The MotoGP paddock heads stateside again this week for the second of the two US rounds of the 2011 MotoGP Championship. The legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host round 12 of the Championship, the second home race for Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies. The 2010 Indianapolis event became a feat of endurance for the MotoGP riders with track temperatures hitting 50 degrees over qualifying and race day. The sweltering conditions raised grip issues across the grid and the heat was physically exhausting for the riders.
Lorenzo struggled over the entire weekend to find a perfect set up for the difficult conditions last year, enduring the heat to finally deliver a well earned podium finish with third in the race. The World Champion started from second on the grid just behind Spies. Lorenzo has a good record at the circuit, claiming victory in 2009 and his first ever wet podium in 2008.
Despite the conditions MotoGP rookie Spies enjoyed his most successful race of the year at Indianapolis in 2010. The Texan rider took a scorching maiden pole position start from future team mate Lorenzo and converted it into a season best finish of second on race day, his first MotoGP podium.
With 257,000 permanent seats the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest spectator sporting facility in the world and fills to capacity for its flagship events, the Indy 500 and Allstate 400 car races. Originally constructed in 1909 with a 2.5-mile oval, an exciting 16-turn motorcycle road circuit, which includes part of the historic oval, was purpose-built for MotoGP. The circuit was resurfaced earlier this year, improving the grip levels considerably for the riders.
As part of Yamaha’s ongoing 50th Anniversay of Grand Prix racing celebrations, Yamaha Factory Racing will again run the special red and white livery at Indianapolis.
“Indy is a track I really enjoy. I treasure wonderful moments like the podiums in 2008 and 2010, and my victory in 2009 wearing Captain America’s helmet. I am now in good shape and am ready to regain the ground we lost in Brno, where a mistake put a distance between Casey and I. I hope the good energy I feel in this track will still help us to fight for the title. I am really looking forward to going back to the US and riding my M1.”
“I’m really hoping to be completely fit for this weekend. I’ve still got some numbness in the arm but it is better than it was at Brno. We’ve been working hard to get it right and we will of course give it 100% as always. I’ve been looking forward to this race all year; it was pretty crazy last year as a rookie to take pole and a second in the race. We’re going to put on a good show for all the home fans and see what we can do.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“We had some problems at Indianapolis last year but they resurfaced the circuit so we’re looking forward to checking it out as it wasn’t in the best shape before. Jorge struggled to get the bike set up properly on it in 2010. With Ben’s excellent experience over there we believe we are able to fight for victory or podiums. If we want to win the World Championship we need to win races and start beating Casey, it is going to be a big challenge but we’re ready for it!”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“I’m hoping Ben’s physical condition is better for the weekend; I’m hoping that he will be 100% because it is his home race and expectations are quite high. The team are going to use some new updates that we tested in Brno; these will help both Ben and Jorge challenge for the front. Last year both riders finished on the podium so we are confident for this event.”
Lives: Barcelona, Spain
GP victories: 37 (17 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Brazil, 2003 (125cc)
First GP: Jerez, Spain, 2002 (125cc)
GP starts: 157 (62 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 44 (16 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)
World Championships: 3 (MotoGP 2010, 250cc, 2006/7)
Lives: Longview Texas / Lake Como Italy
GP victories: 1
First GP victory: Assen, Netherlands, 2011
First GP: Donington, UK, 2008 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 32
Pole positions: 1
World Championships: 1 (WSB 2009)
Grand Prix Results: Indianapolis 2010
1. D.Pedrosa Honda 47’31.615
2. B.Spies Yamaha +3.575
3. J.Lorenzo Yamaha +6.812
Indianapolis Record Lap
J.Lorenzo (Yamaha) 2009, 1’40.152
Indianapolis Best Lap
D.Pedrosa (Honda) 2009, 1’39.730
Edwards and Crutchlow ready for legendary Indianapolis challenge
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team embarks on another American adventure this weekend, with Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow ready to tackle the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit.
Edwards is looking forward to racing in front of his home fans for the second time in just over a month, the Indianapolis round coming hot on the heels of his recent eighth place finish in the US Grand Prix at the Laguna Seca track in California.
The Texan is particularly looking forward to checking out the infield section of the 2.620 miles circuit, which has been completely resurfaced in readiness for round 12 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.
T he 37-year-old will arrive in Indianapolis confident he can consolidate his position inside the top 10 in the World Championship rankings while also strengthening his bid to finish leading non-factory rider this season. He is currently on an impressive run of six consecutive top 10 finishes to sit ninth in the rankings ahead of this Sunday’s 28-lap race.
This weekend’s race presents Crutchlow with another difficult but intriguing learning experience. The British rider has never seen the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is steeped in motorsport history and world famous for hosting the Indy 500, but he’s looking forward to getting to work with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew after a positive test session at the Brno circuit recently.
Crutchlow made improvements to the front-end feeling of his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine and he is determined to end a frustrating run of results in Indianapolis to get his bid for the pres tigious Rookie of the Year crown back on track.
“Racing at home in America for the second time in a few weeks is awesome and I’m really looking forward to this weekend. The build-up to the Indianapolis race is always pretty special because you’ve got the mystique and the history of the place and I really like that part of it. The people at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have done a fantastic job to make MotoGP a success and hopefully the fans will get to see an exciting show this weekend. The track isn’t too technical or demanding but I’m looking forward to riding on the new pavement on the infield. We all know it was pretty bumpy in parts but they’ve taken our feedback on board and done something to improve it, which is brilliant. I’m on a consistent run of results at the moment and hopefully that will continue this we ekend. I’d like to be a further up the order and pushing inside the top six a little more, but the guys in front of me every week are all on factory bikes, so I think all of us inside the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team are giving the maximum to do the best job we can.”
“I am really looking forward to going to Indy because I’ve heard so much about what a fantastic facility the Motor Speedway is. But without any previous experience of riding there, I’m anticipating another difficult challenge. It is one I am relishing though because I’m determined to end this difficult period in the Championship. I haven’t scored enough points in the last few races, so I’m looking forward to learning Indy but also getting a good result there too. The Yamaha is a good bike, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is brilliant, and I believe in my own ability, so we’ve got to put a ll the ingredients together to deliver the performances we know we are capable of. The test after the Brno race was really beneficial because we could work on the bike a lot and I could focus on adapting my style a lot more. We’ve got some more ideas to help us in the future, so hopefully a good result this weekend will help set me up for a strong finish to the season.”
2011 MotoGP United States
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Daniel Pedrosa, 8/30/2009)
Last Years Winner: