MotoGP Laguna Seca: Stats & Facts

MotoGP Stats & Facts

The halfway point of the 2010 MotoGP season occurs this weekend at Laguna Seca for Round 9 of 18. The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix ends a hectic period for motorcycle racing’s finest riders and teams as they finish a stretch of five races in six weekends.

Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo leads the championship with 185 points, 47 ahead of Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. During last year’s meeting at Mazda Raceway, Lorenzo placed third behind his teammate Valentino Rossi and race-winner Pedrosa at the shortest track on the schedule (2.243 miles).

But before the race weekend at Laguna Seca begins this Friday, and additional points are given, here are some stats and facts about the circuit in Monterey, Calif., one of two tracks in the United States including Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Facts and statistics from the 11 previous Grand Prix events held at the Laguna Seca circuit:

  • The first USA Grand Prix at Laguna Seca took place in 1988. The 500cc race was won by Eddie Lawson, with Wayne Gardner finishing second and Niall Mackenzie taking the final place on the podium.
  • Following this initial visit in 1988, there was a USA Grand Prix held through to 1994, with the exception of 1992.
  • After an absence of ten years, Grand Prix racing returned to Laguna Seca in 2005, with the track slightly modified which increased the length from 2.196 miles (3.534 km) to 2.243 miles (3.61 km). The Laguna Seca circuit is the shortest on the current Grand Prix calendar.
  • The 2005 event was dominated by the home riders with previous track knowledge, Nicky Hayden taking his first Grand Prix victory in front of Colin Edwards. This race was the last time that riders from the USA have had a one-two finish in Grand Prix racing.
    Of the eleven premier-class races held at Laguna Seca, seven have been won by riders from the USA.
  • Since Nicky Hayden’s victory in 2006, there has not been an American rider finish on the MotoGP podium at the Laguna Seca GP.
  • Since returning to Laguna Seca in 2005 with the 4-stroke MotoGP machines, Honda have had three wins, with one win each for Ducati and Yamaha.
  • Chris Vermeulen’s second place finish in 2007 and third in 2008 are the only podiums for Suzuki at the Laguna Seca circuit with their four-stroke GP machine.
  • Only five riders have taken part in all five MotoGP races that have been run at Laguna Seca since the return of Grand Prix racing in 2005: Colin Edwards, Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden.

MotoGP Rider Facts:

  • Jorge Lorenzo qualified 4th on his first visit to Laguna Seca in 2008, but crashed out on the first lap of the race suffering several fractures in his right foot. Last year he had a big crash at the end of qualifying after claiming pole position and suffered a broken metatarsal and separation on the right collarbone. Even so he challenged Rossi for second towards the end of the race before settling for 3rd, less than 2 seconds behind the winner Pedrosa.
  • Dani Pedrosa finished 2nd and set a new lap record on his first visit to Laguna Seca in 2006. In 2007 he finished fifth after qualifying strongly in second place on the grid. In 2008 he withdrew from the event suffering from injuries received in the previous event in Germany, after he had tried to ride in Friday practice. Last year he got a great start from the second row of the grid and led the race from start to finish, taking his first victory of 2009. Following his win in Germany, Pedrosa will be aiming to take back-to-back MotoGP victories for the first time.
  • Andrea Dovizioso made his first appearance at Laguna Seca in 2008 and finished the top Honda and first Michelin rider home in 4th place. Last year he was battling for 4th with Valentino Rossi when he crashed on the seventh lap having earlier clipped a plastic post separating the pit exit from the track and bending the clutch lever.
  • Casey Stoner completely dominated the USA Grand Prix in 2007; he qualified on pole, won the race by almost ten seconds after leading from start to finish, and set a new lap record in the process. In 2008 Stoner was fastest in all practice and qualifying sessions and set a new lap record in the race, but finished 2nd after running off the track while battling with Rossi. Last year he arrived at the US GP suffering from the illness that was to plague his season and finished fourth.
  • Nicky Hayden won at Laguna Seca in both 2005 and 2006. He had less fortune in 2007 when he collided with John Hopkins at the first corner which effectively ended his race and in 2008 he finished 5th after qualifying on the front row of the grid. Last year he qualified 8th and finished 5th, which was his best qualifying and race result up to that point in the season when he was still getting to grips with his Ducati.
  • Valentino Rossi’s victory in 2008 was only his second podium at Laguna Seca, his only other was 3rd in the first visit to the circuit for a Grand Prix in 2005. He retired from the race with technical problems in 2006, and in 2007 was the first Michelin rider home in 4th place in a race dominated by riders using Bridgestone tyres. Last year he finished a very close second after closing on Pedrosa by 1.8 seconds over the final two laps.
  • Ben Spies has lots of experience riding in the AMA Superbike championship at Laguna Seca, which includes three race victories. Laguna Seca is the first track this year where Spies has had previous Grand Prix experience, as he raced there in 2008 as a wild-card rider on a Suzuki and finished an impressive eighth, in only his second GP appearance.
  • Marco Simoncelli’s sixth place finish at the German Grand Prix is his best result since moving up to the MotoGP class for 2010.
  • Marco Melandri finished third at Laguna Seca in 2006 and repeated the result in 2007 despite suffering a high speed crash in practice after colliding with Kurtis Roberts, which left him with several painful injuries including a fractured ankle. In 2008 on the Ducati he qualified 15th but was up to 9th after nine laps before crashing and re-starting to eventually finish 16th. Last year he finished 10th after suffering a big crash in Sunday morning warm-up that left the bike badly damaged.
  • Colin Edwards’ best GP result at Laguna Seca is second in 2005. His results since then are: 9th in 2006 suffering from a bout of flu, in 2007 he was 11th having grip problems and in 2008 he finished down in 14th suffering the same problems many of the Michelin riders experienced. Last year was better with a 7th place finish, after qualifying in the same position on the grid.
  • Loris Capirossi won the 250cc Grand Prix at Laguna Seca back in 1993. He has had less success in the MotoGP class there, his best result is an 8th place in 2006 riding a Ducati. In 2007 he retired early in the race when his bike had gearbox problems and in 2008 he was 15th still suffering from injuries from his crash at the Dutch TT. Last year he crashed at turn 6 on the fourth lap; after re-starting he pulled into the pits at the end of the lap to retire from the race.
  • Mika Kallio will be racing at Laguna Seca for the first time having missed the race last year as he was recovering from a skin graft to the hand that he had injured in his crash at the Dutch TT.
  • Alex de Angelis’ first appearance at Laguna Seca was in 2008 and he made an instant impact with the 4th fastest time in the first practice session. However, he crashed in qualifying and broke his left thumb which restricted his performance in the race and he finished 13th. He had another disappointing weekend last year at the US GP when he finished 11th after getting a bad start and ending the first lap at the back of the field.
  • Marco Simoncelli, Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista and Aleix Espargaro will all be racing for the first time at the Laguna Seca circuit.
  • Roger Lee Hayden, who is substituting for Randy de Puniet, has had one previous start in MotoGP which was at Laguna Seca in 2007 as a wild-card rider on a Kawasaki. He qualified in 16th place on the grid and finished the race in 10th and first American rider across the line.

MotoGP Racing Numbers:

  • 190 – Randy de Puniet suffered a fractured left tibia and fibula in the crash at the German Grand Prix which will cause him to miss the race in the USA. This will bring to an end an impressive run of 190 successive GP starts for De Puniet, who has never missed a race since becoming a full-time Grand Prix rider in 1999.
  • 67 – Following the German Grand Prix, there have been 67 MotoGP races without a winner from the USA, since Nicky Hayden won at Laguna Seca three years ago.
  • 34 years ago – race day at Laguna Seca will be the 34th anniversary of Barry Sheene winning the Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp in 1976 to clinch his first world title and give Suzuki their first 500cc title success.
  • 33- Dani Pedrosa’s win at the German Grand Prix was the 33rd win of his Grand Prix career across all classes – all of which have been on Honda machinery. This is the same number of Grand Prix wins that Valentino Rossi achieved when riding Honda bikes. Only three riders have won more Grand Prix races for Honda – Mick Doohan (54 wins), Jim Redman (45 wins) and Mike Hailwood (41 wins).
  • 16 years ago – On the day of qualifying at Laguna Seca, it will be exactly sixteen years ago that Kevin Schwantz won the 500cc race at Donington Park in 1994, after suffering a huge high-side crash during qualifying. This was the last of his 25 Grand Prix victories.
  • 15 – The number of previous World Championship Grand Prix events held in the USA. The first two GP events held in the United States in 1964 and 1965 took place at the Daytona circuit, there have been eleven held at the Laguna Seca circuit and for the past two years Indianapolis has also been host to motorcycle Grand Prix racing.
  • 10 – Dani Pedrosa’s victory at the German GP was his tenth win in the premier-class, which is the same number of victories as great rival Jorge Lorenzo. The only Spanish rider with more premier-class wins is Alex Criville with 15.
  • 8 – Jorge Lorenzo has finished on the podium at each of the first eight races of the year, joining an elite group of riders who have achieved this previously in the premier- class: Giacomo Agostini, Wayne Rainey, Mick Doohan, Kevin Schwantz and Valentino Rossi.
  • 7 – Spanish riders have won the last seven MotoGP races, which is the longest ever sequence of successive premier-class victories by Spain as a nation. However there is still some way to go to challenge the record of 28 successive premier-class wins by the USA starting with Freddie Spencer’s win at Mugello in 1982.
  • 4 – After the German Grand Prix, just four riders have scored points at every one of the first eight MotoGP races of the year – Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Hector Barbera.
  • 3 – The same three riders (Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Stoner) have finished on the MotoGP podium at the last three races.
  • 1 – Valentino Rossi has not started from pole position at Laguna Seca. It is the only one of the current circuits, at which he has taken part in a Grand Prix, where has not had a pole in the premier-class.