The following is from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca… The combination of the prestigious MotoGP World Championship, the challenging Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the scenic Monterey Peninsula has created one of North America’s greatest sporting events – the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, July 18-20. MotoGP is the world’s premier motorcycle racing world championship; an 18 race series visiting 15 countries and four continents. Eight nationalities of the world’s most skilled riders make up the starting grid comprised of prototype machinery officially fielded by five manufacturers: Ducati, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki. After 11 of 18 rounds, Italian Valentino Rossi, arguably one of the greatest riders ever, leads the championship by 16 points over Spaniard Dani Pedrosa who leads current world champion and defending Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix race winner Casey Stoner, of Australia, by just four points. Americans have always been well-represented in Grand Prix motorcycle racing and this week’s race features four American riders. Permanent MotoGP riders Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards are joined by Wild Card rider Ben Spies and substitute rider Jamie Hacking, who is replacing injured American rider John Hopkins. The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix takes the green flag at 2 p.m. (PDT) this Sunday, July 20, and is televised live on CBS. The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix also features support races from the AMA Superbike, Supersport and Red Bull U.S. Rookies Cup Tickets are available by calling 800-327-SECA and at the gate. Ticket and race information is available online at www.laguna-seca.com. NOTES: The Meet in Monterey Festivities surrounding the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix kicked off on Saturday, July 12, with a Moto Concorso and auction in Downtown Monterey, followed by the start of the inaugural Motogiro America on Sunday, July 13. Motogiro America is based on a classic motorcycle timed-tour, covers more than 100 miles each day during its five-day route and explores the Monterey Peninsula’s twisting country roads, challenging mountain passes and spectacular Pacific panoramas. Hard Rock Café Hosts MotoGP and AMA Riders MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Chris Vermeulen, along with AMA riders Ben and Eric Bostrom and Red Bull U.S. Rookies Cup riders Joey Pascarella, Cameron Gish and Toriano Wilson will be at the Hard Rock Café on Tuesday, July 15, from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., for a meet and greet with American fans. The Hard Rock Café is located at Pier 39 in Downtown San Francisco. Riders for Health Live Auction The general public is invited to a live auction on Thursday, July 17, at 4 p.m., in the Turn 4 Hospitality Suites to raise funds for Riders for Health programs in Africa. Items include Nicky Hayden-signed memorabilia, passes to Friday’s Yamaha VIP party at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix poster autographed by the Yamaha Weekend of Champions, VIP passes to the Legends of Laguna Seca induction party honoring Eddie Lawson and Kenny Roberts, Ducati-autographed merchandise and Bill Patterson live art demonstration. This year’s Guest of Honor Wayne Rainey and Riders for Health co-founder Randy Mamola will be there, and current MotoGP riders Marco Melandri, James Toseland, Colin Edwards, Ben Spies, Randy de Puniet, Toni Elias and Sylvain Guintoli have expressed their intent to attend. Free parking and access via South Boundary Road only. Legends of Laguna Motorcycle legends Kenny Roberts and Eddie Lawson are being inducted into the Legends of Laguna Seca on Thursday, July 17. The two riders were selected for the honor based on their significant impact on the sport and the track over the course of their careers. Roberts and Lawson join Wayne Rainey, who was inducted last year, as motorcycle racing’s representatives in the program. Yamaha Weekend of Champions Racing fans will be treated to autograph sessions with past Yamaha racing champions including Pierre Karsmakers, Broc Glover, Steve Baker, Scott Russell, Gary Jones, Jamie James, Jeff Emig, Thomas Stevens, Rick Burgett, Don Emde, Kel Carruthers, Mike Bell, Randy Mamola, Doug Henry, Rich Oliver, Damon Bradshaw, Wayne Rainey, and this year’s inductee into the “Legends of Laguna Seca” and four time World Champion, Eddie Lawson. Autograph session times are Friday and Saturday 12-1:30 p.m. and 3:00-4:30 p.m., and Sunday 9:30-11 a.m. and 12:30-1 p.m. MotoGP Fan Party presented by LeoVince Exhausts Check out Friday’s free MotoGP Fan Party presented by LeoVince Exhausts in the Turn 5 Parts Unlimited hospitality chalet, from 5-7 p.m. The party hosts free door prizes (including a HJC helmet, Kawasaki Joe Rocket riding jacket, LeoVince Exhausts), rider appearances, Miss Mazda Raceway appearances, snacks and beverages. Cannery Row The infamous Race Nights on the Row takes place on Friday and Saturday nights on Cannery Row, when thousands of riders gather on the Row and are invited to park their motorcycles for show. The event is from 5-11 p.m. and is free. Crash in Concert Featuring MotoGP Rider James Toseland Two-time World Superbike champ and current Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP rider is also an accomplished pianist. His band, Crash, performs in the Yamaha Marketplace on Saturday evening, from 5-7 p.m., in a free concert presented by Yamaha and GE Commercial Finance Distribution. Of course, the band all plays Yamaha instruments!