Indy GP: The Preview

Press Release | August 25, 2009

The following is from Yamaha…After their differing fortunes last time out in Brno, MotoGP championship leader Valentino Rossi and runner-up Jorge Lorenzo will arrive in Indianapolis this week for the second American round of the year, at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Fiat Yamaha pair are separated by 50 points but with six rounds remaining the title is far from decided and it promises to be another exciting weekend for the Italian and the Spaniard.Rossi took a commanding victory last time out, his fifth of the season and also his 160th career podium, which means he now has the most podiums in the history of the sport. The Italian made a victorious debut at Indianapolis last year, adapting to the track immediately and taking a brilliant win in the rain-wracked race, which was stopped eight laps early as the tail end of Hurricane Ike battered the track. Rossi admits to loving racing in the States and having missed out on a win in Laguna this year the 30-year-old would like to make up for it this week. On Saturday night he will make a special appearance at the Indy Mile, the world-famous dirt-track event that takes place just a few miles away in this motor racing Mecca.Indianapolis last year was an important moment too for Lorenzo as the then-rookie took his first ever podium in the wet, keeping his head to bring his M1 home in third place amidst incredibly difficult conditions. After two races on the bounce with zero points the championship runner-up is desperate to turn his fortunes around this weekend and is counting on the work done during the Brno test to put him in the best possible shape from the start this time.With 257,000 permanent seats the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest spectator sporting facility in the world and fills to capacity for its crown jewels, the Indy 500 and Allstate 400 car races. Originally constructed in 1909 with a 2.5-mile oval, an exciting 16-turn motorcycle road circuit, which includes part of the historic oval, was purpose-built last year for MotoGP. Last year’s appalling weather aside, average temperatures in late August generally range from highs of around 25C to lows touching 15C and the entire paddock will be hoping for slightly more average conditions this time around.Valentino Rossi – “Anything can happen”

“2008 in Indy was something special because it was the first time we had been there and it is definitely the most famous racetrack in the world. We didn’t really know what to expect but our bike worked very well and we were fast from the start, in the wet and the dry. Every year is a different story however so we won’t know where we are until we start our work on Friday afternoon. Last year I had a great win but, like everyone, I really hope that was the only hurricane we ever have to race in and that this time the conditions are more ‘normal’! As I said in Brno, it would be stupid for us to relax and consider the championship won, anything can happen and we know that Lorenzo will be very strong this weekend and determined to make up for the last two races. We must keep focused.”Jorge Lorenzo – “We’re ready”

“Indy is very special for me because it’s the first track where I got a podium in wet conditions, in my very first year in MotoGP! Last year was strange, maybe we should have finished earlier because Hurricane Ike was pretty strong; this time I hope everything will be a little bit easier. I am feeling confident because I’ve felt good in the last races, riding very fast since the beginning of the weekend, despite what’s happened on Sunday. I am not thinking about the championship any more but I would like to win a race again after more than three months, especially here in Indy when it’s the centenary of the track. It’s a busy two weeks, with Misano straight after, but we’re ready.”Davide Brivio – “No time to relax”

“We had a very good test in Brno when we got a lot of important things done, mostly looking forward to next year. Right now we’re in a very good place, leading the championship by fifty points and with our bike working very well, but as Valentino says we can’t relax because our rivals are very strong. We all love to race in America and we always have great support from our American friends at Yamaha, so everyone will be arriving in high spirits and feeling very motivated. Last year our bike was good there so we hope for the same this time, but without the hurricane!”Daniele Romagnoli – “Great motivation””In 2008 Jorge did a great race in the wet at Indy and it was an important moment for him. This time though we hope for better weather! Everyone in the team loves racing in America and so we’re all looking forward to getting there, we had great fun last year. After the last two races our sole target again is to do the best we can and fight for the top positions, we want a good result to help us forget Brno and set us up for the final stage of the championship.”The following is from Repsol Honda…The Repsol Honda team rolls through the gates of the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week ready to contest round 12 of the Motorcycle World Championship at the spectacular venue. It will be MotoGP’s second visit to North America this season and the factory Honda squad will be looking to repeat its victory at the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in July. On that occasion Dani Pedrosa led from start to finish on board his RC212V to record Repsol Honda’s maiden win of the 2009 season.After his second place at the last round in Brno in the Czech Republic, Pedrosa is ready for a return to the top step of the podium this weekend. The Spaniard has proved that when everything slots into place he’s capable of taking the fight to his championship rivals and he’ll be looking to show that his previous victory on American soil was no fluke. And if Pedrosa finishes on the podium in Indianapolis he will overtake the absent Casey Stoner for third place in the championship standings.Dovizioso is also confident of putting on a strong display this weekend at a circuit he enjoys. The Italian led the first two laps of last year’s weather-affected race at Indianapolis while riding for the satellite Scot Honda team, before finishing fifth as the conditions deteriorated rapidly. After a win and a fourth place in the two races running up to Indy, a strong result for Dovizioso this weekend would give him a good chance of moving ahead of Colin Edwards and into fifth place in the world championship points standings. The Texan lies just five points in front of Dovizioso after 11 rounds of the season completed.This will be MotoGP’s second visit to the famous banking of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the entire paddock will be hoping for better weather this time after last year’s race was cut short by hurricane Ike, which lashed the circuit with torrential rain and high winds. Weather permitting, the first practice session for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis takes place on Friday at 13.55 local time (GMT – 4 hours).DANI PEDROSA – World championship position: 4th, 135 points

“I’m really looking forward to riding in America again because the last time we were in the States – at Laguna Seca in July – we won the race. A result like that would be great for me and the team and that’s what we’ll be aiming for, though we know we’ll have to work hard for it because our rivals have proved they are very strong in the last few races. I don’t think the gap they had at the last race in Brno was a true reflection of our pace compared to theirs though, so I expect we’re going to be closer to them at Indy. The circuit itself is largely made up of second and third gear corners so it’s not one of my favourites to ride, but the venue itself it very impressive. I really hope the weather is going to be better than last year because the conditions in the race were pretty terrible and the organizers were forced to stop it early because it was so dangerous. The team is motivated for Indy – we made some progress in the test after Brno, so we’re looking for another strong weekend.”ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World championship position: 6th, 107 points

“This is the second time that we race at Indianapolis and I have to say that last year I immediately found a good feeling with this new track. It’s a typical American venue with great facilities and huge grandstands so the experience of riding there is special. I like this racetrack and it will be important for me and the team to have a good result here. I was fourth in the last race at Brno but that was actually a little disappointing because I was so close to the podium again, so I’m look forward to getting back on track and putting that right. It won’t be easy, especially during the first practice session because it’s a different type of circuit and it’s not so easy to dial into the layout at the beginning. However, I expect us to be closer to the front at this race because the track is quite slow and I think that we will have fewer problems than in Brno where the track amplified our issues. So I’m really looking forward to a good result at Indy.”The following is from Suzuki…Rizla Suzuki is on the way to Indianapolis in America for the 12th round of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship, hoping to add to the amazing history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.The second MotoGP race to be held at the famous circuit coincides with the celebration of its ‘Centennial Era’ to commemorate the 100th anniversary of motor-racing beginning at Indianapolis with a motorcycle race on August 14th 1909.Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen are planning to add their names to the hall of fame at the place ‘Where America Learned to Race’ when they take to the 4,218m track on Friday 28th August to begin their preparations for the 20-lap race. Capirossi will be buoyed by the recent strong performance last time out at Brno in the Czech Republic. He missed out on a podium position by less than a second and is in a determined mood to continue from where he left off at Brno.Vermeulen is also convinced that he can improve on his showing from Brno as he aims for a strong finish to the season during the remaining six races. He also had a strong post-race test in the Czech Republic and will be giving it 100% at Indianapolis as he looks to end the season in style.Rizla Suzuki takes to the track on Friday for a single free practice session, followed by a further free session on Saturday morning. Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon to decide grid positions for Sunday’s 20-lap race that gets underway at 15.00hrs local time (19.00hrs GMT).Loris Capirossi:

“Last year at Indianapolis was the worst conditions I have ever raced in and I hope we don’t have that to contend with again. I didn’t really get on the pace there last year and I was very disappointed about that and will be looking to put that right this year. We had an encouraging performance at Brno and also discovered a few things during the test on the Monday that will improve things for the rest of the season. I am going to America in a very positive frame of mind and determined to fight for everything we can for the rest of the year.”Chris Vermeulen:

“I’m looking forward to going to Indianapolis, as it is such an amazing venue and a really well organised event. We didn’t really get the best out of the place last year as the race was hit by a hurricane and had to be stopped early, so I hope the weather is a lot better this year. We made a big step with bike at Brno in the last GP and although the result wasn’t what we wanted, we certainly have a clear indication of how the new engine will work in the remaining races. We need to be on the pace as quick as possible at Indy and see what we can do.”The following is from Ducati…The MotoGP World Championship returns to the USA this weekend for the second time this season, to an area steeped in motorsport tradition and with an abundance of Ducati aficionados. The support for the Italian factory will be multiplied this weekend as their colours are defended by Nicky Hayden, who calls Indianapolis more of a home race than Laguna Seca due to the fact he hails from just three hours down the road.Hayden celebrated second place here in 2008 when the race was halted eight laps from the end due to extremely adverse weather conditions. After a solid sixth place last time out at Brno, the American is hoping for another top performance in front of his home crowd. For Mika Kallio this will be his first race in the USA, having missed the Laguna Seca GP in July because of injury and the Indianapolis GP last year, when Hurrican Icke forced the cancellation of the 250cc race. Kallio had been confident of a good race from third on the grid but his hopes were dashed when the race was definitively abandoned for security purposes, as advertising hoardings and air-fences were blown across the track.NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati MotoGP Team (14th in the championship on 57 points)”Indianapolis is probably the race I look forward to most – it’s just three hours from my house and MotoGP now is becoming very popular. Last year it was a great weekend for me, the crowd was great and Indy did a great job in organizing their first race and made us proud of it. I would love to have another good weekend like that one. So far we have had a tough season and I would like to go there in a more confident mood but it is what it is and for sure we’ll go there and just do the absolute maximum. I like the track itself even though it’s quite flat. The most challenging thing is that it has different kinds of asphalt on different parts of the track so it will be a challenge to find out where there is grip, where not, and to find the best set-up. Hopefully we won’t have another hurricane, the weather should be fine, so we will see how it goes. Last but not least, at Indy I will wear a special helmet, but this time it really is “special “. It will carry the “Make a Wish” logo and other special designs, and after the race we will action it off. All the money will go toward the Foundation which helps kids’ dreams come true. There will be pictures up on my web site to see it at I have worked with this charity for 5 years now and it always feels good to help out such a solid cause, and yes, I have already made my wish for the weekend.”MIKA KALLIO, (15th in the championship on 34 points)

“Sunday will be my first race at Indy because even though I came here last year the race itself was cancelled because of the weather. Anyway, I can’t say I don’t know the track because we did contest every practice session, including warm-up. It’s not exactly my favourite kind of track but it’s okay, other than the surface. There are three different kinds of asphalt and that makes it really tricky to get a set-up. Anyway, we’ll do our best and I’ll like to be competing within the top five or six.”LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP Project Director

“The news from Casey is positive, he is getting stronger and I’m sure he will be back at full strength at Estoril. As far Indy is concerned, I think everything is in place for both Nicky and Mika to have a good weekend. At Brno they were both lapping at a similar pace to the guys who finished on the podium. Nicky will have extra motivation here at his home circuit and for Mika it will be his second race in factory colours and I hope he feels more comfortable. Let’s hope the race isn’t affected by the weather like last year because the fans at Indy deserve to see the show right to the end this year.”THE TRACK

The MotoGP circuit uses only a part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track, namely a large section of the start-finish straight and part of the south-eastern corner of the oval. The rest of the track is on the infield, a modified version of the tight and twisty F1 layout but running in the opposite direction. The variation in newer and older asphalt between the different sections makes life hard for the tyres, although with the single tyre rule the key for the teams this year will lie principally in adapting their set-up to deal with the different levels of grip.

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