The 11th of 18 Moto GP races for 2010 was
something of a snoozer on track, although the back-stage stuff certainly spiced
In the race, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa took an easy win after an
uncharacteristically bad start. Second was Texan Ben Spies on one of the Tech3
Yamahas, his best result so far in Moto GP. Combined with his first pole
position and the fact that he led the first third of the race, he’s certainly
earned a full factory ride for 2011.
Which he’s got. That was one of the formal announcements
about next year made at Indy, that Spies will be replacing Rossi on the Yamaha
team. Almost certainly he’ll be paired with Jorge Lorenzo, although the
Spaniard hasn’t actually signed a contract yet. Lorenzo was third at Indy, not
happy with his riding and uncomfortable in the heat, which was 35o
in the air and 55o+ on track. Many riders said it was as bad as
racing in Malaysia or Qatar.
Ducati had a bad weekend after a promising start. Nicky
Hayden qualified on the front row ahead of his team "leader" Casey
Stoner, got a good start and was a strong third for the first few laps, then
drifted back to finish sixth. Turns out he hit a curbside drain hard enough
with his knee to rip his left kneeslider off, complete with the Velcro patch
that holds it to the leathers. With Indy being mostly left-hand turns, he was
The Kentucky native said, "It just about ripped me off
of the bike. At first, I felt a sharp pain, obviously … it doesn’t feel
great, but I don’t think I injured it. There are so many left-hand corners here
and from that point on I had to take it really steady, I couldn’t push anywhere
and finished up with a huge hole in my leathers."
Ducati announced that Hayden would be staying with the team another
two years, working with Valentino Rossi.
Stoner managed to crash out yet again; the Aussie is having
a terrible last season with Ducati, continuing to struggle with front-end
issues. Once more, he simply lost the front and that was that. It was a common
complaint; the heat made the track greasy and everyone said it was much bumpier
than last year. Even Valentino Rossi crashed three times in practice and
However, the existing problems with Moto GP — a lack of
entries and a lack of competitiveness up front — really raised their heads at
Indy. Only 13 riders of a mere 16 entries finished the race, and the top 10
were separated by 51 seconds, with only seventh and eighth positions, Marco
Simoncelli on a San Carlo Gresini Honda and Alvaro Bautista on one of the
Suzukis, actually scrapping.
Most commentators and many of the riders blame the
ever-increasing use of sophisticated electronic aids. Valentino Rossi is a
particularly vocal opponent, and basically ripped a second you-know-what in the
series organizers in an interview after the race. "This is a big problem
for MotoGP, because the races are very boring," said the Italian star.
"…for 2012, when they have to make new rules for the 1000, take out some
electronics, take out some anti-wheelie, take out some anti-spin. The people
want to see the bikes make wheelies, make slide. This is like the remote
control, you know?"
Moto GP Standings after 11 of 18 races
1. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain, Fiat Yamaha, 251 points; 2. Dani
Pedrosa, Spain, Repsol Honda, 183; 3. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy, Repsol Honda,
126; 4. Casey Stoner, Australia, Marlboro Ducati, 114; 5. Valentino Rossi,
Italy, Fiat Yamaha, 114;
6. Ben Spies, U.S.A., Tech3 Yamaha, 110; 7. Nicky Hayden,
U.S.A., Marlboro Ducati, 109; 8. Randy de Puniet, France, LCR Honda, 78; 9.
Marco Simoncelli, Italy, San Carlo Gresini Honda, 63; 10. Marco Melandri,
Italy, San Carlo Gresini Honda, 61.
Next race: San Marino Moto GP at Misano, Italy, September