Laguna Seca hosts the ninth round of the 2010 MotoGP Championship this weekend, a track that is famous for the Corkscrew, which is a tight left-right downhill chicane that is always a challenge for the world-class motorcycle racers.
The 2.243-mile circuit also features many other downhill braking zones, placing extra stress on the front end and maximizing tire wear.
And besides the challenge of the track, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will also test every racer’s endurance, considering there was no break between last round at Sachsenring and the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.
Here’s some of the riders’ point of views.
Dani Pedrosa says: “To take the win and Germany was fantastic and it means we’re going into this weekend at Laguna Seca in great shape. I think the race will be very similar to the last one, with laptimes very close, and I hope we have a repeat of the way we worked in Germany. The key point in Sachsenring was that we were competitive and fast from the first practice on Friday. When everything is in place like this we have the level to compete with any of our rivals and to beat them – and that’s what I want to achieve again. We had a great race in Laguna Seca last year and we were able to win, so I would love to go on holiday after this weekend with another victory under our belts.”
“I know we have to work very hard to make it happen because Lorenzo is not making many mistakes, Stoner is back to his best level, and Rossi has returned very strong – and I’m sure that in the States he will be even better than in Germany. But we can be up there again if we push hard. We started the season not being able to fight with the riders in front, but now we have got to the required level to do this. Of course, we must keep our feet on the ground and not relax at all”.
Andrea Dovizioso says ”Now we go straight to Laguna Seca after Germany and I’m really looking forward to racing there – because it’s a unique track – and also because I want to improve on my result from the last race in Germany. We are completely focused on getting a strong finish this weekend before we head into the MotoGP summer break. Last year I was fast at Laguna and I was having a great race until unfortunately I clipped the plastic poles at the exit of pitlane at high speed and it damaged my clutch lever, which later contributed to my crash.”
“Until that point I was fighting with Valentino and it could have been a good race. But still, this means I’m confident going into the weekend and I know we can be strong at this Grand Prix. Dani won the race here last year – and also the last race in Germany on Sunday – and this gives us extra motivation too. The Laguna track is special – very different from the standard of tracks we are used to in Europe, and for this reason it is interesting to race here. I really like the atmosphere, the people and the fans and it’s always a pleasure to come to California”.
Marco Simoncelli says: “I had a lot of fun at Sachsenring, the whole race was fantastic and now we go to a circuit that I only know from playing Gran Turismo on the games console. I´ve never been there before so I am curious so see how it is, also we will get an electronic upgrade in America so there will be a few new things to get used to – that will make it a tough weekend for me and for the guys in the team. There will be a lot of things for us to get used to in the first session, which won´t be easy, but I don´t take long to learn new tracks so I´ll just have to take it steady and learn how the electronics work because even if they don´t make an immediate difference I´m sure they will do in the future. I hope I can continue in this way because at the moment I am feeling very happy with things. ”
Marco Melandri says: “Laguna Seca is one of the nicest tracks in the world as far as I am concerned but it won´t be easy. I was disappointed after Germany because I thought I was going to be in better physical shape but it proved to be the opposite and I completely ran out of strength. It wasn´t easy so my confidence is not the best going to America. There are a few less left-hand corners at Laguna so I hope I can recover my feeling with the bike. I would really like to make up for the result at Sachsenring at a circuit I like and where I have always raced well so I hope I can be fighting as much as possible. The atmosphere in California is special, the track is fast and flowing and as I said before I love it there but I don´t want to make any predictions until I see what shape I am in.”
Casey Stoner says: “Laguna is a circuit I have always liked because it’s tough but great fun and it follows the natural undulations and direction changes of the land. I also enjoy the raucous but respectful atmosphere that the American fans provide. Naturally I am looking for a good result but I don’t want to make any predictions because recently we have been close to the front without managing to finish with the result we want. We’re not far off – we just need a little more grip, stability under braking and handling, which would give us the extra tenth or two we’re missing. It is not much but at the level we’re at it will be noticeable. We’ll see what happens but the objective is to improve on what we have done so far.”
Nicky Hayden says: “I can’t wait to get to Laguna, a circuit that is extremely special to me. It is tough but really nice and it is where I won my first GP. I’m not just saying it because I’m American but it really is a unique place. There isn’t really a straight – all the corners run into each other and they are a mixture of fast and slow bends. The Corkscrew is unique, a three-storey drop with a blind entry – you feel like you’re taking off into space. Another thing about Laguna is that you can’t afford to run off line at any point because the exit to one corner is the entry to the next and you have to get your line right. At Sachsenring we had a tough weekend but recovered in the race and found a good feeling for the bike. That makes me confident for this weekend.”
Alex de Angelis says: “For sure it will be easier for me in Laguna Seca, as it is the second race for me in MotoGP after Sachsenring. Also many of the new MotoGP riders have never been to Laguna, so it is new for them as well and they have to adapt and learn like me. So I think it is easier to be part of the group there. The first practice will be a first practice for all of us. My target is not to be last in the race. I know it will not be easy, but I will try whatever it needs to make it happen.”
Aleix Espargarò says: “I am very sorry for the Sachsenring’s race outcome, I fell when I was in twelfth position, but I was very close to the riders ahead of me. I wanted to take part in the second stint, but the regulation prohibits it. Luckily I have not broken anything in the fall. I had a little fear when I was in Chemnitz hospital because the doctors had no common opinion on the diagnosis.”
“After the x-ray , some say that my C7 vertebra was broken and that I had to rest for two weeks. Others argued that what they saw was an old fracture and that I would still have no problem to ride my bike next weekend. Fortunately, the final diagnosis was that I haven’t got fractures during the fall. I have always heard about Laguna Seca’s and the Corkscrew myth, I cannot wait to face it and see if the change of direction and the subsequent fast downhill take your breath away as they say. I studied the track with my engineers, it will be very important to start to be fast since Friday and continue to progress in the following days. ”
Mika Kallio says: “I feel sorry for the German Grand Prix, after Aleix release I was the only rider in the race of the Pramac Racing Team and I had to concluded in the best way the race to give a little satisfaction to my team. I arrived too fast at the first corner and I have lose the grip off the rear tire and my bike have slipped away. I’m glad that Aleix is okay after that dangerous incident. I am very sorry for the incident with Randy, unfortunately all riders know that something can happen when we ride a bike. I hope that he will return soon to battle with us.”
“Last year after Assen’s race I had suffered a hand injury and that is why I didn’t take part to the United States Grand Prix, this week will be also for me the debut on this track. I have studied a bit the track and review some videos of the recent years races, I should not have many problems to find the right feeling. I will strive hard to recover the points lost in Germany. ”
Jorge Lorenzo says: “This is the first time this season that we’ve left Europe and I’m excited to be going to Laguna Seca again, one of the most famous tracks in the world. I like riding there and one of my aims is to win there, some day! I have had some crashes there but last year I also took the pole and made it onto the podium. We come from a second place in Sachsenring and our target remains the same, to be consistent and to always aim for the podium. Before the race we will go to see Jay Leno and also I will hopefully visit the headquarters of Twitter in LA.”
Valentino Rossi says: “I was so happy to be back in Sachsenring and to be fighting for the podium, even though I just missed out, was more than we could have hoped for. I still have some pain in my leg but I am growing stronger every day and I hope this week that I will be in better shape once again and I can try to improve a little bit more. Laguna is different to anywhere else we go but it’s always great fun to ride there and the last two years I’ve had great races.”
Álvaro Bautista says: “I am really looking forward to going to Laguna Seca, it looks like an amazing track and very complicated. I have been there before, but never raced, so this is a completely new experience for me. The Corkscrew is quite a scary looking turn, so I cannot wait to get my bike down that – I am sure it will be a fantastic feeling. I know it will be difficult this weekend, but we will continue with the way we have been working recently and carry on learning what the bike and I am capable of doing.”
Loris Capirossi says: “We must quickly put the final part of last Sunday’s race behind us and focus on what happened in the first part when the bike worked the best it had done all weekend. We are very close to finding the solution we are looking for to make us fully competitive. I know we can run at the front of the field because the bike has the performance to be able to do that, we just need to get the settings right and I’m sure we’ll be right in amongst the fight.”