MotoGP returns to Indianapolis this weekend for the third year in a row, with Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo dominating the series.
The Spaniard has a 77-point lead over his fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa, and won at Indianapolis last year by nine seconds over his teammate Valentino Rossi.
Sitting in third is Casey Stoner, the Ducati Team rider hoping for stronger results due to his positive experience while testing front suspension settings at the Brno Test. He is followed by Pedrosa’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso, and nine-time world champion Rossi.
As riders remain busy preparing for Sunday’s race at Indy, here are some stats and facts on them to keep MotoGP fans busy until the action begins with Free Practice on Friday.
- Jorge Lorenzo has finished on the podium at both MotoGP races at the Indiana- polis circuit. In 2008 his third place finish was his first wet weather podium in any class of Grand Prix racing. Last year he won by over nine seconds after taking the lead on lap nine. Having already won at Laguna Seca this year, by winning at Indianapolis Lorenzo would replicate the performance of Rossi two years ago when he became the first rider to win two MotoGP races in the USA in the same year.
- Dani Pedrosa finished eighth in his first race on Bridgestone tires, at the Indiana- polis Grand Prix in 2008, having been on Michelin tires during the early part of the year. Last year Pedrosa qualified on pole and led the race until crashing on the 4th lap. After re-mounting at the back of the pack he battled back to eventually finish 10th.
- Casey Stoner was the fourth at Indiana- polis in 2008, after starting from second place on the grid. Last year the Indianapolis Grand Prix was one of the races that he missed suffering from illness.
- Andrea Dovizioso was fifth and the first non-factory rider across the line at Indianapolis in 2008, having led a MotoGP race for the first time at the end of the first lap. Last year he finished fourth, just half a second off the podium after qualifying down in eighth place on the grid.
- Valentino Rossi’s victory at Indianapois in 2008 gave him the record for most premier-class Grand Prix victories with 69, one more than Giacomo Agostini who had held the record for 32 years. Last year Rossi crashed at turn two on lap ten, having lost the lead to Lorenzo on the previous lap. At the Czech Grand Prix, Rossi finished behind two other Yamaha riders for the first time since joining the factory Yamaha team at the start of 2004, in a dry weather race at which he had not crashed and re-started.
- Nicky Hayden has finished on the podium at both previous MotoGP races at Indianapolis. In 2008 he was second and last year his third place finish was his first podium riding a Ducati.
- Ben Spies raced as a wild-card at Indianapolis in 2008, making the last of his three Grand Prix starts of the season on a factory Suzuki. He qualified as the top Suzuki rider in fifth place on the grid and finished the race in sixth, which is the best performance by a wild-card rider in the 800cc era of MotoGP and the best result for Suzuki at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
- Randy de Puniet has not been fully fit on his two previous appearances at Indianapolis; in 2008 he finished 13th suffering with a wrist injury picked up in a crash at the previous race at Misano and last year he was 12th while still recovering from a broken ankle.
- Marco Melandri has not had much success in the two previous MotoGP races at Indianapolis; in 2008 he was the last rider across the line in 19th place, struggling to get to grips with the factory Ducati, and last year he crashed on lap 26 while battling with James Toseland for sixth.
- Colin Edwards was the last point scoring finisher at Indianapolis two years ago and last year was fifth. At the Indianapolis Grand Prix Edwards will become only the 13th rider to reach the milestone of 130 starts in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing.
- Marco Simoncelli won the 250cc race last year at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
- In 2008 at Indianapolis, Loris Capirossi finished 16th after being pushed wide at the first corner and dropping to the back of the field. Last year he finished the first lap down in 14th but battled back through the pack to eventually finish seventh.
- Aleix Espargaro made his debut in the MotoGP class last year at Indianapolis and finished 13th.
- Mika Kallio had one of his best races of 2009 at the Indianapolis circuit, finishing in 8th after qualifying down in 15th place on the grid.
- Hiroshi Aoyama was second last year at Indianapolis on his way to winning the 250cc world title.
- Toni Elias has raced in the MotoGP race at Indianapolis for the last two years, finishing twelfth in 2008 and ninth last year.
- After starting the season slowly, with no points at the first two races, Andrea Iannone now lies second in the title chase having scored points at the last seven successive races and finished on the podium four times in the last six races. Iannone crashed out of the 125cc race last year at Indiana- polis on lap 21 while battling for 8th place.
- Julian Simon qualified on pole last year for the 125cc race at Indianapolis, but never got to the front in the race and finished fifth.
- Shoya Tomizawa did not start the 250cc race at Indianapolis last year after badly damaging his bike when he crashed in the Friday free practice session.
- Simone Corsi’s third place in the 125cc race at Indianapolis last year was his only dry weather podium finish of 2009.
- Stefan Bradl finished third two years ago in the 125cc race at the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
- Marc Marquez has finished sixth in both of the previous 125cc Grand Prix races held at the Indianapolis circuit.
- Pol Espargaro is the only rider to have finished on the podium in the 125cc class for both of the last two years at Indianapolis. In 2008 he was second after qualifying on pole position and last year he won the race from fourth place on the grid.
- Nico Terol took his first ever Grand Prix victory at the Indianapolis Grand Prix two years ago. Last year he led the race for the first 21 laps, but lost out in the final couple of laps to eventually finish fourth.
- Bradley Smith finished second last year at the Indianapolis Grand Prix and set a new 125cc lap record on the final lap of the race. Smith has finished in the top eight at the last sixteen successive races.
- Jasper Iwema’s eighth place finish at the Czech Grand Prix is the best result in the 125cc class for a Dutch rider since Loek Bodelier was third at the Dutch TT in 1994.
- Jonas Folger’s fourth place finish at the Czech Grand Prix is his best result since he was second at the French GP last year.
- Seventeen year old Czech rider Jakub Kornfeil finished fifth at Brno, which is his best result so far in his debut season as a full-time Grand Prix rider.