Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies arrive in California this week to prepare for the first of the season’s two US rounds, Sunday’s Grand Prix of the USA at the Laguna Seca circuit. Championship leader Lorenzo is traditionally strong at Laguna, taking victory from pole in 2010 and second from pole in 2011. A huge crash last year the day before the race left Lorenzo with reduced energy levels, possibly denying a second successive victory. With a 19 point gap over closest rival Dani Pedrosa, this weekend will be key in extending the lead.
Texan Ben Spies arrives for his first US race of the season hoping the home crowd will be the lucky talisman he needs to get his Championship back on track. Spies has a strong record at Laguna as a three-time AMA race winner there. He scored sixth on his first MotoGP outing and bettered it again last year, finishing just off the podium in fourth.
Situated amongst the hills just a couple of hours from San Francisco, The Laguna Seca circuit claims jaw dropping elevation changes and possibly the most famous corner in the racing world, the infamous ‘corkscrew’. Weather can be unpredictable with cold misty mornings followed by dry hot days providing exciting racing for the American fans.
“With the exception of the disaster at Assen we are having a very strong season so far, always finishing in either first or second place. Hopefully we can continue to do this here to extend the lead a little more. I have always had great races here in Laguna in MotoGP and always finish on the podium. I love the circuit, the corkscrew corner is amazing and the American fans always make an incredible atmosphere for us.”
“It’s always special racing in front of your home crowd. It’s been a pretty rough season so far but we’ll see if we can turn it round here, put on a good show for all my fans and change it up for the second half of the year. We had some great results here before in AMA and not so bad on my first two MotoGP visits. It’s going to be great to see some old faces around the track over the weekend too.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“So here we are heading into the second half of the season already. Jorge is riding very well and achieving excellent results. We know he really likes the Laguna circuit and is strong here so I’m confident we can do well. Last year he had a big crash the morning of qualifying which meant he had a lot less energy than usual on race day. He’s fit and ready so we’re hoping that won’t happen this time.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“It’s always exciting to come to Laguna, it’s an iconic track, a legend! We arrive leading the Championship with Jorge on strong form which is important. For Ben it’s been a really tough season so far and he’s been very unlucky recently. I am confident he will give it 100% this weekend and we will see the results we know he is capable of in front of his home fans.”
Source: Yamaha Racing