Yamaha Head Back to the USA for the Indianapolis Grand Prix
The MotoGP paddock heads stateside again this week for the second of the two US rounds of the 2011 MotoGP Championship. The legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host round 12 of the Championship, the second home race for Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies. The 2010 Indianapolis event became a feat of endurance for the MotoGP riders with track temperatures hitting 50 degrees over qualifying and race day. The sweltering conditions raised grip issues across the grid and the heat was physically exhausting for the riders.
Lorenzo struggled over the entire weekend to find a perfect set up for the difficult conditions last year, enduring the heat to finally deliver a well earned podium finish with third in the race. The World Champion started from second on the grid just behind Spies. Lorenzo has a good record at the circuit, claiming victory in 2009 and his first ever wet podium in 2008.
Despite the conditions MotoGP rookie Spies enjoyed his most successful race of the year at Indianapolis in 2010. The Texan rider took a scorching maiden pole position start from future team mate Lorenzo and converted it into a season best finish of second on race day, his first MotoGP podium.
With 257,000 permanent seats the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest spectator sporting facility in the world and fills to capacity for its flagship events, 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 for MotoGP. The circuit was resurfaced earlier this year, improving the grip levels considerably for the riders.
As part of Yamaha's ongoing 50th Anniversay of Grand Prix racing celebrations, Yamaha Factory Racing will again run the special red and white livery at Indianapolis.
"Indy is a track I really enjoy. I treasure wonderful moments like the podiums in 2008 and 2010, and my victory in 2009 wearing Captain America's helmet. I am now in good shape and am ready to regain the ground we lost in Brno, where a mistake put a distance between Casey and I. I hope the good energy I feel in this track will still help us to fight for the title. I am really looking forward to going back to the US and riding my M1."
“I’m really hoping to be completely fit for this weekend. I’ve still got some numbness in the arm but it is better than it was at Brno. We’ve been working hard to get it right and we will of course give it 100% as always. I’ve been looking forward to this race all year; it was pretty crazy last year as a rookie to take pole and a second in the race. We’re going to put on a good show for all the home fans and see what we can do.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“We had some problems at Indianapolis last year but they resurfaced the circuit so we're looking forward to checking it out as it wasn’t in the best shape before. Jorge struggled to get the bike set up properly on it in 2010. With Ben’s excellent experience over there we believe we are able to fight for victory or podiums. If we want to win the World Championship we need to win races and start beating Casey, it is going to be a big challenge but we’re ready for it!”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“I’m hoping Ben’s physical condition is better for the weekend; I’m hoping that he will be 100% because it is his home race and expectations are quite high. The team are going to use some new updates that we tested in Brno; these will help both Ben and Jorge challenge for the front. Last year both riders finished on the podium so we are confident for this event.”