BACK TO THE TRACK AFTER OLYMPIC GLORY
There can be no better venue for the British MotoGP™ riders to continue the post Olympic optimism than the World famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit when battle recommences at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix in America on Sunday.
Chasing the medals between those towering grandstands and across the famous yard of bricks the riders commence a frantic second half of the season as they crisscross the globe.
Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow chases his first MotoGP podium after a superb first half of just his second MotoGP season. He lies fifth in the World Championship and is involved in a tremendous battle with his Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. They are separated by just 15 points and it’s a fight that will continue until that final round at the beginning of November in Valencia.
It’s been a tough return to MotoGP for Cumbrian James Ellison. Riding the CRT Paul Bird MotorSport ART machine he crashed out in the previous round at Laguna Seca after securing points at the previous three rounds. He 16th in the Championship but is the fifth highest CRT machine only four points behind Michele Pirro who is the third highest.
Scott Redding and Bradley Smith have been champing at the bit to get back on the track after a five week break since their last race. In that race at Mugello in Italy Smith was fourth and Redding sixth but they will be chasing podium finishes round the 2.620 Indy circuit on Sunday. Gloucestershire teenager Redding has finished on the podium three times this season riding the Marc VDS machine and is fifth in the Championship. Smith’s best result was at Mugello on the Tech 3 Mistral machine and is seventh after scoring points in all of the nine opening rounds. Both riders have finished on the Indianapolis podium with Smith second in the 125 cc race three years ago and Redding third in the Moto2 race the next year. Londoner Gino Rea makes his Indy debut fighting to hang onto his Gresini ride after a tough first half of his Moto2™ Championship season.
The two Danny’s, Kent and Webb have tasted contrasting fortunes in the new Moto3™ Championship. Wiltshire teenager Kent may only be tenth but on many occasions he’s been battling for the lead on the Red Bull Ajo KTM and finished on the podium in Assen. He looks very capable of more podium finishes or even a grand prix victory. It’s been a very different story for the highly experienced Kent-based Webb. Riding the Indian Mahindra machine it’s been tough going and he chases his first points of the season in a very important second half of the year.
REDDING AND SMITH SET FOR MOTOGP NEXT YEAR
British Moto2 stars and grand prix winners Scott Redding and Bradley Smith look set to join Cal Crutchlow in the MotoGP Championship next season. Twenty one year old Smith has already signed a contract to ride for the Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha team next season while Redding is still hoping for a deal with his Marc VDS team to ride a Ducati next year.
During the summer break Redding completed a two day MotoGP test with Ducati in Italy. Smith’s first MotoGP ride is scheduled for Valencia in Spain a couple of days after the last grand prix of the season at the beginning of November.
“When I’m away racing I just want to focus on this year and so I don’t worry about what might happen next year, I’m aware of the gossip that goes on but don’t pay much attention to it until something actually happens so once this opportunity came about it’s certainly been interesting to know that Ducati are interested in me which is important for my career. I had no idea what was going to happen but I was going down the pit lane with the limiter on thinking “I’m on a MotoGP bike and I’ve no idea what to expect”. It was a real eye-opener, I opened it up full bore and thought “well, it’s not that quick” but realised about the anti-wheelie and traction control systems. The first time I came down the home straight and went from 5th to 6th gear and had the throttle completely wide open, that’s when you realise how fast it really is. It’s like sitting on a live rocket ship! Mugello’s a hard circuit to get a GP a bike around, there’s a lot of change of direction which is hard to get used to when especially on a bike that’s heavier than my Moto2 bike but it was pretty immense; the fast straight with the brow then you’re in the braking zone for the first corner by the time you’re in 6th gear. The bike would always want to wheelie but to try and go straight over it would cost 0.3/0.4s.They said there could be another test although I don’t get involved too much in the contracts side of things – I just want to concentrate on my racing although if I see Valentino or Nicky in the paddock I must just drop the elbow on them and then say “Ciao”!
THE BATTLE CONTINUES – EIGHT TO GO
After the shortest of summer breaks the battle for the MotoGP World Championship continues at the iconic Indianapolis Speedway on Sunday at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. There are eight rounds of the Championship remaining in a frantic three months to decide the outcome.
Occupying the front seat of the roller coaster is Jorge Lorenzo fighting off the combined challenge of Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and World Champion Casey Stoner in those opening ten rounds. Only time will tell if the 23 point lead the Spanish Yamaha rider holds over Pedrosa or more significantly the 32 advantage over Stoner will be enough when the season closes in Valencia at the beginning of November.
The three leaders have all tasted success at the 2.620 miles ‘Brickyard ‘ circuit that incorporates the start and finish straight, albeit running in the opposite direction to the world famous Indy 500 track. Australian Stoner won last year, Pedrosa the year before and Lorenzo in 2009. This year Stoner grabbed his first win for three races in the last round at Laguna Seca and he needs to keep winning to put some real pressure on his great rival. Pedrosa’s consistency, off the podium just once this season, keeps the Spaniard in second place but he needs to win more races after just one victory this season to close the gap on his countryman at the front.
Nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi won the very first grand prix at Indianapolis, just before the tornado arrived back in 2008. Typically the Italian will be the centre of attention at the weekend after announcing he will return to Yamaha next season after two disastrous years at Ducati. The Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha pair of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow continue their season long battle for fourth place. Dovizioso leads the way by 15 points thanks to four podium finishes and one of them could replace Rossi at Ducati next season.
Former World Champion Nicky Hayden has re-signed for Ducati and can concentrate on his battle for sixth place with impressive MotoGP Rookie Stefan Bradl, Rossi and former 125 cc World Champion Alvaro Bautista who’s fighting to hang onto his San Carlo Gresini Honda ride. Ben Spies makes his last home MotoGP appearance for Yamaha and he’s determined to go out with a bang at Indianapolis where he finished third last year.
Toni Elias continues to replace the injured Hector Barbera who hopes to return at the bwin Grand Prix of the Czech Republic the following week on the Pramac Ducati. The CRT battle continues between Power Electronics Aspar team-mates Randy De Puniet and Aleix Espargaro who are equal on points way ahead of the field. There will be two extra CRT entries for the 28 lap race on Sunday. Steve Rapp makes his second appearance on the Attack Performance Aprilia after just failing to qualify at Laguna while former AMA Champion Aaron Yates rides the GP Tech machine at his home race.
The Moto2 and Moto3 riders return to the fray after a proper summer break of five weeks following their last round at Mugello in Italy. Despite only finishing fifth in Italy Marc Marquez holds a commanding 34 point Moto2 lead over countryman Pol Espargaro and Italian Andrea Iannone after a superb first half of the season. He won the Moto2 race last year in which Espargaro was second to secure his first Moto2 podium finish. Espargaro also won the 125 cc race three years ago and needs to secure his third win of the year to close the gap on Marquez and get away from Iannone who won the previous round in Mugello.
Moto3 makes it Indy debut and the American crowd are in for a real treat after a sensational start to the new championship. Nine points separate Sandro Cortese and Maverick Vinales at the top but there are at least ten riders capable of victory in the heat of battle. Italian teenager Romano Fenati makes his Indy debut after winning in Jerez, Luis Salom will surely win a race before the end of the season, Louis Rossi chases a repeat of his Le Mans victory while never rule out podium finishers Alexis Masbou, Alex Rins and Danny Kent.
INDIANAPOLIS FACTS AND FIGURES
The iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrated its 100th birthday three years ago by staging its second MotoGP race because the first race ever staged at “The Brickyard” was a motorcycle race in 1909. Since then the Oval circuit has been the home of the World famous Indy 500 car race. The 2.620 motorcycle circuit runs in the opposite direction but incorporates the same start and finish straight. The towering grandstands around the oval hold over 257,000 spectators.
Circuit Length: 4.216 kms
Width: 16 m
Pole Position: Right
Longest Straight: 872m
Left Corners: Ten
Right Corners: Six
Pole Position Record:
BBC/BRITISH EUROSPORT 2
Friday 17 August
1810 – 2100 British Eurosport 2 – Live Practice Moto3, MotoGP, Moto2
Saturday 18 August
1555 – 1800 BBC Red Button & British Eurosport 2 – Live Qualifying Moto3, MotoGP, Moto2
Sunday 19 August
1555 – 1800 BBC Red Button – Live Moto3 and Moto2 races
1545 –1800 British Eurosport 2 – Live Moto3 and Moto2 races
1830 — 2000 BBC2 and HD Live MotoGP race
2000 British Eurosport2 – MotoGP Action
Nick will be available at the circuit from Thursday lunchtime until Sunday night. Please note Nick will not be available to answer the phone during qualifying or the races.
Mobile 07785 224 596
Redding will be back on his Moto2 bike this weekend