MotoGP 2013 – Round Ten – Indianapolis
— Marquez in the lead as the second half of the 2013 season gets underway
There has been no shortage of MotoGP™ spectacle since the first half of the season ended at Laguna Seca, with the excitement coming in the form of off-track announcements. It is now time for Part 2 of this thrilling contest to resume on the circuit itself, beginning with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Scouring the world motorsport scene, one will struggle to find many locations steeped in as much history as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. MotoGP™ has been visiting the iconic venue since 2008 and this year it once again plays host to the first Grand Prix on the later side of the traditional mid-season break. Nine races down, nine to go, a rookie heading the standings and a huge 225 points still left on offer.
Bearing in mind the sheer amount of surprises and U-turns the championship battle has already witnessed between the Qatar and United States events, just imagine what could lie in store between this weekend and the Valencia finale on 10th November. It promises to be a mind-boggling mix of raw speed, staying fit and the all-important psychological battle. Can Marc Marquez handle the pressure of Repsol Honda Team partner Dani Pedrosa and reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, both now in better shape following their bruising few weeks on the run-up to the summer interval?
Valentino Rossi is not out of the question, either. The nine-time title winner may have struggled following his rostrum finish of Qatar, but was to make up ground in testing and has now ridden his Yamaha Factory Racing machine to top three results in as many races. 37 points cover the top five; when considering that figure is only 16% of what is still available, the intimacy of this battle is very much put into context.
Away from the race track, Crutchlow’s signing of a two-year contract with Ducati Team has been met with mixed reactions from fans across the social networking world. Whatever your feeling, the fact is that the Englishman will be replacing 2006 champion Nicky Hayden as he reunites with former teammate Andrea Dovizioso, while Bradley Smith will be joined at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 by Pol Espargaro. At the same time, Espargaro’s Moto2™ title rival Scott Redding has also confirmed that he will be joining the premier class in 2014, although he is yet to name his team.
Indy will also be time to welcome back a couple of familiar faces. After the immense disappointment of Laguna Seca, when a crash early in the weekend ruled his bike out of action, wildcard rider Blake Young will be back raring to go with Attack Performance Racing. However the wait has been far longer for Ben Spies, who – with a hopefully clean bill of health – is finally making his comeback with Ignite Pramac Racing, having missed every race so far this season bar the opening couple.
We have already been surprised beyond belief in 2013 and, should the recent half-decade’s worth of history at ‘The Brickyard’ be anything to go by – with four different MotoGP™ winners across five seasons – one can expect more drama…
World Championship Standings MotoGP™
1- Marc Marquez SPA Honda 163
2- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 147
3- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 137
4- Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha 117
5- Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha 116
Since the last race, title contenders Scott Redding and Pol Espargaro have both confirmed they will be stepping up to the premier class in 2014. One huge question remains: which one will be heading to MotoGP™ as Moto2™ World Champion?
Although the following rounds may have suggested otherwise, it was the season-opener in Qatar which gave us all of the necessary clues, with Espargaro and Redding going head-to-head at floodlit Losail before the Spaniard came out on top. Four months and eight races later, it is the Englishman (Marc VDS Racing Team) who carries a 23-point lead over his rival (Tuenti HP 40) as things begin to intensify…
When it comes to pole positions, Espargaro holds the edge with three to Redding’s two. In terms of race victories, ditto. The Catalan pilot also holds the advantage for fastest race laps, with a couple to his name as opposed to Redding’s sole effort. So why it is Redding who holds the advantage, points-wise? It is thanks chiefly to his impressive consistency, with five podium finishes from eight races and an average finishing position of third as opposed to Espargaro’s eighth, demonstrating just how costly it has been to completely miss out on points in two of the 2013 races to date.
Off the black stuff, Espargaro was first to be publically paired up with a MotoGP™ outfit for next season, taking the much sought-after Monster Yamaha Tech 3 seat alongside Bradley Smith as Cal Crutchlow heads to Ducati Team. Redding’s own confirmation of a premier class ride also came, but it remains to be seen as to exactly whose machinery he will be riding. Nevertheless, the announcements do confirm that the duo will again share the circuit in 2014, most likely as champion and runner-up of the previous season’s intermediate class. Bragging rights spring to mind…
Elsewhere, things are hotting up further down the riders’ table, with only seven points between third and fifth positions currently occupied by Tito Rabat (Tuenti HP 40), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team), all of whom have suffered more than their fair share of bad luck so far this campaign. Slightly further down are 2013 race winners in the form of Aspar Team Moto2 teammates Nico Terol and Jordi Torres, each locked on 85 points for an effective joint seventh position in the championship standings.
Quite how any of these battles will look by the start of September is another matter, with three races – Indianapolis, Brno and Silverstone – packed into as many weeks to ensure a bursting agenda which could make or break a championship. Joining in the first leg of this triple-header will be American wildcard rider James Rispoli with GP Tech, whereas Thailand’s Thitipong Worokorn has been drafted into Honda Gresini Moto2 under the watchful eye of Ratthapark Wilairot – now coaching his fellow countryman after making the personal decision to retire from Grand Prix racing.
World Championship Standings Moto2™
1- Scott Redding GBR Kalex 143
2- Pol Espargaro SPA Kalex 120
3- Tito Rabat SPA Kalex 88
4- Dominique Aegerter SWI Suter 83
5- Mika Kallio FIN Kalex 81
30 points separate the top trio of riders in Moto3™ as the action resumes at Indianapolis this weekend. Maverick Viñales and Alex Rins may be second and third in the championship, but it is leader Luis Salom who is looking to enjoy another memorable Sunday as he returns to the scene of his first ever win.
The smallest class in the World Championship also features the smallest margin between its top pair of riders as the five-week summer break finally draws to a close. Although Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez travelled to Laguna Seca to see brother Marc emphatically race to another MotoGP™ victory, the majority of the Moto3™ field watched the event on television following their previous race at the Sachsenring a week earlier. After a long wait, all are more than eager to get back out on-track.
Indy marks mixed fortunes for Luis Salom. In 2011 had was reduced to the role of spectator because of a hand injury sustained in a crash at the previous round. However, he more than made up for it last year, as the Majorcan dramatically claimed his first ever World Championship race victory courtesy of a stunning double overtaking manoeuvre – having not crossed the finish line in the lead on any other lap of an eventful race. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider aims for a similar result, whereas closest opponent Viñales (Team Calvo) at least hopes to see the finish this time…
Third overall at present, Texas and Sachsenring victor Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) is capable of improving his position in the history stakes. Should he claim his third win of the campaign this weekend, the Barcelona rider will become the fifth-youngest winner in the history of the Moto3™ class (formerly the 125 tier) to win races back-to-back; after Viñales, Marco Melandri, Marc Marquez and Loris Capirossi.
Further down the field, France’s Jules Danilo is back in action as he covers for the injured Danny Webb at Ambrogio Racing; the Briton hopes to be back for Brno next weekend, as the rest of the field continues preparations for its first of two critical triple-headers in the second half of the season.
World Championship Standings Moto3™
1- Luis Salom SPA KTM 172
2- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM 158
3- Alex Rins SPA KTM 142
4- Jonas Folger GER Kalex KTM 81
5- Alex Marquez SPA KTM 70
Previously……MotoGP 2013 – Round Nine – Laguna Seca
— Marquez takes impressive win on Laguna Seca debut
Marc Marquez has won Sunday’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, becoming the youngest ever back-to-back race winner in MotoGP™. The Repsol Honda Team rider extended his championship lead while LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl celebrated a first premier-class podium finish from pole position. Valentino Rossi held off Alvaro Bautista for the final rostrum spot.
On Saturday, Bradl had stormed to a maiden pole position while Marquez suffered a crash in qualifying. On Sunday, the Spaniard patiently followed the German before pulling off a clean manoeuvre at the end of the 19th lap. Five riders failed to make the distance at the notoriously difficult anti-clockwise circuit, the shortest on the calendar.
Marquez’s third victory of the year equals the sum of reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Repsol Honda rider sank as low as fourth after a poor start, but stayed ahead of Bautista in the early stages and crucially pulled off a confident pass on Rossi at the world-famous Corkscrew corner. He soon homed in on Bradl, overtaking the German and winning by 2.2 seconds. In doing so, Marquez wins for the second time within the space of a week and steals former double champion Freddie Spencer’s record of being the youngest MotoGP™ rider to triumph in consecutive Grand Prix. Furthermore, he makes history by becoming the first rookie rider to win at Laguna Seca.
Bradl’s ride to second was one of calm and composure. A clean getaway allowed the LCR Honda MotoGP rider to head the field from his first ever pole in the top class. The 2011 Moto2™ World Champion was assisted by the fact that those behind him were battling early in the race, but by the 17th tour had the recovering Marquez only two tenths of a second behind. Once the overtake had occurred two laps later, Bradl comfortably managed a two-second gap back to Rossi to clinch his maiden premier class podium, improving on his previous best of fourth – achieved on three occasions.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Rossi has now taken the chequered flag inside the top three for as many races in a row. The Italian, who had famously overtaken Casey Stoner at the Corkscrew five years ago, was this time passed in the same place by Marquez before holding off a significant attack from Bautista over the closing laps; the Spaniard briefly edged ahead before the final corner, but was kept behind. Another third place for Rossi sees him jump ahead of Cal Crutchlow for fourth in the standings.
Laguna Seca had always promised to be a weekend of damage limitation for both Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). Both men continue to suffer with left collarbone injuries as they finished fifth and sixth, with Pedrosa having moved ahead of his rival in an overtake at the Andretti Hairpin. The duo both finished in front of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow, who on Saturday had been left confused by a crash before taking part in Q2 with his second bike.
The top ten was completed by Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso – who during the race made side-to-side contact on the start/finish straight – and Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera, who became the first rider other than Aleix Espargaro to lead the CRT runners in 2013. Espargaro crashed at the last corner, while Power Electronics Aspar teammate Randy de Puniet retired with technical problems. Tech 3’s Bradley Smith also stopped with mechanical gremlins, while the first two retirements were PBM’s Michael Laverty and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti. In 11th place, Ignite Pramac Racing’s Alex de Angelis scored while covering for the injured Ben Spies, while Colin Edwards finished 12th for Forward Racing. The top 15 was completed by Danilo Petrucci (Came IodaRacing Project), Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) and Yonny Hernandez (PBM).
With the first half of the season now complete, MotoGP™ heads into its summer break before returning at Indianapolis in mid-August. Marquez carries a 16-point advantage over teammate Pedrosa and has finished on the podium in eight of his first nine races since joined the premier class as reigning Moto2™ World Champion.
— MotoGP™ Race Classification
1 Marc Marquez 44’00.695 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Stefan Bradl +2.298 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
3 Valentino Rossi +4.498 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
4 Alvaro Bautista +4.557 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
5 Dani Pedrosa +9.257 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
6 Jorge Lorenzo +12.970 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
7 Cal Crutchlow +15.304 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8 Nicky Hayden +33.963 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Andrea Dovizioso +34.129 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Hector Barbera +1’02.369 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
11 Alex De Angelis +1’02.604 RSM DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
12 Colin Edwards +1’03.593 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
13 Danilo Petrucci +1’20.450 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
14 Karel Abraham +1 lap CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
15 Yonny Hernandez +1 lap COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
16 Hiroshi Aoyama +1 lap JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
17 Bryan Staring +1 lap AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
18 Lukas Pesek +1 lap CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
19 Bradley Smith DNF GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
20 Aleix Espargaro DNF SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
21 Randy De Puniet DNF FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
22 Claudio Corti DNF ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
23 Michael Laverty DNF GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
— Championship standings
1 Marc Marquez 163 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Dani Pedrosa 147 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Jorge Lorenzo 137 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
4 Valentino Rossi 117 pts ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Cal Crutchlow 116 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Stefan Bradl 84 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
7 Andrea Dovizioso 81 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Alvaro Bautista 71 pts SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
9 Nicky Hayden 65 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Aleix Espargaro 52 pts SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
11 Bradley Smith 51 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
12 Michele Pirro 36 pts ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
13 Andrea Iannone 24 pts ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
14 Hector Barbera 24 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
15 Randy De Puniet 19 pts FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
16 Danilo Petrucci 18 pts ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
17 Colin Edwards 17 pts USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Ben Spies 9 pts USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
19 Yonny Hernandez 7 pts COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
20 Alex De Angelis 5 pts RSM DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
21 Claudio Corti 5 pts ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
22 Karel Abraham 5 pts CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
23 Michael Laverty 3 pts GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
24 Bryan Staring 2 pts AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
25 Javier Del Amor 1 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
26 Hiroshi Aoyama 1 pts JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
27 Ivan Silva 0 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
28 Lukas Pesek 0 pts CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
29 Blake Young 0 pts USA APR CRT Attack Performance
— HRC Report
Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez continued his record-breaking maiden MotoGP season with a second successive race win in today’s US GP. It is the 20-year-old’s third win in nine races, and extends his points lead in the World Championship. He now leads team-mate Dani Pedrosa by 16 points.
For Honda, it was the third win in succession at the charismatic Californian circuit, and the sixth in nine visits in the current series of the race.
Honda secured second place as well, with a fine first podium finish for Stefan Bradl, Marquez’s old Moto2 rival and fellow former Moto2 champion. The German LCR Honda RC213V rider had started from his first pole position, and led to beyond the halfway point of the 32-lap race.
Third Honda rider Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) missed making it an all-Honda rostrum by less than a tenth of a second, hounding former Laguna winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) over the finish line.
It was a heroic afternoon for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V). Riding with a partial collarbone fracture, he finished a strong fifth, claiming valuable points to preserve his second place in the championship at the mid-point of the season. The plucky ride stretched his lead over third-placed Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) to ten points.
The race, round the shortest circuit of the year, had both tension and drama for 46,000 spectators, enjoying perfect Californian sunshine at the track in the hills inland from fashionable Monterey.
Bradl made a perfect start to lead the first 18 laps. In the early stages he secured a margin of almost two seconds, but after four laps Marquez was through to second, and gradually closed up.
The German was eventually obliged to give best after his rival demonstrated better edge-grip in the sinuous Californian circuit’s many turns, but continued lapping at close to record pace to claim his first rostrum, and a career-best second place.
Marquez showed little sign that he was still learning the intricacies of the complex and physically gruelling short circuit. He seized second from Rossi on the fourth lap with a forceful passing move at the famous Corkscrew corner, replicating one of the Italian champion’s own famous attacks. Thereafter he concentrated on catching and following Bradl, before seizing his moment for a clean overtake and the chance to open a gap still better than 2.2 seconds as he coasted across the line.
Bautista was disappointed that his sustained efforts to pass Rossi for his own first rostrum this year were thwarted, but pleased with his best result so far, demonstrating how the exclusive Showa suspension test rider is regaining strength after two first-lap crashes earlier this season.
Pedrosa demonstrated grit and skill in equal measure in a weekend of endurance. Still suffering a partial fracture to his left collarbone sustained in a crash that ruled him out of last weekend’s German GP, the Spaniard sat out the morning practice sessions and started from the third row of the grid. Through the race however he gained speed, and eventually outpaced third placed title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), who was riding with his own collarbone injury.
Grand prix rookie Bryan Staring (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) finished 17th, his hopes of adding to his points score thwarted in the later laps. Series first-timer Staring rides in the CRT category, his machine powered by a race-tuned CBR1000RR motor.
The US GP marks the end of the first half of the 2013 season, followed by the summer break of three weekends. Racing resumes in the United States on August 16-18 at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indianapolis GP, third round of the year in the USA. This is followed by a rapid return to Europe with races in the Czech Republic and Great Britain over the following two weekends.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st
“I am very happy, because we weren’t expecting this result from our first visit to Laguna Seca. I didn’t think I would adapt so easily to such a tricky circuit, but from the first day of practice I felt very comfortable and quickly found the best lines. Today I was a little cautious at the start, because with a full tank it is easy to make a mistake, but when the tyres got up to temperature I was able to maintain the pace from practice. I overtook Valentino in a similar spot to where he passed Casey in 2008, although the passes were a little different because his was more spectacular! Later I was able to pass Stefan after studying him for a number of laps, and then I tried to build a gap in order to win the race by a comfortable margin.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 2nd
“It’s a great result for us. We did a good job all across the weekend. Of course expectations were high after I had pole yesterday, but I knew I had good speed and that I could be fast from the beginning. I tried to push from the start and I think I did that very well. I struggled a little bit. I thought the race speed would be a little quicker but, with the full tank of fuel, I had a few problems with the front. When he caught me I saw that he had some more edge grip on the tyre and that he was able to open up a gap. I just tried to manage the gap to Valentino (Rossi), which was not easy, and it was a long and tough race.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team FUN&GO Honda Gresini: 4th
“I was so close to the podium! I would really like to have been up there but we have to be happy with this result and especially for the way we achieved it. Obviously you can’t get much closer than 0.059 seconds but the most important thing about today was that we showed we have taken a massive step forward and hopefully we can continue in the same way at the next race. This result gives us confidence after a less than positive period and it’s a nice boost for the rest of the season. I am also happy for the team, who have been working so hard and really deserved to celebrate a result like this today.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th, 1’21.728
“First of all, I want to thank everyone who has supported me over these past few days. This was a race in which it was very important to take points. I was seriously considering sitting out this race, because the conditions were very difficult, so I am very happy to have taken fifth. We were close to the podium, but on the final laps I found things very hard. I think that I held up well in the race, although I was in a lot of pain the entire weekend. At least I was able to grip the handlebars and control the bike. A lot of times moving the bike makes it tough for you and it is difficult to ride a long race. In the end, the 11 points are very important for the championship.”
Bryan Staring, Team FUN&GO Honda Gresini: 17th
“I am happy because today went better than recent races. I set a fast pace in the first half of the race and I was fighting for a points position but after not being able to train recently because of my foot injury I started to really struggle from a physical perspective later in the race. We have taken steps forward here though and that will help us in the coming races.”
— Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi delivered his third consecutive podium of the 2013 MotoGP season today with third place in the US Grand Prix. The Italian made a strong start from fourth on the grid to take second into turn one, tucking in behind race leader Stefan Bradl. The nine-time world champion fought hard to maintain his pace but was forced to concede second to Marc Marquez on lap four following a dramatic overtake into the Corkscrew turn. With fourth place rider Alvaro Bautista closing Rossi then worked hard to hold off the Spaniard to retain his third place and podium finish.
Jorge Lorenzo successfully completed his weekend of damage limitation with an exhausting ride to sixth place. Still physically compromised following his two surgeries to his collarbone the Laguna race proved to be a big challenge for the world champion. Starting from sixth on the grid he initially made up two places to fourth, diving inside Dani Pedrosa on turn one for position. The race became a war of attrition for Lorenzo, battling to stay focused for the 32lap stint, eventually bringing it home in sixth place after a testing ride.
The podium finish leaves Rossi on 117 points in the standings in fourth position, 20points behind teammate Lorenzo. Lorenzo holds on to third place, now on 137 points, ten behind Pedrosa in second. The teams now take an extended break before returning to the USA for Indianapolis Grand Prix on Sunday 18th August.
Valentino Rossi 3rd – “At this track with the Yamaha we suffer a little more than the Hondas, but we worked very well in the practice, we tried everything and I could keep a good pace in the race until the end, not far from Bradl. I fought with Bautista but always stayed in front so I could take the third podium in a row. I am quite competitive and I am happy, it is a good result. Now we take some rest, we go on holiday and we try to take some rest for the second half of the season. Regarding the pass, I tried to resist but today wasn’t the right day, Marc was too strong for me. Before the end of the season we will have another battle where I will be faster and I will give back the overtake for sure!”
Jorge Lorenzo 6th – “This was a difficult race because I am not in shape, one month or more without training and two general anaesthetics. I felt quite dizzy from the middle of the race to the end so my performance was getting worse. The bike was also not working the same as in warm up. Maybe with more temperature the tyres were working differently and I couldn’t stop the same in the braking zones so I didn’t have the same feeling and I was half a second slower. The important thing is that we saved a very dangerous situation because if I crashed again I might have finished my championship. We have one month to rest and train now to get back in shape which will be important for Indianapolis. I hope to be in almost perfect condition there and have the same performance as before the crash.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager – “A very crazy race, to do this with so few days recovery after twice breaking your collarbone is very inhuman. This is one of the most physical race tracks in the world. He clearly struggled in the race but he found a rhythm to not throw away too much energy in the beginning and try to keep a decent pace. It was a little bit up and a little bit down at times. Of course the result is great, we lose some points to Marc and Dani but this race was about damage control. We need to come back very strong for the last nine races.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Overall a good weekend. We put a lot of effort in to find a best set up. Laguna is not the most suitable circuit for Yamaha. To get a podium with Vale is an important step for us. We have improved the bike which is very good for the coming races. Jorge I think proved again that he is really tough and determined. He could manage to finish sixth even with a lot of pain after his surgeries. I think we can leave here satisfied that we have done the best job possible in the circumstances.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium. Rear: Extra-soft (Symmetric), Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 20-19°C; Track 50-50°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez continued his history-making rookie season by becoming the youngest ever rider to score back-to-back premier-class wins at today’s United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Starting second on the grid, Marquez had to fight his way past the two riders he ended up sharing the podium with – LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi – to take the race lead on lap nineteen and power away to win the race by 2.298 seconds. Bradl took second place for this first ever MotoGP™ podium, while Rossi’s third place was his third successive podium. Avintia Blusens rider Hector Barbera scored his best result of the season, his tenth place making him the highest-placed CRT rider this weekend.
The morning fog dissipated quicker than usual today at Laguna Seca and the long periods of sunshine resulted in the highest track temperatures seen this weekend with a peak of 50°C. Despite the high temperatures the softer rear slick was the popular choice, with all but three riders selecting the softest rear slick available to them. The high temperatures also placed less emphasis on the need for warm-up performance, so all riders selected the harder front slick option for the race.
At the halfway point of the season Marquez’s lead in the championship standings over teammate Dani Pedrosa is sixteen points, while Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo remains in third place and a further ten points back.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “Once again today we witnessed history being made as Marc became the youngest ever rider to score back-to-back wins in MotoGP so congratulations to him and Repsol Honda on a job well done. I would also like to congratulate Stefan on his first ever MotoGP podium and seeing two young riders battling for victory is a great sign for the future of this championship. Dani and Jorge should also be commended for such strong performances today while riding with injury. The first half of the season has certainly had many memorable moments and although everyone in the paddock now gets to enjoy a well-deserved summer break, we are all looking forward to the next round at Indianapolis in a few weeks’ time with a great sense of anticipation.”
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “Track temperatures today were at their highest level of the whole race weekend today and this did have an effect on which front tyre the riders chose. Earlier in the day it seemed some riders might look at using the softer front slick, but once track temperatures climbed over fifty degrees centigrade, warm-up performance wasn’t such a big priority so all riders decided to use the harder front slick option. Rear tyre choice among the works riders was identical with all preferring the softer rear slick, while all but three CRT riders also preferred the softer option. Even with the high track temperatures tyre performance was consistent with grip levels degrading predictably over race distance, so I am happy with how our tyres worked today.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda – Race Winner – “This race was what I expected although coming here for the first time I thought I might struggle more but from FP1 I felt good, although it takes time to learn where the bumps are on the track. Today’s race was good, but at the beginning I was a bit scared as with all the bumps it was possible to lose the front. I managed to get past Valentino and then stayed behind Stefan for some laps before passing him too and I’m very happy because at a new circuit I got twenty five points and it’s good to go into the summer break with this performance.”