MotoGP makes its debut on the grand stage of Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 14th, 2008, as the Brickyard returns to its roots to celebrate its centennial year with the fast and flashy 800cc bikes on a modified road course set on both the...
MotoGP makes its debut on the grand stage of Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 14th, 2008, as the Brickyard returns to its roots to celebrate its centennial year with the fast and flashy 800cc bikes on a modified road course set on both the oval and infield circuits of the Speedway.
IMS COO Joie Chitwood made the announcement at the venerable Indianapolis race course, alongside officials of Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and series promoter Dorna, as he introduced the new configuration (running the traditional Indy 500-style counterclockwise around the course) that the Continental Circus will compete on when they appear for the first time in a little over fourteen months.
The most significant change the motorcycle racers will encounter is a new dogleg left turn at the end of the five-eighths mile long front straightaway at Indy, approximately thirty yards short of the entrance of Indy oval turn one. From that point the course will follow an entirely new section of asphalt that winds into the southwest corner of the Speedway infield, then remerges in the south short chute before merging with the current infield road course used in the past Formula 1 events at the circuit.
The course will remain 2.6 miles in length as in the past. However, the new section of track will eliminate completely the tire-hungry turn that proved the cause of F1's balking in 2005 and that led to the six-car race that remains one of racing's low points of the century.
Support flowed in from motorcycle racing luminaries worldwide as the announcement, which was several weeks in the making and became an official document-signing for the principals as much as any surprise to anyone in the racing world.
Reigning MOTOGP World Champion Nicky Hayden checked in at IMS enroute to California for this weekend's Laguna Seca festivities to admit the opportunity to claim the Indianapolis track as his "home track event" was overwhelming. "This is just awesome. To think that we are going to be racing at the greatest racetrack in the world is amazing. All of my friends and my family will get a chance to see me there, when it's not easy for them to fly all over the world. I can't wait to race there," he said.
Kenny Roberts Jr. was on hand to proclaim the Indy course a "highly technical track, one that will require the racers to be on their toes and the equipment to be at its best." The American rider added that he has reviewed the course for safety and there might yet be a slight further modification of the raceway as the course leaves the infield at the north end of the main straightaway, in order to improve angles of run-off toward the hard concrete walls that line this famous track's borders along its entire length.
Kevin Schwanz predicted to return from retirement, but the twinkle in his eye revealed a keen interest in the circuit and the historical nature of the MotoGP's introduction into the Midwestern American marketplace. "There's no reason we shouldn't have two races in America. It's big enough, and a place like Indianapolis is so special. This is a great opportunity for our sport and for us to be here."
Ticket applications are being accepted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway's website www.brickyard.com and by mail. The three-day package of the best Penthouse level seats (which afford a view all around the huge complex) are set at $150 per person; while daily prices for race day drop as low as $50 for a seat.