2012 MotoGP Championship
In a few hours, the 10th race of 18 in the 2012 MotoGP Championship will get underway at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, marking the second half of the season.
The first of two back-to-back rounds in America, Laguna Seca is the shortest circuit on the 2012 MotoGP schedule, the 11-turn circuit in Monterey, Calif., a mere 2.243 miles.
And like in the past three years at Laguna Seca, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo will start from pole position, the 2010 MotoGP Champion heading up the front row ahead of the Repsol Honda duo of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, respectively.
To keep the anticipation building ahead of today’s race, here are some stats of Laguna Seca MotoGP:
- Jorge Lorenzo starts from pole for the third time this year and for the first time since the Spanish
- GP at Jerez. This is the fourth successive year that Lorenzo has started from pole at the US Grand Prix.
- Lorenzo’s pole position lap is the fastest-ever lap of the Laguna Seca circuit by a motorcycle, 0.146 seconds faster than the previous record set by Casey Stoner during qualifying in 2008.
- Casey Stoner starts from the front row for the eighth time this year. Stoner won the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca last year from second place on the grid.
- Taking the final place on the front row, Dani Pedrosa has finished on the podium at the last five races and if he finishes in the top-three this weekend will equal his longest sequence of successive podiums in the MotoGP class.
- Ben Spies, who heads the second row of the grid, will be aiming to finish on the podium for the first time since the final race of 2011 at Valencia.
- Cal Crutchlow is making just his second appearance at the Laguna Seca circuit and is the highest-placed qualifier from the satellite teams, in fifth place on the grid.
- Andrea Dovizioso is in the final place on the second row, which is his best qualifying result since the Catalunya Grand Prix. Dovizioso is aiming to finish on the podium at four successive races for the first time in the MotoGP class.
- Heading the third row of the grid is Alvaro Bautista, who has crashed out of the race on his previous two visits to the Laguna Seca circuit.
- Nicky Hayden starts the race from the middle of the third row and is the highest-placed factory Ducati rider on the grid for the sixth successive race.
- Stefan Bradl has qualified in ninth place on the grid on his first racing appearance at the Laguna Seca circuit.
- In tenth place on the grid is Valentino Rossi; the sixth time this year he has not made it onto one of the front three rows.
- 11th fastest qualifier is Randy de Puniet, who has missed racing at Laguna Seca for the last two years due to injury. This is the fifth time this year he has been top CRT rider in qualifying.
- Steve Rapp could make his GP debut at the age of 40, if he makes the 107% mark in warm-up he would become the oldest American rider ever to take part in a premier-class Grand Prix race.
Photos by Ara Ashjian