MotoGP // DECISIVE PEDROSA WIN @ INDIANAPOLISMotoGP racing made its way back to the U.S. for the second and final time in 2010 for round 11 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jorge Lorenzo came into the weekend in first position, where he has been since race number two at Jerez, his lead at 77 points over second-place Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo has indicated that he is now riding with the overall championship in mind and not individual race wins. This will presumably mean a more conservative Lorenzo giving other riders a chance at winning races... [read more]

One issue that emerged over the weekend’s practice sessions was the condition of the track. The MotoGP layout at Indy utilizes part of the oval straight, part of the old F1 layout and newer sections built in 2007 to accommodate GP bikes. This makes for a patchwork of different surfaces, the transitions between which are sometimes less than optimal for motorcycles. To make matters worse, certain sections of track have developed some nasty bumps that took down some of the best GP riders including Stoner, Hayden, Spies and, most surprisingly, Valentino Rossi on three different occasions. Nobody seems to be able to recall Rossi falling three times in a single weekend. Needless to say, many riders are calling for Indianapolis to repave a few sections before next year’s race.

Ben Spies ticked off another first in his MotoGP career by snatching pole position in a qualifying session that saw a few riders go down and some others fail to live up to expectations. Still, a rookie putting a satellite bike in pole position is no small feat. It begs the question of whether or not Yamaha has begun throwing more factory team-level parts at Spies in anticipation of his move into Rossi’s ride there next year. Either way, he seems to be reaffirming the wisdom of the decision to bring him up for 2011. The starting grid was as follows: Spies, Lorenzo, Hayden, Dovizioso, Pedrosa, Stoner, Rossi, Simoncelli, Edwards, Capirossi, Bautista, Melandri, Aoyama, Espargaro, Kallio, Barbera, De Puniet.

Spies got a dream start from pole, beating the pack into turn one, while Jorge Lorenzo reverted to his old ways and dropped like a stone back to fifth place. Between those two were Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa, who failed to achieve one of his miracle starts. Following Lorenzo was Rossi, Simoncelli, Melandri, Stoner and Edwards rounding out the top ten. They would cross the line for the first time in this order, with Spies looking to pull a small gap over Dovizioso. On lap two, Lorenzo began to put pressure on Pedrosa but Dani responded by shooting past Hayden. This gave Pedrosa a bit of breathing room to catch the front two while Lorenzo was left to grapple with Hayden. It took Lorenzo a little less than a lap to pass Nicky and hunt Pedrosa down. Meanwhile, Stoner had just passed Simoncelli for eighth, setting his sights on Melandri who promptly lowsided out of his 200th GP start.

On the same lap, Hayden, while chasing Lorenzo, had ripped his left-hand knee slider off in a turn. He desperately tried to reapply it to his leathers while going down the front straight, to no avail. This was particularly worrisome for his race as Indy is mostly left-hand turns, meaning he would have to take the majority of the corners without the aid of his knee slider. Pedrosa now got past Dovizioso early into lap four and began to hunt Spies while Rossi took advantage of Hayden’s troubles to move into fifth, Stoner would follow on lap six. Lap eight saw Pedrosa pass Spies on the front straight and begin his unstoppable march to the win. It also saw Stoner crash out into turn eleven just as he was closing in on Rossi. The excitement was now in watching Lorenzo stalk Dovizioso for the remaining podium spot, which he did going into the first turn of lap twelve. His delay in passing Dovizioso effectively put him out of reach in catching Spies, let alone Pedrosa. This order would stand at the front until lap 20, when Rossi got past Dovizioso, whose tires were beginning to give him trouble. There would be little more action in the remaining eight laps, save for Hector Barbera putting in a very hard pass on Capirossi in one of the final corners of the race.

This weekend marked the first time Dani Pedrosa has won more than two races in a season at the top level of GP racing. It was also Ben Spies’ first pole position and first second place in MotoGP. A win for Spies this season doesn’t seem too far-fetched. It was also Lorenzo’s first race of the season where he didn’t come first or second, he is only the third rider ever to have come first or second in the first ten races of the season, behind Agostini and Doohan. Even so, it will still take a massive streak of bad results for the title to slip away from him. Rossi’s fourth place finish, while not where he wanted to be, was a great showing after the terrible sessions he had leading up to the race. The other unsung winner of the weekend was Alvaro Bautista who came in eighth place (he missed seventh by only 0.08 sec). Bautista has been plagued by falls, injuries and the mediocre performance of this year’s Suzuki. Hopefully results like this will convince Suzuki to pour some money and resources into its MotoGP effort instead of pulling out after 2011, as some fear.

2010 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix // Final Results:

1. Dani Pedrosa 47m31.615s
2. Ben Spies 47m35.190s
3. Jorge Lorenzo 47m38.427s
4. Valentino Rossi 47m44.248s
5. Andrea Dovizioso 47m53.500s
6. Nicky Hayden 48m06.753s
7. Marco Simoncelli 48m08.355s
8. Alvaro Bautista 48m08.440s
9. Aleix Espargaro 48m16.520s
10. Hector Barbera 48m22.983s
11. Loris Capirossi 48m27.001s
12. Hiroshi Aoyama 48m29.518s
13. Randy De Puniet 48m35.754s


Mika Kallio
Colin Edwards
Casey Stoner
Marco Melandri

On a note unrelated to MotoGP, 13-year-old Peter Lenz, riding in a US Grand Prix Union race at Indianapolis on Sunday morning, crashed and was run over by another rider during the warm-up lap. He was pronounced dead soon after at a local hospital. While everyone involved in racing knows the risks involved, it’s heart-wrenching to see someone, especially someone that young, suffer something like that. Condolences to his family and friends.

Photo: Mirco Lazzari via Autoblog
Editorial: Jeff Winterberg

No comments:

Post a Comment