Here’s the official transcript of the post-race conference at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
MODERATOR: OK, ladies and gentlemen, riders are on their way. In third place, Jorge Lorenzo here at Indianapolis. (Applause) Jorge has a 68-point lead in the championship over Dani Pedrosa, of course, who won the race.
In second place, Ben Spies. (Applause)
And the race winner, his third Grand Prix victory of the season, Dani Pedrosa.
Dani, you look absolutely shattered, I’ve got to say. I think that was, all three of you look absolutely shattered but that was a pretty tough afternoon’s work.
DANI PEDROSA: Yes, it was, it was very, very warm out there. You know, you didn’t cool down in the 45 minutes you’re out there. So it’s hard. But we did a good race. I think the rhythm was very good. The track was slippery, because when the asphalt always get over 50 degrees, the bike always starts to be very greasy, you know. But the same thing for everybody, so I did not a perfect start, but I was good on the first small corners to be still in fourth place. And then I just try to overtake. Spies was quite, was maybe half of one second ahead, and he was pulling very, very strong. But I could pick up, pick up and get over – ahead of him. And finally I try to do my rhythm and I was able to escape and do a good pace. So I am very happy, pleased with my bike. It was a fast bike in the straight and it was going well, also, in the corners. So good feelings.
And then, yeah, by the end it was hard to stay focused because it was very tiring and my – I had tube for the water but I don’t know why it was not working. And yeah, I’m tired but very happy because last year I crashed here and I could win the race, but this time I did. So very happy.
MODERATOR: With the track and with the temperature, when you were leading and the gap was OK, you had to concentrate very hard because one little mistake here, we’ve seen so many crashes.
PEDROSA: Yes, so many crashes because of the bumps and the track temperature. Yeah, if you just miss one line in one corner, you can be immediately on the ground. So it was very important to be focused in every corner and make no mistake with the bumps, especially at the end when the tires were more damaged, when you go over the bumps, the bike is shaking a little bit more and it was more difficult to control. But even that, I was able to stay in the front, not crash this time and finish the race on top.
MODERATOR: Misano obviously in a week’s time, and you’ve had your third MotoGP win of the season. It’s always been two MotoGP wins. That’s a big step forward for you, isn’t it?
PEDROSA: Yes, I cross the barrier of two wins, so I’m very happy, and I hope we can keep this rhythm. We are doing good lately in the races, so mistakes, but I hope till the end I can still keep this rhythm and do some more good results.
MODERATOR: Misano, is it a track you like?
PEDROSA: Misano is a track I like. I’ve been always quite fast, but we have to work harder on the setup because the Honda there is always a little bit hard to ride. Our engine is a little bit — it’s fast, but in the corners it’s always very aggressive. So to control on this is difficult, but we will have to work very hard since Friday, and we’ll try our best. And I hope we can do there a great result, also.
MODERATOR: Finally, it will be important to rest. It’s a long trip home. You’re back on the bike Friday afternoon in Misano after a really tough race. It’s very important, isn’t it, to rest the body if you can?
PEDROSA: Yes, you must rest as much as you can. Also Misano can be a hot race. So, yeah, as much as we can rest and to recover for the next one is better.
MODERATOR: Dani, congratulations, your third win of the season.
In second place, of course, riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, Ben Spies. Very, very close, Ben, but a great second place for you.
BEN SPIES: Yeah. I mean, we can’t complain, you know. We came in and did better than I thought we were going to do. We got the pole yesterday and got out and had a good start today and led some laps. Didn’t set the world on fire, but we, you know, we had a good pace. If just wasn’t fast enough when Dani came by. His bike was working good, and he had good grip. We had a good setup, too; it just wasn’t fast enough. And I tried as hard as I could and didn’t make too many mistakes. Saw that we had a gap to third and, you know, just tried to manage it and ride as hard as I could. It was really tricky, and I saw a lot of crash marks out there and I knew some people were hitting the ground, and it was quite easy to make a mistake. But in the end we had to ride 100 percent the whole time with only a three-second gap. So I’m happy for all the friends and family and fans that are here to get a second in the American Grand Prix for the first season, you know, it’s a hard weekend, you know. It hasn’t soaked in yet, but I’ll try to go and enjoy it a little bit and hop on a plane and do it again next weekend.
MODERATOR: I believe you said Thursday afternoon when we spoke, you finished second in the Grand Prix, your Grand Prix future is confirmed replacing Valentino Rossi, pole position, I think you’d have said, yeah, I’ll settle for that.
SPIES: Yeah. I mean, it’s a lot of confidence, too, to know that next year what’s happening, to have Yamaha behind me. It’s knowing that they believe in me that they want me on the factory bike, you have a lot more confidence in it. It just takes pressure off you, you believe in yourself. You push and push and having the American fans here, they wanted something big. We tried as hard as we could, which we didn’t win today but to get on the podium, I’m happy with that. I think everybody that’s with me is.
MODERATOR: You’ve moved up into sixth place in the championship, one point in front of Nicky Hayden, so that in itself is turning into a bit of a battle, isn’t it?
SPIES: Yeah. It depends how you look at it. For me, you know, Nick is just another rider. He’s a great rider; he’s a world champ. To be doing what we’re doing, not looking at the top American, anything like that, or top satellite bike, just to be the first year and jumping over some of the hurdles we’ve had, I didn’t think it would be going this well. So two podiums, you know. If you had told me we would have had one at the end of the first season, I would have been happy with that and took my money. But we’ll just keep clicking away, keep trying to learn. I think me and the team and everybody is doing a good job, and I’m happy with it.
MODERATOR: Ben, congratulations, second place.
We come on to the championship leader, ladies and gentlemen, of course Jorge Lorenzo riding the Fiat Yamaha. Out of the first two, the first time, Jorge, but you picked up some very, very important points, didn’t you, and you’re still on the podium. Still a 68-point gap. You can’t be too disappointed.
JORGE LORENZO: Yeah, I must not be disappointed, no, but I’m not happy with my race. I didn’t ride so well. The start didn’t help me to make better. That’s why I didn’t feel so good with my physical condition, no? The third lap I was tired and I was not able to make the same pace as in practice. Anyway, this our worst result, and I think for Misano we will come back again, and we will see.
MODERATOR: As Dani said and Ben said, it really was very, very difficult out there. The track, you had to concentrate so hard, no mistakes, and the heat as well.
LORENZO: Yeah, the track was so slidey and also the bumps were difficult to use it. So I almost crash in some corners, so I prefer to finish third and not to take so many risks.
MODERATOR: Finally, Misano, is it a track you like?
LORENZO: Yeah, I love it. I love it. I finished second in the last two years and I think it’s a good track for us.
MODERATOR: Jorge, thank you very much. Congratulations.
OK, any questions from the floor, ladies and gentlemen? Put those hands up.
Q: Ben, when did you hear about the passing of Peter Lenz? Did you know him and did that have any impact on this race? Was there a cloud over this race for you or for any of the other riders?
SPIES: Yeah, I mean I found out about it about an hour and a half before the race. You know, you try to put the stuff out of your head as much as you can, but he unfortunately had been injured a couple years ago and had sent some stuff to him when he was in the hospital. You know, Colin was, I guess, quite close with him. And, you know, I could see it crushed Colin pretty bad before the race. It’s the race in life, unfortunately. There’s nothing really that can be said right now that’s positive. I mean, I told myself before the race, I was riding my heart out for him today. And I’ve lost a teammate in the past, my best friend. He was at an age at least he knew what he was doing; he obviously loved it. He knew how dangerous it could be, and it’s an unfortunate accident. There’s nothing that can be done right now. But it definitely did put a damper before the race but when the green flag goes. You’ve got to look straight ahead and hopefully it will give me some motivation out there.
Q: Ben, you had a chance to lead for a bit and run at the front the whole race and follow Dani for a bit. Did you feel like you picked up a lot of information and learned a lot that will help you in the future?
SPIES: You know, yeah. First time leading a GP race, really. I think I led for about 10 feet at Brno. But here I actually led for a few laps. Again, the pace wasn’t fast enough to lead for half the race or anything like that, but I don’t really think I made too big of mistakes when I was out front. We were consistent, just wasn’t fast enough, but was comfortable, so that was key. When Dani came by, you know, a combination of his bike was quite quick on the straightaway but he was riding really well and not making any mistakes and getting the bike off the corner really well; it was difficult with the grip. So a couple of those key factors, you know. We couldn’t follow him too close but I just tried to let him pull me away as much as I could to get away from third and then manage as much as I could. So I think once he got out to his gap, he could manage it, too. And I congratulate him, he rode a great race. I’m happy with how we rode. It wasn’t fast enough, but I think we were quite fast with not too many mistakes and that was important with the way the track was today.
Q: Dani, could you discuss your choice of extra hard rear tire?
PEDROSA: I wasn’t able to choose, the only hard compound, that’s it. I had to choose the extra hard because on the softer one, it was for me my bike generates too much tire — too much temperature in the tire. So finally after some laps I lose the stability going into the corners, so I had to choose the harder one. I had no choice.
Q: Dani, does today make up for last year here?
PEDROSA: No, last year, it’s lost. But, yeah, it’s a little less pain, you know. Because when, you know, you have the chance to win and you didn’t do it, it feels bad inside. But today I was able to do it, so I’m very happy.
Q: This goes to all of you. Considering the tragedy today, is this course perhaps maybe too difficult for someone 12 or 13 years old to navigate considering how difficult it was for you all over the course of the weekend?
SPIES: No, not at all. You know, I wouldn’t say that at all. It’s a normal racetrack, and, you know, racing incidents happen and as unfortunate as it is, it is a horrible thing. Like I said, I didn’t know him really well, but I had spoke to him once on the phone and sent some things to him. But, no, from what I understand, it was a pure racing accident, and it’s happened before to people. The fact is, it’s going to happen again at some point to somebody and we hate it, but we know what’s going on when we put a helmet on; we know what can happen. That’s it.
MODERATOR: I think Dani and Jorge are probably not aware of the tragedy that has happened, so I think are you happy with Ben’s reply there? Yeah, OK. They weren’t aware of what had happened before the MotoGP race. Thanks.
Anybody else, ladies and gentlemen?
Q: A question to Jorge. You said you struggled physically. What was it, muscles or just a problem with the heat here?
LORENZO: Well, of course the heat doesn’t help anybody to ride a bike, but especially I lost a little bit my training during these two last weeks. So I have to push again to make stretch and to recover.
Q: Just a quick question to someone like Dani. Dani, very hot day here at Indiana today. Comparing to a Malaysian race or when we used to race in the daytime in Qatar, was it hotter today than Malaysia or —
PEDROSA: Close. I mean, I have raced sometimes in Malaysia that it wasn’t that bad and sometimes it was really, really bad. And this was close to one of the hottest days in Malaysia or Qatar in the daylight.
Q: Jorge, a quick comment about comparing the heat today with Malaysian heat or Qatar heat.
LORENZO: I guess in Malaysia it’s worse but today I’m more tired than in Malaysia.
Q: Jorge, your start today, just trying to be careful? On your start?
LORENZO: No, I really didn’t make a good start, and I lost two or three positions. And then after my bike wasn’t so quick on the straight, so fast, and it was like I was riding a 250 bike. I lost a lot of meters on the straight. I got a chance to overtake Dovizioso because he make a mistake in the last corner and he make a wheelie. So I exit perfect in the last corner and I overtook him in the first corner. But apart from this, from this mistake, I didn’t think I could make it, no, to pass Andrea.
Q: Ben, got a question for you. This weekend you’re filled with some good news. Pick one out of the three, which are you most stoked about, is it the factory ride? Is it the pole position or second place?
SPIES: Man, that’s a tough one, I think. They all mean a lot. I think it starts with Friday to be able to be a rider that Yamaha picks to be on the factory team is huge. You know, to be in MotoGP, first of all, is a huge thing and then to know there’s only a couple people that can ride for a factory team and that you’re one of them, that’s big. And I think that kind of stemmed a lot how the weekend went, the confidence that was taken from that and just transformed into Saturday’s result and today’s result. You know, like I said, for it all to happen at the home Grand Prix, there’s nothing that can top it unless we won today. But, like, we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, and I think we’re taking positive steps every weekend.
Q: Question to Ben. After testing in Brno on Monday, did you receive some special parts from Yamaha? And for the second part of the season. And you still ride with a 2009 chassis?
SPIES: Our bike is the same bike that we started at Laguna with. We received a small upgrade at Laguna, and that’s the bike I’m on now. So I think it’s a little bit of me letting go of the brake. And it makes, you know, it makes me know that the gap between my bike and the factory bike, OK, yeah, there’s some differences. Maybe some better things, some worse things, you never know. I mean, the old stuff some way can be better than the better stuff sometimes but they’re not that big of a difference. So what he’s been doing and Valentino has been doing, Yamaha gives the satellite team, you know, good bikes, and I think it’s showing that the bike’s the same.
Q: Ben, will you talk about your tire choice, you went with the softer choice, right?
SPIES: Yeah, we kind of went for glory, you know. I couldn’t be quick enough on the hard tire. Couldn’t quite do with some of the things I wanted to do with the bike to make the lap time. The soft tire we knew was going to go down at the end but we were hoping to be in a position where we could manage that at the end. Fortunately we got a good start. I was able to go early on and go good and then just manage it at the end of the race and it proved to be a good choice. I was on the fence about it, I believed in a couple other people and we went with it. So it worked out today.
MODERATOR: Anybody else, ladies and gentlemen? OK. Thank you all very much, indeed for your time. See you all in Misano. Thank you.