2011 US MotoGP
The first of two stateside rounds in the 2011 MotoGP Championship gets underway this weekend at Laguna Seca, and the American fans will be treated with four home-riders on the 2.238-mile circuit.
The three usual US MotoGP pilots – Ben Spies, Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards – will be joined by wildcard entry Ben Bostrom, who currently competes in AMA Superbike.
As for point standings after nine of 18 rounds, Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Hayden (Ducati Team) are tied with 85 points, holding sixth- and seventh-place. Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) is ninth with 59 points.
Spies finished sixth last year during his rookie MotoGP season, but has four wins at Laguna Seca in AMA Pro Road Racing – three in AMA Superbike, one in the former AMA Xtreme class.
Spies will be competing on the special red and white Yamaha YZR-M1, which celebrates Yamaha’s 50th year in MotoGP racing; when Spies first rode the 50th Anniversary Yamaha in Assen, he took his debut MotoGP win.
Hayden has tasted MotoGP victory twice at Laguna Seca, including 2006 en route to his only MotoGP Championship Title. Hayden also won at Laguna in AMA Pro Racing, once in Superbike and once in the former Superstock class. Hayden’s best finish in 2011 MotoGP was third at a rain-soaked Jerez.
Edwards has never won at Laguna Seca. His best result was second in 2005, and he placed seventh there in 2009 and 2010.
Although Bostrom never competed in MotoGP, he has the most wins at Laguna Seca – five. These victories all came throughout Ben Bostrom’s extensive AMA Pro Road Racing career: AMA Superbike (2010, 2004), Daytona SportBike (2009), Supersport (2008) and Formula Xtreme (2004).
Following is what the Americans are saying leading up to Sunday’s Laguna Seca MotoGP; the next American round will be at Indy Aug. 26-28.
2011 Laguna Seca MotoGP: American Preview Quotes
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: "It’s always exciting to race in front of the home crowd and It’s going to be a big event for Yamaha with the 50th anniversary colours being run again.
"They were lucky for me at Assen and hopefully they can bring me more luck in front of my friends and family. I’ve had some pretty good results in my AMA days at Laguna and I love riding the circuit. It’s going to be a serious race weekend but it’s also going to be a lot of fun so I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of old faces at the track."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: "Obviously, I’m looking forward to Laguna, because it’s a track I love that’s very challenging and fun, with a great atmosphere and my home crowd. Turn 1 and the Corkscrew are very technical, and pretty much the whole track links together.
"On a MotoGP bike, there really aren’t any straightaways, because you’re always shifting, turning or braking. It’s important to have a bike that you feel confident on and can be aggressive with. I’m going to my home GP not in our best moment, but we’ll give our best effort like always.
"It’s nice that my brothers are both in the AMA race, and my sisters are both doing a lap on the two-seater Ducati. I think we’ll make the final decision on Thursday as to which bike I’ll ride, but we’ll probably try the GP11.1 at some stage, and I’ll see what I can do to try and come up with a good result."
Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: "I can’t wait to get to Laguna because I love the place so much. I have a lot of family and friends that are coming which always makes it extra special, but the American fans are brilliant to me, so hopefully I can send them home smiling on Sunday night with a good result.
"It has been a bit manic since Germany because I flew straight to LA to shoot another movie for Yamaha. They are always good fun and I really enjoy myself, so a big thanks to Yamaha US for all they d o in arranging that for us. I am really looking forward to the weekend and although 10th in Germany wasn’t the result we wanted, it was actually a positive race.
"We certainly learned a few things about the bike because we made a lot of changes, so I’ve got good reason to be optimistic of fighting for the top six this weekend. That’s my goal anyway and if we have a smooth weekend, I’m sure that’s achievable. I want to get a strong result not just because it’s my home race, but it will make the summer break more relaxing and enjoyable and set me up for a strong push in the final part of the season."
Ben Bostrom (LCR Honda MotoGP Wildcard) says: "Words can’t express how excited I am to get this amazing opportunity to race on my home track in front of the whole world.
"I have to thank Michael Jordan Motorsports and American Suzuki for allowing this to happen. The collaboration between Lucio, LCR and the MJM team has been terrific. I’m going to get on the GP bike and put it as close to the front as possible. Then I’m going to hop on my Jordan Suzuki bike and try to create even more magic."
After a hectic run of six races in eight weeks, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team will enjoy a richly deserved short summer break after Sunday’s race before the 2011 campaign resumes in Brno, Czech Republic on August 14.