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Indianapolis MotoGP Insider 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Casey Stoner passed Dani Pedrosa early in the MotoGP race and then immediately opened up a gap.
The beautiful Red Bull girls pose for a picture on the grid at Indy.
Valentino Rossi prepares to go out on track at Indy.
Andrea Dovizioso prepares for the start of the 28-lap MotoGP race at Indy.
Ben Spies aboard his factory Yamaha M1.
(Top) Casey Stoner leaves Indianapolis with a healthy 49 point lead in the Championship. (Bottom) Ben Spies put in an impressive ride at Indy and may have achieved a better result if he was out in front early on.
With six races remaining this season it’s safe to say this year’s MotoGP World Championship is Casey Stoner’s to lose. The Repsol Honda rider is on fire as of late, having won three races in a row and seven this season. Even more impressive is how badly he waxed the field in Sunday’s MotoGP race at The Brickyard. Although his margin of victory was only 4.8 seconds, Stoner was riding at a level that no one could match. After struggling with some set-up problems earlier in the year it appears that his team has got the Honda RC212V dialed-in well for a variety of different tracks.

“We've just got to make sure that we keep our heads down and try to win races,” said Stoner, who currently has a 44 point lead over reigning champ, Jorge Lorenzo. “That's what I enjoy the most, and that's what we're here to do every weekend. These last two races have been difficult until now. I was struggling a lot with the grip and didn't feel comfortable, but I suppose in comparison with everyone, we felt pretty good.”
 
As Stoner alluded to, he was one of the loudest critics of The Brickyard’s recently re-surfaced track. Like the rest of the riders, he was pleased with how much smoother it was but the fresh asphalt lacked grip having not had a whole lot of motorsports activities on it since the re-pave.
 
“Obviously without the bumps from previous years the track is performing a lot better,” continued the ’07 World Champ. “But the lack of consistency in the grip levels are causing issues. Everyone is losing the front and it doesn't give you a lot of confidence. When you hit these patches the bike just seems to drop away from you.”
 
Even though he only qualified fourth, Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa put in a solid effort at Indy proving how important it is to get out in front early on in a race. After nailing the holeshot from the second row, Pedrosa led the first few laps before eventually relenting the position to his teammate Stoner.
 
“To finish second is unbelievable for me here,” commented Pedrosa. “We did a good job from yesterday to today. We did a good rhythm. I think the bike was working quite well. After the disappointment of Brno, second place is quite good. I'm happy. Of course, I'm looking forward to winning again a race. But second place is fine."
 
The only other rider that stood a chance at running with Stoner during Sunday’s 28-lap race was Ben Spies. While the factory Yamaha rider wasn’t able to match Stoner’s pace during qualifying, in the race he strung together a series of fast laps that were comparable to the Aussie’s while he sliced through the field in an attempt to get to the front.
 
“That's always the story,” said third place finisher, Spies. “It could have been different if something else happened. The race is what it is. My actual start wasn't too bad. Just a couple of people got into Turn 1 too hot and I got bottled in. I think Dovi [Andrea Dovizioso] came across in front of me in Turn 4 and I was just glad to stay on the bike. I never even saw him. After that happened we just had to pluck away and not get ahead of ourselves. We rode well but just needed to be up there in the first four turns. I rode as fast as I could.”
 
If Lorenzo hopes to secure another world title he’s going to have to start winning races and hope for some bad luck for Stoner. Having finished off the podium this weekend put a serious dent in his championship hopes. Like many of the riders Lorenzo wore out his front tire early in the race which made it impossible to ride at the maximum.
 
“I thought I could reduce my gap with Casey at Indy but since the first practice I have had many problems with the asphalt and the front tire,” remarked Lorenzo. “I've tried everything with my team to fix it, but we couldn't. After four or five laps the front tire was destroyed. I saw the other three front riders and their tires were perfect. I don't know if it was because of the track and I'm not the only one complaining. Now the Championship is much more complicated, but hope is the last thing you can lose.”
 
The Rizla Suzuki team saw a glimmer of hope at Indy with Alvaro Bautista finishing in sixth position—his best finish on a dry race track. Bautista put in a spirited ride and slowly made his way through the field dicing with many riders including Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards and Marco Simoncelli on the satellite Honda.
 
“I am happy with today's position because this weekend we didn't have the same rhythm as we have done in the last couple of races,” noted Bautista. “I had a good qualifying session, but I was not quite on par with the top guys and that meant I couldn't really stay with them and fight in the race. I made a decent start and overtook a couple of riders, but I just couldn't keep up with the front group. We struggled a bit more at this track because we just couldn't get the bike to turn how we wanted it to and I think we were not quite at the same level as some of the others around here. I was consistent throughout the whole race and had a couple of good battles with other riders - especially with Edwards.”
 
Satellite Ducati rider Karl Abraham crashes out of the race at Indy.  All the riders campaigned that their front tires wore out prematurely.
Rizla Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista made an aggressive pass on Nicky Hayden in the MotoGP race.
Casey Stoner was dominant at Indy easily pulling off the win.
(Top) A common complaint at Indy was the lack of grip due to the recent re-pave. (Center) Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista put in a solid ride at Indy. Nicky Hayden however struggled with the front end of his Ducati.

Indianapolis is a race that the factory Ducati team hopes to forget. Both Hayden and Valentino Rossi had big problems with Rossi hitting the ground once during Saturday’s qualifying. Both riders competed on the newer ’12-spec prototype Desmosedici platform but continued to have difficulties with the front end. To compensate Hayden ran a softer compound front tire during the race which ultimately wore out forcing him to pit toward for a replacement before the end of the race. As usual, Hayden showed persistence finishing the race albeit in last place.
 
“It was a really tough day,” revealed Hayden. “We thought the soft front tire could be a good option for the race, but unfortunately it only worked for seven or eight laps. Then I began to steadily lose ground until it even began shaking on the straightaways, and I had to come in. Since you've got to finish to get points, I went back out, and it was actually worth getting two points. Sorry to all my U.S. fans and the Ducati fans here who came to support us, but we'll try again next week."
 
While Rossi netted a better result at Indy he still was well off the pace and based on his body language it was quite obvious that he’s having difficulty riding the Ducati. Said Rossi, “A number of things happened this weekend that contributed to making this a particularly difficult race: the crash yesterday in qualifying, which robbed some confidence and was part of the reason we had to start so far back on the grid, and today there was a problem with the gearbox. The bike stuck in neutral six or seven times, and the first two caused me to go straight and lose time. I found myself in last place, but I decided to do what I could to at least get some points. In this morning's warm-up, we had made a small change that let us improve the pace a little, but the race was really difficult. We know that we have to work hard. Ducati is doing that, and my team and I are as well, because we must try to not let up and to get the bike ready while we wait for technical updates."



2011 MotoGP Racing Photo Gallery
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2011 MotoGP Indianapolis Photos
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2011 Red Bull Indianapolis GP Photos
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MotoGP Championship Points
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Will Indianapolis Continue to Host GPs? 
Will the Red Bull Indianapolis GP return for 12  We sure hope so.
Over 160,000 fans came out to the races this weekend with in excess of 60,000 folks visiting The Brickyard on Sunday. Visually turn-out appeared to be much better than in past years and even with that many people it was still quite easy to get in/out/around the track. Kudos to the IMS folks for having the logistics so dialed-in.
 
In my opinion the Indianapolis round is the better of the two U.S. Grand Prixs. Not only is it easier to get around the track the location of it is smack dab in the middle of the city. The downtown area is literally only a 15 minute motorcycle ride away and there are tons of fancy yet fairly reasonably priced hotels, restaurants and bars that have the ability to keep you entertained well into the night.
 
One of my favorite things to do at night is to cruise around the street during the Motorcycle on Meridian event. Friday and Saturday night the city shuts down part of Meridian Street to motorcycle and foot traffic only. And you wouldn’t believe how many bikes/people come out. Normally, you’d think that an event like that would be total chaos and while there is a very high-level of police, they are actually very friendly and don’t try and harass folks for silly things.
 
No word on whether or not the Red Bull Indianapolis GP will be returning to Indianapolis next year, but if it were up to me it would as they have an utterly fantastic event. Let’s hope folks that haven’t yet experienced GP races at The Brickyard will have the opportunity to next year and beyond.

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Comments
GhostRider11   September 1, 2011 05:20 AM
After watching Hayden ride the Ducati these last few years, I think he understands what he needs the bike to do and even maybe how Ducati should 'fix' it... But Vale is there and everybody knows what that means, especially Hayden! Nicky's hope is that they do as Vale says and just fix the bike... they never listened to Stoner! Stoner, hands down, the only rider whose riding style overpowered the faults of the bike! Now being on the Repsol Honda team, Stoner's biggest concern is to set-up of the bike so that he doesn't ride the wheels off the thing! Stoner is finally getting the credit/respect he deserved years ago from the teams, manufacturers, riders (including Vale/Hayden), and some fans! Go Stoner... but keep an eye on Spies, he's going to be a serious threat very soon especially with the 1000cc bikes. Go Spies!
mi2tom   September 1, 2011 02:22 AM
motousa_adam... The duckati had problems since casey stoner, still casey is able to produce result much better than rossi. I'm sure you know that.
Huff955   August 31, 2011 12:11 PM
Read the article..Both Hayden and Rossi are shaking down next years parts, and apparently they are going in the wrong direction.

"Both riders competed on the newer ’12-spec prototype Desmosedici platform but continued to have difficulties"

Whats wrong with taking Casey's old Duc and putting the 12' engine in it? Apparently that was the only chassis that worked..
motousa_adam   August 31, 2011 12:07 PM
ducati has some serious problems in motogp right now--lets hope they figure out there stuff faster than the other brands...
mi2tom   August 31, 2011 09:31 AM
stefaandb... You must be blind or something or you didn't watch the race, randy de puniet is at the 8th, if hector barbera didn't crash out on the last lap there will be two customer's ducati in front of rossi's factory ducati.
stefaandb   August 31, 2011 03:44 AM
guambra2001: there were 5 ducati's that finished. Rossi was 10th and best ducati. the other 4 were last. I don't say that all of the fault is with the ducati but that sure tells a lot! rossi will get there, just give him some time.
guambra2001   August 31, 2011 12:02 AM
I'm tired of always hearing some sort of excuse from Mr. Rossi, I get it your a great rider, you have won several times.. blah, blah, blah. But to always blame your bike, your team, or even Ducati for you faults is less then stellar. I understand that it takes some time to get used to a new bike, and I don't expect podium finishes right away; but don't insult the hand that feeds you, just take responsibility for you crappy results. Look at your fellow teammate, Nicky "Sorry to all my U.S. fans and the Ducati fans here who came to support us, but we'll try again next week" you may learn a little modesty from him. Anyways rant over.