Indy Grand Prix
The most impressive rider so far this season, Jorge Lorenzo has a 77-point advantage as he enters the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
Besides the dominant 235-point lead, the Fiat Yamaha rider also arrives at Indy with three significant factors on his side: he won the previous round of MotoGP, the Czech Republic at Brno; he holds the lap record at Indy; and he also won last year’s second annual race at Indy aboard his M1.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “This weekend will be the second race in this country in 2010 and I am looking forward to it because I would like to repeat the same result as I got in Laguna! I just have good memories from America, last month in Laguna and last year in Indy. Last year was amazing, but this time I don’t need to take too many risks. We can avoid it! Indy is a track that I like a lot and it has amazing history. The team and I are planning to continue our great season there this weekend.”
The Spaniard also took a his first rain-soaked podium during both his and the track’s debut year of MotoGP racing in 2008. After his win at Brno, the 23-year-old Lorenzo became the third rider in history to take a top-two spot in the 10 opening races.
His fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa is seeking his third win of the season to diminish some of the lead that Lorenzo holds. The Repsol Honda RC212V rider followed Lorenzo to the finish line at Brno, but didn’t have much luck at last year’s Red Bull GP. Pedrosa grabbed the pole position after setting some blistering lap times during qualifying. But he crashed out early in the race, and had to settle for 10th.
Chasing the two Spaniards is Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner, who has 119 points, mostly due to his five consecutive podium finishes. The Australian, who’s signing with Honda for 2011, missed last year’s race due to his lactose intolerant illness, which plagued him for a few rounds.
Stoner is hoping to better his podium finishes at Indy due to a better-handling Desmosedici GP10. The Ducati Team experimented with front-end tuning at the Brno test last week, and Stoner’s expecting a more competitive bike due to the positive test results.
Only four points behind Stoner is Pedrosa’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso. He didn’t have much luck at Brno, dropping his bike on the exit of turn 9, his bike falling down ahead of the rest of the field. His best finish at Indy was fourth last year, and fifth in 2008.
Hoping the weeklong break from Brno would allow for further healing, Valentino Rossi enters Indy with 101 points. The nine-time world champion finished fifth at Brno, and has stated his love of American tracks.
The Italian has a mix of luck at Indianapolis, tasting victory during 2008, when the track was battered by rains and wins from Hurricane Ike. But last year, he had a DNF due to crashing out while competing with his teammate Lorenzo.
This will be Rossi’s fourth race since returning to MotoGP action. He missed four rounds after breaking his leg at Mugello, but has solid top-five finishes in every race since returning, the best being third at the USGP in Laguna Seca. After the Brno race, Rossi announced he had signed a two-year contract with Ducati starting in 2011.
The three Americans currently competing in MotoGP will have their second home race of the year, with Ducati Team rider Nicy Hayden leading the stateside pack with 99 points. The Kentucky Kid is coming off a sixth-place finish at Brno, but took a podium at Indy last year.
The Rookie Ben Spies is in seventh in the standings, with 90 points. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider, who’s expected to join Lorenzo on Fiat Yamaha next year, had his best qualifying results at Brno, starting from second on the grid. He went on to finish the race in fourth place.
Spies rode as a wildcard rider in 2008, finishing the race in sixth place. His teammate and fellow Texan Colin Edwards sits in 10th place in the standings with 57 points. He had his best finish of the season at Brno, taking seventh behind Hayden.
MotoGP says Randy de Puniet’s incredible return to action at Brno just four weeks after a broken leg will take its next step as the LCR Honda rider attempts to regain the highest privateer honor. He is in eight in the standings, followed by San Carlos Gresini Honda rider Marco Melandri.
MotoGP says Rookies Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) will all want positive first premier class runs at the circuit, whilst those with previous Indy experience in Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Pramac Racing pair Aleix Espargaró and Mika Kallio will look to pull on their knowledge in search of good results.
Having ridden at the Brno test for the first time in two months Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team) will make his return to action. In the case the Japanese rookie does not compete, though, Alex de Angelis will continue as his stand-in on the satellite RC212V.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway was constructed in 1909, and is one of the largest spectator facilities in the world with 257,000 permanent seats. The 2.5-mile oval hosts the Indy 500, and the MotoGP circuit features 1 turns, and includes part of the historical oval.
Indianapolis Record Lap:
Jorge Lorenzo, 2009: 1:40.152
Indianapolis Best Lap:
Dani Pedrosa, 2009: 1:39.730
2009 Indy MotoGP Winners:
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Alex de Angelis
3. Nicky Hayden
2010 MotoGP Point Standings (after 10 of 18 rounds):
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 235
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 158
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 119
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 115
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 101
6. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 99
7. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 90
8. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 75
9. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 61
10. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 57
11. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 54
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 48
13. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 36
14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 32
15. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 31
16. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 25
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 18
18. Alex de Angelis (ITA) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 11
19. Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 4
20. Wataru Yoshikawa (JPN) Fiat Yamaha Team 1