted. Pole sitter SIMON finished second. Wild Card rider, ROGER LEE HAYDEN started twenty-eighth and finished seventeenth in a field of 26, after being one of the unlucky participants in the aforementioned crash.

Kevin Schwanz
Kevin Schwanz. Photo by Lynne Huntting
Hayden’s team was put together by Moriwaki and Honda. KEVIN SCHWANTZ was asked to be the Team Manager. This was a one-off race deal. Although an Aussie owner was interested in purchasing the motorcycle for a Wild Card rider in Australia, that did not happen. The bike will be parted out, with Honda and Moriwaki retrieving their bits and pieces.

Brother NICKY HAYDEN was the Honorary Grand Marshal at the AMA dirt bike race Saturday night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. He also got to run four laps on LARRY PEGRAM’s Ducati dirt bike. His Ducati MotoGP team turned out to watch and support him. A team member told me that it was so sweet to see him ride. The race was the site of the official announcement that Hayden had renewed his Ducati contract for two years. Hayden said “It brought back some good memories, and I got to see my old friends and fans. Obviously to make the announcement (about contract) was the highlight. But the laps weren’t bad either.”

Sunday’s Seen Scene: Some of the ‘celebrities’ seen Sunday included NASCAR driver, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA tightly fit into a set of red leathers to take a ride around the track with RANDY MAMOLA of San Jose CA, considered by some to be the best motorcycle rider never to have won a world championship.

IZOD IndyCar drivers TAKUMA SATO and E.J. VISO, who were in the area after last night’s race at Chicagoland Speedway. Both IRL drivers were there to support friends and fellow countrymen.

MICK DOOHAN, Aussie 500cc World Champion 1994-1998, said “It’s good to have an event here for those who can’t get out to California to see what happens in MotoGP.” Doohan was an early proponent of MotoGP coming to Indy, “so for me it’s good to see that it’s finally arrived.”

Schwantz weighed in on the track surface issue. “The good riders excel whether the surface is slick or bumpy or smooth – still find a way to be the best that they can be and put their motorcycle somewhere near the front.”


Bits and Bobs from the third annual Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Attendance figures for the 2011 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix:
FRIDAY – 25,260; SATURDAY – 48,130; SUNDAY – 62,794; TOTAL – 136,184

The 2009 attendance was 75,130 on Sunday and 146,680 total; 2008 saw 91,064 for the inaugural MotoGP on Sunday which suffered through Hurricane Ike, shortening the MotoGP race and canceling the Moto2 race. Total crowd count for the debut weekend was 174,052.

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo. Photo by Lynne Huntting
JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha Team leads the MotoGP standings with 251 points, 68 points ahead of DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team.

Lorenzo said “The track was so slidey and also the bumps were difficult to use it. So I almost crash in some corners, so I prefer to finish third and not to take so many risks. The track was so slippery and it was very difficult to use the tyres as you wanted to.” He ran hard fronts – as did every MotoGP rider, and was one of 13 riders who chose the hard rear tyres.

Race winner Pedrosa, who started fifth, said “It was very, very warm out there. You know, you didn’t cool down in the 45 minutes you’re out there. So it’s hard. By the end it was hard to stay focused because it was very tiring and my – I had tube for the water but I don’t know why it was not working. So many crashes because of the bumps and the track temperature. It was very important to be focused in every corner and make no mistake with the bumps, especially at the end when the tires were more damaged, when you go over the bumps, the bike is shaking a little bit more and it was more difficult to control.” Pedrosa ran hard fronts and was one of only four MotoGP riders who ran Extremely Hards on the rear.

Ben Spies
Ben Spies. Photo by Brian J. Nelson
BEN SPIES/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 stretched his lead in the Rookie Standings. The Texan rider now leads by 47 points ahead of MARCO SIMONCELLI/San Carlo Honda Gresini. There are six MotoGP Rookies this season.
Spies is sixth in the overall standings, of 21 riders.

Spies’ words: “We came in and did better than I thought we were going to do. We had a good setup, too; it just wasn’t fast enough. And I tried as hard as I could and didn’t make too many mistakes. Saw that we had a gap to third and, you know, just tried to manage it and ride as hard as I could. It was really tricky, and I saw a lot of crash marks out there and I knew some people were hitting the ground, and it was quite easy to make a mistake. But in the end we had to ride 100 percent the whole time with only a three-second gap.

Uplifting Ben Spies
Uplifting Ben Spies. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

“To be doing what we’re doing, not looking at the top American, anything like that, or top satellite bike, just to be the first year and jumping over some of the hurdles we’ve had, I didn’t think it would be going this well. So two podiums, you know. If you had told me we would have had one at the end of the first season, I would have been happy with that and took my money.” He ran hard tyres both front and rear.

Spies received a hugh ovation from the home town crowd for his performance

The other two Americans, NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati Team and COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 are seventh and eleventh, respectfully.

Hayden lost his left knee slider on a drain cover on one of the kerbs, during Lap Three. With ten left hand turns on the 2.262-mile/3.460 km road course. he had to take it really steady from that point on. Hayden wore a huge hole in his leathers.

Edwards admitted to making poor tyre choices, including the extremely hard tyre for the rear, and then changing to a soft at an unscheduled pit stop. “The tyre choice cost me today, but congratulations to Ben.” Edwards retired on lap 17 with no reason given.

Yamaha leads the Constructor Championship, with 260 points, 40 ahead of Honda. The Fiat Yamaha Team is on top of the Team standings, with 366 points – 55 points ahead of Repsol Honda Team.

VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha Team finished fourth in the race and fifth in the standings. He said ” I did did some good laps and I wasn’t too far from the other Yamahas, but unfortunately I paid a lot for my lack of fitness in this heat, and in the end I had to stop pushing because I didn’t have any strength left in my body. I’m happy though, and if you consider I had three small crashes in the weekend, fourth isn’t so bad.”

CASEY STONER/Ducati said about his crash “It was a nothing crash. I am so disappointed. I was being careful over the first few laps because in that heat the track was very greasy.”

MARCO MELANDRI/San Carlo Honda Gresini crashed out on Lap Three. “I wanted to attack Valentino, but lost the front without any warning on the way into the corner.”

MIKA KALLIO/Pramac Racing Team crashed out on Lap 19. “I was fighting with Simoncelli and Bautista (ALVARO BAUTISTA/Rizla Suzuki MotoGP) for seventh position, but in a curve due to a hole in the asphalt I have instantly lost the front tyre and found myself with my face on the asphalt.”

The next round is in Misano next weekend – Labor Day weekend in the USA.


Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa. Photo by Lynne Huntting
MotoGP rider DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team passed Pole Sitter BEN SPIES/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 on Lap Seven of Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and never looked back. It was a slingshot move on the part of the Spaniard, who had been drafting Spies on the front straight. In making the move, he turned the race’s fastest lap (at the time) of 1’41.225. His fastest time was on Lap 11 – 1:40.896/93.4 mph/150.428 kph

At one point the Italian rider’s gap ahead of the American was more than six seconds, but the gap narrowed in the last few laps. The Margin of Victory was 3.575 seconds. Second place was the best MotoGP finish for the Yankee Rookie privateer, who will become the Yamaha factory rider next season.

Current points leader, JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha Team finished third, followed by his Italian teammate, VALENTINO ROSSI – who managed not to fall in the race, and ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/Repsol Honda Team.

Pedrosa said “The conditions were very hard. There was a lot of heat, and it became slippery. But I kept my rhythm the whole race. I’m exhausted.”

Ben Spies
Ben Spies. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Spies said “We did a good race, but it wasn’t perfect. I led the race for a few laps, but I just wasn’t fast enough. I knew it was slippery, definitely tricky conditions, not just the heat. I kept seeing guys go down.I made some mistakes, but the Tech 3 guys gave me a good bike. I just tried to stay where I was comfortable. Congratulations to Dani. I gotta thank my team for putting it up on the podium.

Lorenzo said “With the conditions out there on the track, to finish third was a good result. I’m not too happy but i’m satisfied with what I did.”

American NICKY HAYDEN/Ducati Team started third, but started falling back almost immediately, and by Lap Six was in sixth place, where he remained and finished.

The third American rider, COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3, didn’t have a good day. He started ninth but started dropping to twelfth by Lap Six, and fifteenth by Lap Nine. He pitted on Lap 11, came back on course, and then pitted again for good on Lap 17. He retired with mechanical problems.

Other retired riders included MARCO MELANDRI/San Carlo Honda Gresini, CASEY STONER/Ducati Team, and MIKA KALLIO/Pramac Racing Team, all who crashed out with slides. All were unhappy, but none were injured.

The ground temperature was 95 degrees F/35C, track temperature was 133F/56C, and the humidity dropped to 23 percent.


It feels hotter than 82degrees F/28C at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday morning for the MotoGP warm-up. It could be the humidity, which is 35 percent. The track temperature was 90F/32C.

All 17 riders were on course. JORGE LORENZO/Fiat Yamaha Team was on top at the checkered flag with 1’40.482. However the lead changed almost lap by lap. Among those who led one time or another – sometimes more than once for most – included VALENTINO ROSSI/Fiat Yamaha Team; ALEIX ESPARGARO/Pramac Racing Team, CASEY STONER/Ducati Team, and DANI PEDROSA/Repsol Honda Team.

Pole sitter BEN SPIES/Monster Yamaha Tech 3 finished third, behind Pedrosa. Fourth and fifth were Stoner and ANDREA DOVIZIOSO/Repsol Honda Team. Newly renewed Ducati Team rider, NICKY HAYDEN, ran as high as third before finishing seventh. The other American on the card was COLIN EDWARDS/Monster Yamaha Tech 3, who was twelfth.

Several of the riders have been outspoken about the bumpy circuit, especially CASEY STONER/Ducati Team. One could wonder how Stoner’s whinging will go over with his new Honda team. Some think the Brickyard track could be bumpier than last year and are concerned over the cracks making it through the cold winter.

When watching the bikes in slow motion, one can see the suspension working up and down on the bumps. Rossi has fallen three times this weekend including once in the Sunday morning warm-up. However, the Fiat Yamaha team spokesperson said that riders fall, Rossi is having a bad weekend, his falls aren’t related to the bumps, and his (healing broken) leg is OK.

KEVIN FORBES, IMS Director of Engineering and Construction at IMS, said Saturday night that the 2010 MotoGP track is no different than last year. Nothing has been changed and the course is the same length as before. And, the course is the same for everyone. The MotoGP riders run a different course than do the Indy Racing League Indycars at the Indianapolis 500 or the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars at the Brickyard 400. If the motorcycle track was repaved the riders could then complain how slippery it was.

While DORNA has no comment on the one year extension for IMS, it can be said that DORNA is keen to return to the iconic race track where everything is so nice – “It’s fantastic.” The teams and riders all like the circuit.

There are already two current MotoGP venues in the United States – Indy and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey CA on the West Coast. Although sanctioning bodies are always looking around, there is no indication that MotoGP would be interested in the newly proposed USGPF1 circuit in Austin Texas – perhaps the first ever purpose-built F1 facility in the US. KEVIN SCHWANTZ, 1993 World Champion of 500cc class, which is now MotoGP, lives in Austin, 15 minutes from the proposed track. He is serving in an advisory role to the USGPF1 organization, as a motorcycle consultant.

Kevin Schwantz
Kevin Schwantz. Photo by Lynne Huntting
Schwantz said HERMANN TILKE, German course designer, has a Master Plan available. Schwantz doesn’t want to lose the opportunity, if available, for two-wheel vehicles to use the facility. He said Austin, which is 200 miles or so from Dallas, and Houston, is the eleventh strongest economy in the country. There is Austin Bergstrom Airport three miles away which has long runways, sufficient to accommodate jumbo jets which are used to transport F1 (or FIM) vehicles, equipment and TV gear.

Tilke has been involved with designing and/or developing 20 courses, including two for Moto GP in Alcaniz, Spain, and Moscow, Russia.

Schwantz acknowledges that BERNIE ECCLESTONE, who has reportedly signed a contract with TAVO HELLMUND of Full Throttle Productions, is not always keen on motorcycles. There is one obvious problem which would separate motorcycles from Formula One cars – runoff area. Many F1 circuits utilize concrete or solid surfaces, while motorcycles prefer gravel. Bikers think of gravel as a way to slow down the rider and/or motorcycle when falling, crashing or sliding off track. On a more solid surface, the rider could slide, maybe into a barrier. Motorcycle tracks utilize armco fronted with air fences in the dangerous areas. There are some motorcycle circuits now which are using concrete and gravel for runoff areas.

Schwantz wants motorcycles to be considered when building this world-class motorsports complex. The Texan, who currently runs his motorcycle school at Barber Park and other circuits, would like to run a motorcycle school there, and include motorcycle safety. While he doesn’t envision different course configurations, there could be a North End and a South End.

The Austin circuit is currently planned to start moving dirt the end of this year; and even Tilke admits it will be a long, hard process to meet the deadline of a F1 race at the end of the 2012 season. Schwantz, who attends some of the planning meetings, said it could take 1500 workers working 24/7.

Stay tuned. It’s an ambitious undertaking with a 26-27 month deadline. Some say it will be believed when the first race is held.