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MotoGP Riders Meet Laguna Seca



Valentino Rossi, with his bike painted in Yamaha’s 50th Anniversary yellow slices through the Laguna Seca Corkscrew

The sound of unmuffled 990cc prototype race machinery thundered through the serene, oak-studded hillsides surrounding Laguna Seca Raceway in Central California for the first time today. Many of the MotoGP riders had never seen the track, much less ridden it.

During today’s practice, the uninitiated gently eased their way into the pace, while former World superbike and AMA superbike riders (with hundreds of laps of Laguna Seca already under their belts) charged to the top of the time charts.

Troy Bayliss (Honda) broke the track record and led the charts, with Nicky Hayden (Honda) and John Hopkins (Suzuki) close behind. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) was clearly cautious in his approach to a new track he has called “dangerous” and ended practice with the sixth quickest time. Qualifying is tomorrow.