Press release previews from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis GP:
2012 Laguna Seca MotoGP Post-Race Round Up: Contrasting Styles, Racing Softs, And A Decision Is Nigh
Laguna Seca has a habit of throwing the championship a curve ball. The epic race between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi in 2008 was a prime example, a turning point in the championship when Rossi halted what looked like the inexorable rise of Casey Stoner. Last year, too, Laguna proved to be key moment in the championship, when Stoner stopped Jorge Lorenzo's resurgence with one of the bravest passes in racing for a long time, through the ultra-fast Turn 1. With Laguna Seca the last race going into the summer break, winning or losing at the US GP can have a dramatic effect on the momentum of the championship.
Whether the same will be said of Laguna Seca in 2012 will only be clear at the end of the season. But it has all the signs of being a significant moment, for more than just the five points Casey Stoner clawed back from Jorge Lorenzo. The race, if not thrilling, was at least tense: there was little between the two men for most of the race, Stoner shadowing Lorenzo closely, snapping at his heels but not quite able to attempt a pass. The turning point came on lap 18. As the leading pair plunged down the Corkscrew, Lorenzo's sliding rear tire almost threw him out of the saddle. "I closed my eyes during the highside," the Yamaha man said afterwards, "and I was happy to still be in the seat when I opened them again."
Press releases issued by the MotoGP teams after the race at Laguna Seca on Sunday:
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Saturday's qualifying at Laguna Seca:
Press releases from Bridgestone and the MotoGP teams after the first day of practice at Laguna Seca:
Press releases issued ahead of this weekend's Laguna Seca round of MotoGP. Includes the Yamaha MotoGP press release, which gives no hint of Ben Spies' announcement he will be leaving the factory at the end of the year, as well as details of updates to be used by both Honda and Ducati:
Ben Spies will be leaving Yamaha at the end of this season. The American made the shock announcement via email to the US racing website Superbikeplanet.com earlier on Tuesday, stating that he would be leaving Yamaha "for a litany of reasons", though unwilling to list them until a more "appropriate" moment. Spies made no announcement on where he would be racing, saying only that he was discussing his situation with his sponsors.
Spies' announcement has shocked the MotoGP paddock, taking even seasoned US journalists who know the Texan well by surprise. Spies was believed to still be in the frame for the second factory Yamaha seat in MotoGP, despite suffering through a miserable second year in the factory team. A series of problems - a broken subframe at Qatar, setup problems at Jerez, as well as a string of costly errors on Spies' own part - have seen the Texan score poorly all season, despite often showing well during qualifying. It was believed that Yamaha was waiting for a good result from Spies before making a decision on his future, but such a decision would have had to be made either at Laguna Seca or Indianapolis, the next two MotoGP rounds.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the test at Mugello:
Great tracks produce great racing, even in the MotoGP class, where the combination of fuel limits, extremely advanced electronics and stiff Bridgestone tires mean that the way to win races is by being absolutely inch-perfect on every lap. And Mugello is a great track, there is no doubt of that, despite the fact that the usual Mugello atmosphere had been muted by a combination of a dismal Italian economy and sky-high ticket prices at the circuit, the only way for the circuit to recoup some of the sanctioning fee it must pay Dorna to run the race. The hillsides were very sparsely populated, perhaps in part a result of the total Spanish domination of qualifying, putting three Spaniards on the front row in MotoGP, and another two on the Moto3 and Moto2 poles as well.
The Italian fans that stayed away missed not only some great races, but also some sterling performances from local Italian riders. There were Italians on the podium in all three classes, even one Italian winner, Andrea Iannone winning the Moto2 race. The people sitting at home who had intended to fill those empty grandstands may well have regretted not going.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams, Bridgestone and other circuits after today's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello:
Mugello is a special place, and a special race. One of the things that makes it so special is the atmosphere, the massed crowds that arrive on Thursday and Friday, and party noisily until Sunday night, filling the Tuscan skies with the sound of fireworks, engines being held against their limiters, popping exhausts, and very, very loud Italian pop music (or as was the case on Saturday night as we left the track, Jingle Bells composed entirely of fart noises).
They aren't here. The hillsides are not exactly empty, but the sparse scattering of tents that dot them are a very pale imitation of the wall of color that used to cover the grass at Mugello. The roads are relatively quiet, bikes fairly few and far between, and travelling to and from the circuit is not the nightmare that it has been in previous years.
So why haven't the crowds come? There are lots of reasons. First and foremost the state of the Italian economy, of course. As in Spain, unemployment in Italy is rising, and those who still have a job are more careful about spending money. High ticket prices don't help, of course, a general trend at racetracks around the world. Holding the race in mid-July, when the locals would rather be heading to the beach, rather than in early June was another reason. And then of course there is Valentino Rossi. The Italian legend qualified in 10th on Saturday, and realistically, his chances of battling for the podium are virtually non-existent. And it's not just Rossi, competitive Italian riders provide thin pickings for the locals to support. There is certainly a chance of seeing an Italian victory on Sunday, but the odds are stacked against it.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying on Saturday at Mugello: