Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo took his sixth win of the 2010 MotoGP Championship after a dominating performance at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca.
The Spaniard was joined on the podium by Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner and teammate Valentino Rossi.
The technical circuit in America challenged the field, with early leader Dani Pedrosa crashing out. Pedrosa still remains in second in the championship behind the leader Lorenzo, but due to his DNF and not earning any points, he is 78 points behind. Sitting in third is Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda teammate, Andrea Dovizioso.
Here’s what the riders had to say after everything was final at Laguna Seca, Round 9 of 18 on the 2010 MotoGP schedule.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “I am so happy to win here at Laguna Seca, it’s something I’ve always dreamed of. I rode so well today, right on the limit and I had to push very hard to stay in touch with Dani. He is always so strong on race day but I knew if I kept the pressure on him then there was a chance he would make a mistake and I would be able to catch him.”
“I’m sorry he crashed but from then on it was very easy for me because I had a big gap from Casey. I really enjoyed riding my M1! I have a big lead in the championship but there is half of the season left and it wouldn’t be the first time a rider has lost the title with such a big lead, so we can’t take anything for granted. I am really looking forward to some time to relax now after two very busy months. Thanks to everyone in my team for doing a brilliant job.”
Valentino Rossi says: “The start of the race was very hard for me because I had a lot of pain and I was far from the podium. But then I saw Pedrosa on the gravel and I just had to try to catch Dovizioso! I just pushed as hard as I could for a few laps and that brought me closer to him and then I couldn’t give up, somehow I caught him and it was a great feeling to pass him to take third.”
“It’s a great result after my injury and it felt so good to be back on the podium in front of the fans. There are so many people I have to thank who have helped me to get back to this position. I am very happy that we have some time off now because I have a lot of work to do on my body to try to be back to my best for Brno, which I love.”
Casey Stoner says: ”The bike felt good at the start of the race but at this circuit you always have to wait for a lap, a lap and a half for the tires to warm up. As soon as everything felt alright I thought I’d try to push and make a pass on Dani for the lead but I immediately lost the front. I pulled myself back together and tried to hunt him down again but made another little mistake.”
“Another lap or two later I closed the front again and ran well wide, I was almost off the track. At that point I decided just to gather myself, ride smooth and consistent and try not to lose too much time to the two guys in front of me. I started to pull them in but lost the front again. It was a shame because the bike felt good around most of the circuit, we just struggled with the front in a couple of corners. Having said that I’m happy and thankful to my guys because we were able to put up more of a fight this weekend.”
Nicky Hayden says: “We had a little problem with the bike when I did my practice start this morning and it happened again in the race but we put up a fight as best we could. The last five laps I was over my head, doing my fastest laps of the weekend almost because I thought there was a chance we might be able to get on the box if the guys in front made a mistake.”
“I dug as deep as I could but it wasn’t enough today. My first two years here at Laguna Seca were much more fun, that’s for sure, but hopefully we can be back here fighting for the win next year – that’s the goal. I want to say thanks to all my guys for their hard work this weekend and to all the fans here at Laguna, their support is incredible – I’m just sorry I couldn’t be on the podium for them.”
Loris Capirossi says: “I think we did our job today because our rhythm is about half-a-second slower than qualifying and that’s where we were. I tried to do a different line on every one of the 32 laps to try and improve my time in the third section, but I struggled with front feeling. The race was quite tough and at the end I got in a fight with Kallio and Espargaro. On the last lap I tried to close the door to protect my place, but it seems he got me right on the line. I thought I was in front but the video shows he beat me. I don’t really care whether it was ninth or tenth because it’s not good enough and we have to go up the leader-board!”
Álvaro Bautista says: “I had a poor start because the bike wheelied too much and I lost some positions, but in the first couple of laps I felt good and was able to pass some other riders. I felt good on the bike and at the start of the third lap I passed Espargaro on the first corner and as I made the normal line to the second turn, which is two consecutive corners, he was in the middle of the last turn and hit me in the body and I crashed. This is very disappointing because I felt really very good and had been able to overtake other riders quite easily. It has been a bad start for me here in Laguna Seca, but we must make sure we keep the hard work going at the next races.”
Roger Lee Hayden says: “This was a very good race for me! After the start I got boxed in at the first corner and after that it took me a few laps to find my pace. The rest of the guys had taken a few seconds on me but I started to pull them back in and I did my fastest lap of the whole week end in doing so. I charged hard and caught De Angelis with 2 laps to go I passed him and took 11th place.”
“At the start of the week I really did not think I could have taken 11th place. I really want to thank LCR Team for this fantastic opportunity. Everybody in the Team has bent over backwards to help me in every way. The guys worked really hard on the bike and made it very comfortable for me to ride. They put absolutely no pressure on me this week end for a result but this is the American GP and all my friends, family and fans are here so I wanted to give them all a good result. I would love a chance to ride for this Team again as they are a fantastic bunch of guys and the machine they gave me was perfect”.
Ben Spies says: “I got a really good start and was third but then for the next couple of laps I just couldn’t get my speed up fast enough. The group in front pulled a bit of a gap on me but once I found my rhythm I caught Nicky and Valentino pretty quickly. I passed Nicky and got right on the back of Valentino and it was a good fight with him. I was actually going to attack him on the next lap when I had a problem entering the final corner on lap 25.”
“I ran wide and lost out and although it wasn’t the podium I wanted in front of my home crowd, I’m happy because I had the speed to come through the field and I had the speed to be on the podium. I couldn’t quite finish the job and that was down to me. But I’d rather leave here knowing I could have been on the podium rather than leave here in eighth place and not on the pace. I can’t ask for a lot more because I’m in the top six again, leading non-factory rider in the race again and putting up a strong fight, so I’m not too upset.”
Colin Edwards says: “I’m really happy with the way I rode all weekend and there was nothing more I could have done. Fighting for seventh is not really where I wa nt to be in my home race, but compared to where I have been recently it is a big improvement and thanks to all my guys at the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew for all their effort. I had a good early battle with Melandri and Simoncelli and that was fun and I made a couple of good moves on them because I was quite a bit faster.”
“Once I got by Simoncelli I put my head down to see if I could break them and that’s what I did. But I couldn’t even see the group in front of me and I just slowed my pace up a little bit because it made no sense to crash out of my home race when I was never going to catch them up. I was pretty much stuck in seventh all weekend and I never really had the pace of the leading group. But I’m closer to where I know I should be and the upgrades from Yamaha were a help and I can look forward to a good break confident of a strong second half of the season.”
Dani Pedrosa says: “At the time I that I crashed I was pushing hard to maintain the gap to Lorenzo and my rhythm was good. Unfortunately though I hit a bump on the way into the corner and I couldn’t do anything – I was down. It’s very very disappointing obviously but this can happen when you’re trying everything to win. You have to push as much as you can and take risks – and I really wanted to win this race.”
“The one thing we can do now is to remember that we were having a good race until this moment, and we were leading the race – this is what I want to take from the weekend. You cannot sit there with your arms crossed thinking about what could have been. For the whole weekend me and the team were working well and we put ourselves in a winning position. It hasn’t worked out for us but we’ll come back fighting at the next one.”
Andrea Dovizioso says: “I cannot be happy about this result because the podium was so close. I made a good start on the inside, but then got a little bit trapped going through turn one and lost positions. I really wanted to get away with the front riders but in the first three laps I lost time behind Spies, and because of this I lost contact with the leaders. I was lapping with a pace of 1m 22.5 and the middle of the race was going well, but in the last laps Valentino began to go faster and I couldn’t lap at the low 1m 22s pace he was able to achieve.”
“When he came past me I did everything I could to take him back but I was not fast enough – especially in T3 and T4. I didn’t have the performance on the brakes to make a move – so I couldn’t overtake him again. The result is not what we wanted and so we have to keep working hard so that we can challenge for race wins – that’s the target.”
Mika Kallio says: “Finally, a good result after so many bad races. I had a very good start which allowed me to find myself in eleventh position after the first lap. I struggled with Capirossi to maintain this position, but unfortunately he was much faster than me. Thanks also to Aleix that has reached and overtake me, I was able to lower my pace lap and together we took Capirossi.”
“I could be very close to Loris in some parts of the circuit and I studied its trajectories to see where I was able to try to overcome him. Three laps from the finish I saw my teammate slipping after touching the white line with the front. I’ve not lost my concentration and I tried in every way to stay as close as possible to Loris. In the last corner exit I made my best to try to use as much I can his train and thanks to the higher top speed I managed to get ahead of him be one-thousandth the finish line. It been a very tiring weekend for me that I had never race on this track, I hope this result will serve to make a change in my season so far for poor of results. ”
Aleix Espargarò says: “What a shame! As usual I had some starting problems, I have lost just a couple of positions in the first turn, but I had recovered the thirteenth position from which I started in less than one lap. In the third lap Bautista tried to overtake me and we touched. I apologize for the accidental contact with him and his fall, I know how important it is for all the rookie to score points on all the tracks. The contact has made me lose few positions and I found myself struggling with De Angelis and R.L. Hayden in the fifteenth position.”
“My pace allowed me to be faster than them, I have overcome them and in a few laps I had reduced the gap I had from my teammate. Once I overtake Mika, I had Capirossi ahead of my with a gap of more than three seconds. Form the box my technician have reported that my detachment was decreased and in five laps I was able to close the gap. Among the twenty-second and twenty-fourth lap I struggled with Capirossi for the ninth position. With three laps I overtake the Italian rider and tried to keep my pace constantly to put a little gap between me and him. During the third last lap I slightly touched the white line that demarcates the track and I lost the front of my bike. Too bad because I would have easily finished the race in the top ten, that on a so difficult track would be a good result at the debut. ”
Marco Simoncelli says: “Bad things usually come in threes and that proved to be the case for me this weekend. I crashed again in the race and it was a shame because I was running really well. I could have finished seventh, but in any case I was struggling more under braking today than yesterday and I couldn’t find my pace particularly over the opening few laps. I managed to ride around my problems and put together a decent pace but as soon as I pushed a tiny bit harder under braking I hit a bump and the front folded. Now we have to wait and see if we can make up for it at Brno.”
Marco Melandri says: “That was a really tough race for me. We thought we had found something good in the warm-up this morning but we made a couple more changes for the race and they didn’t have the effect we’d hoped. We also have a lot to learn about the new electronics package. The bike changed a lot as the race progressed and it was difficult for me to manage. After fifteen laps I was really struggling under braking, especially into the left-handers because I didn’t have any strength. It was important for me to get to the finish and gather as much data as possible.”