Moto2: Toni Elias Leads Into Indy
Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) won the previous Moto2 race in Brno and carries the momentum of that fourth win of the season, and second in a row, into this weekend’s inaugural Moto2 race at IndianapolisMotor Speedway.
Elias, who twice raced in the MotoGP class at Indianapolis, has been the standout in the Moto2 category. In addition to his four wins, a class record, Elias has been on the front row in six of nine races.
Elias’s serial success has given him a 55-point lead after nine of 17 races and the Spaniard and his Gresini Racing team can now begin to think about winning the first ever Moto2 World Championship.
The rider with the second most wins is Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up), the Italian who was inconsistent early on, but has since been a front of the pack fixture. The Italian broke through with his first win in his home grand prix at Mugello, the fourth race of the year.
That was followed by a 12th in Great Britain, then a win from the pole in Assen. The next finish was a 13th with an asterisk: He was penalized for passing under a waving yellow while well in control of the race. Following Catalunya he finished second in Germany and third in the Czech Republic.
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki) has cooled slightly after a mid-season burst that landed him on the podium in three races in a row.
Then came a crash in German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, followed by an 11th place finish in the team’s home grand prix in the Czech Republic, where electronics problem stunted his charge. The Swiss rider believes his team can sort through these
The two American venues couldn’t be more different. The late-July U.S. Grand Prix was held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the shortest and tightest GP venue, a rollicking, yet intimate, 3.610k natural road course draped over the hills of Monterey, California.
By contrast, the Indianapolis Grand Prix is held on a 4.218k road course which is mostly built within, and utilizes stretches of, the famed 2.5-mile/4.02k Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The road course was originally conceived for Formula One, with a few fixes added to accommodate motorcycles. Because of the mixture the new and the old, the track has several different surfaces, and therefore varying degrees of grip, though the differences become less noticeable with each passing year.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is epic in scale, the world’s largest spectator sporting facility with more than 250,000 permanent seats. Home to the famed Indianapolis 500, the more than 100-year-old facility sprawls over an area so vast that you could fit Wembley Stadium, San Siro, Camp Nou, the Roman Colosseum, and Vatican City inside.
The first ever motorized competition at the venue was a motorcycle race held in 1909 on a crushed stone surface sprayed with tar. Just a few days later the first car race was held, but the track surface produced so many accidents that a decision was made to cover the crushed rock and tar surface with 3.2 million paving bricks.
The track was covered by macadam in phases, but the “Yard of Bricks” at the finish line have remained intact since late in 1961 when all but that one meter of bricks was replaced. The race winner has a tradition of kissing the bricks, a tradition the Honda riders would like to enjoy this year.
From Indianapolis, the teams immediately return to the Continent for the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano the following weekend.
Toni Elias says: (Gresini Racing Moto2) says: “What a fantastic day at Brno! It was probably the most wonderful victory of my career and to have secured the 100th podium for Fausto Gresini’s team made it extraordinary. We have been working really well lately and I was really happy for me and the guys.”
“We are leading the championship but we must stay focused because there are still many points at stake and even though we go to Indianapolis looking to win we know who our rivals are. Going into the race in America we have to start thinking seriously about the championship and keep this objective in mind.”
Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up) says: “We had a good race in Brno and think we can continue with our progress in Indianapolis. We still have to find a way to increase the life of our tires, because over the second half of the race I haven’t been able to maintain my pace.”
“Some of the work the team did during the summer break did pay off in Brno and we think we’ll see more progress in Indianapolis. We have experience from racing in Indianapolis last year on a 125; Moto2 should be more fun. See you in Indianapolis, where we’ll do our best to be fast and competitive once again.”
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2) says: “Indianapolis is not really my favorite track and it is not an easy track as well. The ups and downs mean that there are many waves and bumps on the track and that is not so nice to ride on. Apart from that I see the race as positive. We have to make up a lot from the bad results in Sachsenring and Brno and I am confident that we can do that there.”
“At the moment it is not easy to motivate the team if you have technical problems all the time, but there are better results to come, I am sure.”