MotoGP: Rider Thoughts Before Indy

Red Bull Indy Grand Prix

For the second time this season, the world’s fastest motorcycle pilots descend on America, this meeting at Indy for Round 11 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.

Up to Indy, the championship has been a fight between two Spaniards: Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. But the Fiat Yamaha rider has the advantage with 235 points, and leads the Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa by 77.

Lorenzo, who has won seven of 11 races this season, won at Indy last year, and took a podium there during both his and the track’s debut year in 2008.

Pedrosa has two wins and six second-place finishes this year, including second at the latest round of MotoGP at Brno, which Lorenzo won. He rode his RC212V to a 10th-place finish at last year’s Indianapolis race, and 8th in 2008.

Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner is currently in third place in the points race, with 119 points. He has five consecutive podium finishes. He is followed by the other Repsol Honda rider, Andrea Dovizioso in third with 115 points, and then Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi with 101.

Here’s what the riders are saying before the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix this weekend:

Jorge Lorenzo says: “The first back-to-back races in the second half of the season are coming, and this first one after a few days of holiday in the US for me. 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.”

Valentino Rossi says: “Indianapolis is a special place, an amazing track and as always it’s fun to race in America. I have great memories from 2009 when I won in the hurricane, even if it’s not something I want to repeat! This year we arrive in a different situation to last year, fifth in the championship and not at 100% in physical condition, but I am feeling stronger all the time. Brno was disappointing but the test helped us to understand what went wrong and so we are hopeful that we can be back on good form in Indy.”

Casey Stoner says: “I’m really looking forward to going back to Indy because it’s a circuit where we were in good shape in 2008 despite the crazy weather. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to race last year but hopefully this time around we can make the most of the work we did in the Brno test, even though we didn’t have much time. We’ll start out on Friday with the new front fork because our first impressions of it were good although we still have to decide whether we’ll use it for the race. We’ll also try some settings on the rear that we managed to get a few laps on at Brno but that also need checking out.”

Nicky Hayden says:

”I really can not wait to get to Indy for the race. It’s such a famous track with so much history and being so close to my home I got a big crew making the trip to support me and my brother. The event has really grown a lot in just a few years with the Indy mile dirt track, enduro cross, the stunt shows and all the downtown events, which really gives the fans a chance to make the trip worthwhile.”

“My broken wrist is better than last week in Brno, which I am very happy about, so we’ll see on Friday just how much better. The weather looks good so I hope to come out strong from the gun on Friday and have a weekend worth remembering. Let’s get it!”

Dani Pedrosa says: “I’m going to Indianapolis in a very good mood and I’m feeling ready to finish the job we weren’t able to complete in the race there last time. I felt really comfortable riding in Indy last year. I was on top of the timesheets from the first practice, I took pole position and the only mistake I made was in the race. So I hope this time we can put together a strong weekend and take another good result. We were fast and consistent at the last race in Brno and we’ll be aiming to get straight back on that pace again this weekend.”

“It will be important, as always, to establish a good machine setting quickly on Friday, and I think we have a useful base from last year that will help us to find the right direction straight away. We were ready to win again in Brno and this will be our goal in Indianapolis too. Riding in America is different, the Indianapolis circuit is very impressive and I feel very good racing in the States because the support I get from the fans is always very positive. So I’m really looking forward to get out there”.

Andrea Dovizioso says: “I always look forward to racing in the U.S.A. and this time is no different. I like visiting America, and the Indianapolis race track is a typical American venue with great facilities and huge grandstands. The MotoGP track is not particularly interesting but the atmosphere is always special. The circuit has many different surface types and last year this was a bit difficult for us, but I think that with this year’s machine package – and especially with the current weight distribution – the variety of asphalt and different levels of grip won’t be an issue.”

“If I look back to the Brno GP I have to say that – except for the final result – it was a good weekend. We were competitive, our race pace was good but the result did not come.

So we go to Indy determined to transform this good performance into a result. We need strong results for the team and for the championship position. Last year I was fourth at Indy in the race but we weren’t as fast as the front runners – Dani especially was very fast. But this means that we have the potential to do well and this is an extra motivation for the weekend.”

Loris Capirossi says: “The Brno test was a lot better than the race, but the bike did feel the best it has done all year during the short time I was on-track in the race and we made some improvements on the Monday so these should be good for us when we get to Indy. I finished seventh last year and that was a big improvement on 2008 so I am determined to make another step forward this year. It is very important that we keep focussed and keep trying as hard as we can to get the results to show what we are capable of.”

Álvaro Bautista says: “I’m still a bit stiff from my crash at Brno, but I have rested and let the injury heal properly so I will be ready for Indianapolis. I really need to finish a whole weekend and get a full practice, qualifying and race in my account. It seems a long time since I crossed the finish line and I am positive about visiting America and making that happen.”

“We made some steps at the Brno test, but we still need to work on those at Indianapolis – and the races that follow – to find out what the true potential of the bike is. That is something we are determined to do and to keep on learning as much as possible about all things to do with the GSV-R and how it behaves on different tracks and in varying conditions and also about myself and how I can ride it to get the best from it.”

Hiroshi Aoyama says: “I am so happy that I am finally coming back. Today I had another X-Ray and the doctor confirmed me that my broken vertebra looks good and did not change its shape, which is essential in this state of the injury. I got the okay to ride in Indianapolis and I can’t wait to get back on my bike. Of course I want to be fast, but first I have to gain my confidence and feeling with the bike back, then I can concentrate on being fast.”

“It will not be easy after such a long time away to ride with the group again, but step by step I will get there I get my strength back from the start of the season. I missed six races, that is a lot and I have to see how I can cope with the situation after such a long time and how I can cope with the pain level. I am so happy to finally come back.”

Marco Melandri says: “After disappointing performances on Friday and Saturday at Brno the race in the Czech Republic restored some faith. In the second part i managed to find the right feeling with the bike, which gave me more enthusiasm and conviction to tackle the Monday tests, during which we made small but significant progress. We found some things with the suspension that bode well for the rest of the season. If we work with the same determination from Friday in Indianapolis we can score a good result in the race. The circuit is quite difficult to ride but if i can find a good feeling with my Honda RC212V I can be close to the lead group.”

Marco Simoncelli says: “I came away from Brno feeling somewhat disappointed by the final result but quite happy with the first part of the race. Unfortunately the drop in engine power in the second part did not allow me to be as fast and aggressive and it left a sour taste in my mouth. In any case we did not lose heart and we went into the test on Monday with great determination and managed to make some important steps forward. We gained more confidence with the electronics and were able to better interpret the engine management system.”

“It was a shame that the rain brought it to a premature end because it was a very important test for me and my team and we still have some work to do on the chassis, which we didn’t get time for. I still go to Indianapolis in the right spirit, I like the track and I won the first and only 250 race to take place here. I expect to have a good race and aim to finish inside the top six.”

Aleix Espargarò says: “After three consecutive drops it was very important for me to finish Brno’s race. During the weekend I had some problems on my bike that did not allow me to be fast in all the sectors of the track. Fortunately, thanks also to my Team we have solved all the problems during the warm up on Sunday morning. During the race I had a good pace but a little pain in my right forearm did not allow me to ride my bike in the best way in the last laps. I’m happy to have brought home four World Championship points that will be good for the rest of the season.”

“I have good memories of Indianapolis’s track, because I have made my MotoGP debut on this circuit last year riding a Pramac Racing Team bike. I have finished the race in thirteenth position. Since then my feeling with the bike is much improved, Sunday I’ll try to end the race in the top ten. ”

Mika Kallio says: “After the ninth position obtained on Laguna Seca’s circuit, I was fighting to confirm a top ten also on Brno’s track, but unfortunately I could not finish my race after that I felt in the opening laps. Too bad because I had a good lap pace that would allow me to finish the race in the top ten. I was able to run on Indianapolis track just last year when I made a good comeback that brought me from the fifteenth to eighth position when I was riding the official Ducati.”

“In 2008, the first year that we ran on this track, the 250cc race was stopped because of high winds generated by Hurricane Ike. I was starting the race in the third position of the grid and if the race had been carried out normally, I would have finished it in a good position.”

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