At 5 p.m. (EST), the world’s fastest motorcycle racers will compete at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Round 9 of 18 in the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
Fiat Yamaha rider and championship leader Jorge Lorenzo leads the 17-rider field after setting a new fastest lap at Laguna Seca (1:20.978) that placed him first on the grid. Joining Lorenzo up front at the 2.243-mile circuit containing the legendary Corkscrew are Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner, who qualified 0.191 of a second behind the Spaniard, and Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso.
Lorenzo leads Pedrosa by 47 points in the championship, with Dovizioso sitting in third with 103 points.
The race will be aired live at 5 p.m. on SPEED tonight, but before the action begins, here’s a bit of inside knowledge from MotoGP about the Laguna Seca field of riders.
• Jorge Lorenzo is the first Yamaha rider to start on pole at five successive Grand Prix races since Max Biaggi in 2001 on the 500cc two-stroke YZR500. Lorenzo will be aiming to win for the first time at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and also to extend his run of successive podium finishes to ten.
• Second on the grid, Casey Stoner has finished in third place at the last three MotoGP races. If Stoner does not win here at the Red Bull US Grand Prix it will be ten successive races without a victory, representing his longest barren spell since joining the Ducati factory team.
• Andrea Dovizioso starts from the front row for the first time since moving up to the MotoGP class at the start of 2008, after starting in 4th place on the grid on five occasions.
• Dani Pedrosa is starting from fourth place on the grid and will be aiming to score back-to-back MotoGP wins for the first time. He is going for his third victory of 2010, which would be his greatest number of MotoGP wins in a single season, having had two victories in each of his four years in the class.
• Both Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo have had ten MotoGP wins. The only Spanish rider with more premier-class GP wins is Alex Criville with fifteen.
• Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the first track this year where Ben Spies has had previous Grand Prix experience, as he raced there in 2008 as a wild-card rider on a Suzuki and finished 8th. Spies will be starting from 5th place on the grid and for the first time this year is the top non-factory rider in qualifying.
• Valentino Rossi has qualified in 6th place on the grid, which is his worst qualifying result since the final race of 2008 in Valencia.
• Eight on the grid is the best qualifying result for Colin Edwards since he was 5th fastest qualifier at Mugello. Since finishing second in 2005, Colin Edwards has not had a top six finish at this GP.
• Marco Simoncelli is in ninth on the grid and the fastest qualifier of the five riders making their first appearance at Laguna Seca.
• Tenth fastest qualifier Hector Barbera is the only one of the non-factory riders to score points in every one of the first eight races of the year.
• Before the MotoGP race takes place this weekend Honda and Yamaha are level with 57 victories each during the 4-stroke MotoGP era.
• If both Roger Lee and Nicky Hayden finish in the top fifteen it will be the first time that two brothers have scored points in a MotoGP race since the Dutch TT in 2005 when Carlos Checa finished 9th and David Checa 15th.