Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview | Rossi Holds Slim Lead

Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview | Rossi Holds Slim Lead
Yamaha's Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo

Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview

Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview | Rossi Holds Slim Lead
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo

Following a month-long summer break, the second-half of the 2015 MotoGP Championship begins this weekend with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Indy will hosts Grand Prix racing for the eighth time this year, and if history proves anything, the battling will be intense. The fight for supremacy at Indy MotoGP 2015 maybe a bit more aggressive due to the tight points battle at top.

Indy MotoGP 2015 – The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP battle at Top

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi leads the way with 179 points as MotoGP heads to the infamous Brickyard in Indian’s capital. The 36-year-old Italian – the oldest rider in 2015 MotoGP – has finished on the podium at every round this season, which includes three wins at Qatar, Argentina and the Netherlands.

As he chases his 10th World Title, Rossi tops teammate Jorge Lorenzo by 13 points heading into Indy MotoGP 2015. Rossi has kept the points lead since winning the season opener at Qatar. This may amount to something, considering he has never lost a title when leading the point standings after nine rounds.

Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview | Rossi Holds Slim Lead Lorenzo
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo

But the 16-turn, 2.591-mile Indianapolis circuit has not treated Rossi all that well. He did win the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP in 2008, but he has only finished on the podium once since that victory. The podium came at last year’s Indy GP when Rossi took third behind Lorenzo and winner and eventual champion Marc Marquez.

“I’m ready to start racing again during the second part of the season. I had a few days of rest, I went on holiday with my friends and I also trained. After nine races, this stop was very important so I could recharge myself. Now there are another nine races waiting for us and each of these will be very important for the championship,” Rossi says.

“The first part went very well with nine podiums in nine races and I hope that the second part of this season will go just as well. Some of the tracks we’re going to I really like, I have to be defensive at others. We start with Indianapolis, not one of my favorite circuits but there’s always a great atmosphere here and the circuit is very nice. I’m ready to go!”

Lorenzo had much more luck at Indy; he won there in 2009, and finished on the podium four additional times. The two-time MotoGP Champion of Spain had a rough start to 2015 MotoGP, but redeemed himself with four-straight wins (Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello, Catalunya).

“The summer break was a good chance to rest and recharge our batteries for the second half of the season. I was able to enjoy some sunny days at the beach but I also trained a lot in California and Brazil, where I spent many days before Indy. I feel great, I’m in a very good shape and ready to face the important second part of the season,” Lorenzo says.

“The first half was not so bad considering the beginning, so we are feeling very positive and hopefully we can fight in the best way possible with Valentino and Marc. Usually Indy is not one of my favorite tracks but I’ve won there in the past. Last year the tarmac improved a lot but its layout is different to that of other circuits. I think we can contend for the podium again so we need to be very focused during the whole weekend to try to gain valuable points.”

Indy MotoGP 2015 – Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone Hangs on

Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview | Rossi Holds Slim Lead Iannone
Ducati’s Andrea Iannone

Ducati Team’s newest player, Andrea Iannone, has posted consistent top-five results all season, including two podiums – third at Qatar and second at Mugello. Due to this, the Italian remains in third with 118 points – 48 behind Lorenzo and 61 behind Rossi.

Iannone joined MotoGP with Pramac Ducati in 2013, and raced two premier-class events at IMS. He finished 11th in 2013, and suffered a DNF last season.

“The Indianapolis track is an interesting one, and last year I went quite well. Unfortunately in the race we had a few too many problems, but our overall performance wasn’t bad. This year I think I can do a good race with the GP15: I am always positive and this year I have more reasons to be so, in particular because I am third in the championship. I hope I can be quick right away and get closer to our opponents than in the previous races,” Iannone says.

His teammate Andrea Dovizioso is currently fifth in points with 87. The Italian had a strong start to the season, taking second in the opening-three rounds, and following that up with one additional podium in France. But Dovi’s luck changed with a crash aboard the Ducati GP15 at Mugello. He followed that up with a DNF at Catalunya, 12th at the Dutch TT, and yet another DNF at Sachsenring. But through it all he has held onto third with 118 points – 48 behind Lorenzo.

Last season Dovi qualified second at Indy, though he finished seventh. His top finish there was in 2012 when he took third (Monster Energy Yamaha YZR-M1).

Both Andreas will look to deliver Ducati its first podium since Nicky Hayden accomplished the feat in 2009. As for the sole American in all of Grand Prix racing, the Aspar Honda pilot is currently 21st in the standings with eight points.

Indy MotoGP 2015 – Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez Redemption

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez had an opening first half of ups and downs. The highlights were wins at Circuit of the Americas the Sachsenring, but the downs were three DNFs due to crashes in Argentina, Italy and Catalunya.

Marquez’s issues resided in the new RC213V’s chassis. But ahead of the Dutch TT, the 22-year-old Spaniard switched back to a 2014 chassis, and went on to finish second in The Netherlands and dominate Sachsenring MotoGP.

Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview | Rossi Holds Slim Lead Marquez
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi leads Honda’s Marc Marquez

And Marquez is the king in America. Since joining the MotoGP class in 2013, he has never lost an American race; he won all meets since 2013 at Austin and Indy, and also won the final Laguna Seca held in 2013.

Marquez is hoping for even better results due to some recent private testing at Misano alongside Suzuki and Ducati. Ahead of Indy MotoGP 2015, Marquez is fourth in the Championship, 61 points behind Rossi as the youngster chases a third-straight MotoGP title.

“It’s been great to have some time off to recuperate and recharge the batteries ready for the second half of the season. After the Misano test I went to Ibiza with some friends for a week which was fantastic, and much needed,” Marc Marquez says.

“Then we resumed our training schedule in order to prepare for the coming races. Now we are on our way to America for the Indianapolis GP. I love racing on American soil and appreciate the enthusiasm of all the fans. I like the Indy track it can be tricky with the changes in asphalt but as always we will work hard from Friday, and get back into our rhythm as quickly as possible!”

Marquez’s teammate continues to get up to speed following arm-pump surgey that forced him out of three races. He finished second at Sachsenring, which moved him to second on the all-time list of podium finishers. Ahead of Indy MotoGP 2015, Pedrosa is just ahead of Mick Doohan, who has 95, and far behind Rossi, who has 169.

Pedrosa has won twice at Indy , and finished fourth last season. He is currently seventh in the standings with 67, but has plenty of time to make up some points.

Indy MotoGP 2015 – Team Suzuki Ecstar Progression

Continuing top-10 finishes will be the goal for the Team Suzuki Ecstar duo of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales – especially after the GSX-RR private testing at Misano. Suzuki’s best results at Indy are two sixths – one with Alvaro Bautista during Suzuki’s last season in 2011 before re-entering in 2015, and the other with Ben Spies as a Rizla Suzuki wildcard rider in 2008.

Last season, Espargaro suffered a DNF while competing on the Forward Yamaha. As for the MotoGP rookie Vinales, he has some positive finishes at Indy across other classes – earning a three podiums in the past four season (1 x 125cc, 1 x Moto3, 1x Moto2).

Indy MotoGP 2015 – Battle of the Satellites

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith is currently sixth in points with 87 – tied with Dovizioso. Ahead of Indy MotoGP 2015, Smith leads the Satellite MotoGP battle ahead of his compatriot Cal Crutchlow (66 points) on the CWM LCR Honda and his teammate Pol Espargaro (64 points). At Indianapolis last year it was Espargaro who came out on top, crossing the line in fifth just ahead of Smith in sixth, while Crutchlow had to settle for eighth on the Factory Ducati.

One rider looking for an improvement in his results during the second half of the season, after crashing out on the first lap of the race at the Sachsenring, is Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding. The British rider on the Factory spec RC213V has showed signs that he is starting to get to grips with the Honda, and he will be keen to demonstrate this Indy MotoGP 2015, with pressure mounting on his seat for next season. Redding has managed two third places at Indianapolis in Moto2 (2010 & 2013) and he crossed the line in ninth last year after an epic battle with Crutchlow (courtesy of MotoGP).

Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview | Rossi Holds Slim Lead Nicky Hayden
Honda’s Nicky Hayden

Indy MotoGP 2015 – Open Class Fight for Points

In the Open class, it is still Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera who leads the way with 19 points after the first nine races. His nearest rival Loris Baz (14 points) will not be racing at Indy MotoGP 2015 after Forward Racing had to pull out due to financial problems. This could give Jack Miller (12 points) on the CWM LCR Honda, and the Aspar MotoGP Team duo of Nicky Hayden (8 points) and Eugene Laverty (7points) a chance to close the gap to Barbera, with Hayden having finished on the podium at Indianapolis twice before (2008 & 2009).

Baz’s teammate Stefan Bradl however will get to take part as he has now been announced as the permanent replacement for Michael Laverty in the Factory Aprilia Racing Team Gresini alongside Alvaro Bautista. Former MotoGP race winner and Moto2 World Champion Toni Elias will act as a temporary replacement for the injured Karel Abraham (Dislocated left toe at Catalan GP) in the AB Motoracing team. Elias, fresh from competing for Moriwaki in the Suzuka 8 Hours race, is taking over from HRC test rider Hiroshi Aoyama who filled in for the Czech rider at the Sachsenring (courtesy of MotoGP).

The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix officially begins at noon ct Thursday with the traditional pre-race press conference. The first of four free practices begins at 9 a.m. CT Friday.

Indy MotoGP 2015 TV Schedule

Fox Sports 1 will broadcast Indy MotoGP 2015 live with coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, August 9. Moto3 and Moto2 will precede the coverage.

2015 MotoGP Point Standings (after nine of 18 rounds):

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 179
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 166
3 Andrea IANNONE Ducati ITA 118
4 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 114
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 87
6 Bradley SMITH Yamaha GBR 87
7 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 67
8 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 66
9 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha SPA 64
10 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki SPA 57
11 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 51
12 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki SPA 44
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati COL 32
14 Scott REDDING Honda GBR 30
15 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 19
16 Loris BAZ Yamaha Forward FRA 14
17 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia SPA 13
18 Jack MILLER Honda AUS 12
19 Stefan BRADL Yamaha Forward GER 9
20 Michele PIRRO Ducati ITA 8
21 Nicky HAYDEN Honda USA 8
22 Eugene LAVERTY Honda IRL 7
23 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 5
24 Mike DI MEGLIO Ducati FRA 2

Indy MotoGP 2015 Preview Photo Gallery