Jorge “Caption America” Lorenzo was the man on top here at Indy and in the process gained a great deal of U.S. fans.
Captain America prevailed today in Indianapolis, even though he appears to be Spanish these days. Jorge Lorenzo and his superhero-inspired helmet took top honors at the second Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, also stopping to pick up a red, white and blue toy shield to round out the costume for his victory lap. He then capped it off with a Helio Castroneves-style spiderman climb up the Turn 1 fence- yet another classic race-win celebration from the young Spanish star!
But while Lorenzo rode impressively to take the top spot, the big news today was once again crashers. Just as it’s been all weekend, the race was filled with some very surprising get-offs.
First it was a handful of mid-pack riders running off in Turn 2 at the start, with one of the Suzukis, one of the Pramac Ducatis and Gresini Honda’s Toni Elias in the grass after someone made contact halfway back in the field. Luckily everyone kept it on two wheels, though from that point on the real drama started.
Repsol Honda’s pole-sitting Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the lead only a handful of laps in, losing the front between the final two corners. This left the two Fiat Yamaha boys up front, though shortly after it was Valentino Rossi hitting the deck. In a very uncharacteristic-for-Rossi fashion, he locked the front tire and tucked the front on the brakes entering Turn 2, just after Lorenzo had passed him in Turn 1. It’s been since the end of 2006 in Valencia, Spain that The Doctor has made such a mistake when battling for the lead, that one costing him the championship to our own Nicky Hayden. Rossi was later joined in the dirt by Marco Melandri on the Hayate Kawasaki machine, who was running well inside the top-10. Niccolo Canepa’s Ducati also suffered a mechanical failure with a handful of laps remaining for yet another retirement in a drama-filled final.
On a more positive note, speaking of Hayden, the Kentucky Kid logged his first career podium on the Ducati in front of his home fans for what was a very emotional finish for the likable American. It was a great result for the American, who’s still unsigned for 2010. This should go a long way at helping his cause, as he’s now the first rider other than Casey Stoner to podium on the carbon fiber-frame 800cc Ducati GP machine, one which most consider unrideable by anyone other than the Australian.
Hometown hero Hayden took his first career podium on the Ducati and it was well received here in Indianapolis.
“This means a lot to me to win in front of all you fans here in America,” Hayden said on the podium as the 75,000-strong crowd erupted. “It’s no secret this has been the biggest challenge of my life but I’m really happy and want to thank my team, family and supporters. It’s great to spray the bubbly once again. Let’s hope we can build on this.”
Fellow Statesman Colin Edwards also joined Hayden in the top five, making for a very strong showing from the home contingent here in Indy. In front of Edwards and Hayden was Alex de Angelis in second, who was the undoubted surprise of the weekend. Left without a ride for next year, De Angelis logged his first career podium in the MotoGP class today in an impressive ride on his San Carlo Gresini Honda. Only problem, from what we hear it’s too little, too late, as most believe he will be left without a ride in the premiere class next year.
We also caught up with Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi and were able to speak to him about resigning with the Rizla squad for 2010, in what will be his 21st season in Grand Prix racing. Capirossi confirmed they had a new engine at the previous round in Brno, Czech Republic, and they had a new chassis here at Indy.
Capirossi benefitted from a several riders crashing out to finish seventh. He’s staying at Suzuki for 2010 in what will be his 21st season in Grand Prix. We caught up with him…
“It’s very promising from Suzuki to get us the new engine for the last round and we also have a new chassis for here, which shows they are working hard,” said the Italian elder statesman of the series. “We’ve had a bit of a hard time getting the setting correct here as we had rain on Friday and we qualified 11th but we have found a few things this morning and are looking for a much higher finish in the race.”
He was able to accomplish this with a seventh-place finish today, though partially due to three people crashing out in front of him. We also asked the friendly Italian about next season and the addition of his young new teammate Alvaro Bautista, who is graduating from the 250cc GP class to the premiere ranks for 2010.
“I’m still hungry and still very much enjoy racing, so I am very happy to stay with Suzuki,” he added. “The guys at Suzuki are very close and much like family and I like it here very much. Hopefully we can continue to improve on the bike and be competitive and fight for the podium.” As for his new teammate, Capirossi said: “I know Alvaro (Bautista) and he’s a great young kid and very quick and I think he can do well in MotoGP. I’m sorry for Chris (Vermeulen his current teammate) as I get along with him very well and he’s a very good rider. But Alvaro is young and hopefully I can help him and mentor him next season so we both can get the most out of the Suzuki and get the results we are working so hard for. I’m very much looking forward to staying here at Suzuki!”
And speaking of Suzuki, it was very cool to see 1993 World Champion Kevin Schwantz take out his No. 34 championship-winning Suzuki RGV500 two-stroke for a couple laps before the race. Schwantz has been practicing a bit to get used to the machine and commented after that it was “surprising how good the brakes are and how well it accelerates. It’s not something I was used to, to be honest. But it was great to get out here in front of these Indy fans and it’s an honor to ride this bike again, it brings back a lot of memories.”
That’s wraps it up from us at the thankfully sunny, second-annual Indianapolis Grand Prix. But be sure to stay tuned as there’s sure to be some good Silly Season news soon…