US GP: Laguna Seca pre-race notes

WHAT: Third annual Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix featuring round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship. WHERE: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, world-renowned 2.238-mile, 11-turn permanent road course in Monterey, Calif. WHEN: ...

WHAT: Third annual Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix featuring round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship.

WHERE: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, world-renowned 2.238-mile, 11-turn permanent road course in Monterey, Calif.

WHEN: Friday through Sunday, July 20-22.

WHO: American Nicky Hayden is the defending World Champion and has won both MotoGP races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2005 and 2006; Valentino Rossi of Italy won the World Championship from 2001 through 2005; Australia's Casey Stoner leads the championship by 21 points over Rossi, and the rest of a field that includes the best in the world on two wheels.

SUPPORT SERIES: American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited with defending National Champion Ben Spies; AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei.

PAST: Nicky Hayden, who is from Kentucky, has dominated MotoGP at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, at 2.238 miles the shortest course in the series, since the return of the series in 2005. Previously, badged as the 500cc World Championship, the series raced at Laguna Seca six years between 1988 and 1994. Valentino Rossi, who won the World Championship five consecutive years from 2001 through 2005, struggled with Laguna Seca on his Yamaha but has since begun to master the technically challenging track. In 2005, Hayden won from the pole with Texan Colin Edwards second and Rossi third. In 2006, Hayden again won with Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa second and Marco Melandri third on another Honda.

PRESENT: Nicky Hayden earned his first podium of 2007 with a third at the Dutch Grand Prix July 7. Valentino Rossi won, followed by Championship leader Casey Stoner in second. Stoner has been a dominant force to date and holds a 21-point lead over Rossi (185-164). Pedrosa is third with 119 points followed by American John Hopkins in fourth with 94 points. Edwards is seventh with 75 points and Hayden is tied for ninth with 57.

FUTURE: MotoGP will next compete at Sachsenring (Germany) in the German Grand Prix July 13-15 before heading to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the GP in North America.

TV: MotoGP World Championship, LIVE, 2-3 p.m. (PDT), FOX; AMA Superbike Championship, same-day delay 8 p.m. (PDT), SPEED Channel.

TICKETS: Available by calling (800) 327-SECA or logging onto www.laguna-seca.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Race information is also available at

-credit: mrls

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , John Hopkins , Ben Spies , Marco Melandri , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa