The 2010 season continues its march towards the decisive part of the season with round 11 of 18 taking place at Indianapolis this weekend, and all eyes will once more be on Jorge Lorenzo as the Fiat Yamaha rider aims to maintain his phenomenal form this season.
Victory last time out at Brno made the Spaniard only the third premier class rider in history to have placed inside the top two in all ten opening races of a season, and few would bet against him extending his win count this season to eight at a track he was victorious on last season.
“The first back-to-back races in the second half of the season are coming, and this first one after a few days of holiday in the US for me,” Lorenzo said. “This weekend will be the second race in this country in 2010 and I am looking forward to it because I would like to repeat the same result as I got in Laguna.
“I just have good memories from America, last month in Laguna and last year in Indy. Last year was amazing, but this time I don’t need to take too many risks. We can avoid it! Indy is a track that I like a lot and it has amazing history. The team and I are planning to continue our great season there this weekend.”
With a 77-point advantage over Dani Pedrosa in the standings the Repsol Honda man will be eager not only to halt his rival’s run, but also to make up for last year’s Indy outing. Pedrosa dominated the weekend and started from pole, but crashed early in the race and eventually placed 10th.
Fresh from second place in the Czech Republic he will be targeting a third win of the season, which would be a first treble of premier class wins in one year for the 24-year-old.
“I’m going to Indianapolis in a very good mood and I’m feeling ready to finish the job we weren’t able to complete in the race there last time,” Pedrosa said. “I felt really comfortable riding in Indy last year. I was on top of the timesheets from the first practice, I took pole position and the only mistake I made was in the race. So I hope this time we can put together a strong weekend and take another good result.
“We were ready to win again in Brno and this will be our goal in Indianapolis too. Riding in America is different, the Indianapolis circuit is very impressive and I feel very good racing in the States because the support I get from the fans is always very positive. So I’m really looking forward to get out there.”
Casey Stoner’s consistent podium finishing over the past five rounds has lifted the Ducati Team rider to third overall, and still in search of a first win of the season the Australian will also be looking to make up for last year’s absence from this race due to illness.
He will also be expecting a front-end improvement on his Desmosedici after testing new forks at Brno. Just four points behind him in the standings is Andrea Dovizioso, and the Repsol Honda man will want a solid result after his first DNF of 2010 in the last round.
The Italian has finished fifth and fourth in his two rides at Indy, and will expect to go one better in the battle for third with Stoner.
Reigning world champion Valentino Rossi continues to go from strength to strength as he regains full fitness, and has winning form on the track from 2008. Two points off the Italian in the standings is his prospective teammate for 2011, Ducati’s Nicky Hayden.
“Indianapolis is a special place, an amazing track and as always it’s fun to race in America,” Rossi said. “I have great memories from 2009 when I won in the hurricane, even if it’s not something I want to repeat! This year we arrive in a different situation to last year, fifth in the championship and not at 100 percent in physical condition, but I am feeling stronger all the time.”
American favourite Hayden – still in search of a first podium of the campaign – will be desperate for a strong home display and will hope the injured left hand he sustained in Brno does not hinder those aspirations.
“I really cannot wait to get to Indy for the race – it’s such a famous track with so much history and being so close to my home I got a big crew making the trip to support me and my brother,” Hayden said. “The event has really grown a lot in just a few years with the Indy mile dirt track, enduro cross, the stunt shows and all the downtown events, which really gives the fans a chance to make the trip worthwhile.
“My broken wrist is better than last week in Brno, which I am very happy about, so we’ll see on Friday just how much better. The weather looks good so I hope to come out strong from the gun on Friday and have a weekend worth remembering. Let’s get it!”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Ben Spies will have identical aims to compatriot Hayden on home soil, whilst Randy de Puniet’s incredible return to action at Brno just four weeks after a broken leg will take its next step as the LCR Honda rider attempts to regain the highest privateer honour.
Italian Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and another proud American Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) complete the top 10 as it stands.
Rookies Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) will all want positive first premier class runs at the circuit, whilst those with previous Indy experience in Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Pramac Racing pair Aleix Espargaró and Mika Kallio will look to pull on their knowledge in search of good results.
Having ridden at the Brno test for the first time in two months Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team) could make his return to action, but is waiting to make a decision. In the case the Japanese rookie does not Alex de Angelis will continue as his stand-in on the satellite RC212V.
After a fourth win of the campaign at Brno stretched his lead at the top of the Moto2 standings to 55 points, Toni Elías will attempt to make it three victories in a row for the first time in his world championship career at Indianapolis this weekend.
The Spaniard of the Gresini Racing team is well placed at the summit of the championship, but has a rider more than capable of closing the gap on his tail in the shape of Andrea Iannone.
The Italian of the Fimmco Speed Up team has displayed his blistering pace on numerous occasions this season and finished third behind Elías in the previous round, a result that pushed him into second position in the overall standings.
Iannone will however have to consider the threat of Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki) who will be determined to regain second spot having finished 11th at Brno. The Swiss rider had a top-ten finish at Indianapolis last year in the 250cc class, but will want a return to the podium having experienced it four times already this year.
Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) and Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP) have their sights locked on Lüthi and third spot, whilst just two points separate Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing), Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2) and Yuki Takahashi (Tech 3 Racing) from positions six to eight.
The American presence on the grid will be trebled as joining regular rider Kenny Noyes (Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas) will be Jason di Salvo (GP Tech) riding an FTR chassis. Roger Lee Hayden (American Honda) will also be riding as a wild card on a Moriwaki, having competed in the premier class at Laguna Seca just five weeks earlier as a stand-in for Randy de Puniet.
The race for the 2010 125cc title took another twist at Brno where Marc Márquez dislocated a shoulder in practice and then bravely rode to seventh, whilst Nico Terol announced his return to action – and the Championship fight – with a win in his first race back from injury.
Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider Márquez saw his title lead cut to 15 points as Pol Espargaró (Tuenti Racing) placed second in the Czech Republic, and the Spaniard will have his sights firmly set on victory at Indianapolis, especially at it is the track where he secured his first ever world championship win last year.
Terol’s win at Brno pulled him back into the contest and the Bancaja Aspar rider looked very strong in his first race back after fracturing vertebrae at Catalunya. The Spaniard placed fourth at Indy last year and will also be aiming to capitalise on Márquez’s reduced physical condition.
Bradley Smith is still maintaining contact with the leading group, but the British rider knows he needs a first win of 2010 to ensure his title hopes stay alive – he placed second at Indy last season. Smith is in fourth in the overall standings, 28 points behind team-mate Terol and 31 ahead of fifth-placed Tomoyoshi Koyama (Racing Team Germany).
Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) and Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo) are separated by only three points, and will also fancy their chances of podium finishes at the U.S. circuit.
There will be a single wild card entry as American youngster Kris Turner rides an Aprilia machine for Veloce Racing.