August 16, 2012 | By Paul Kelly
MotoGP Race Preview: Red Bull Indianapolis GP
A preview of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP World Championship event Aug. 17-19:
Race: Red Bull Indianapolis GP
Date: Friday, Aug. 17-Sunday, Aug. 19
Round: Eleventh of 18 races in 2012
Circuit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Distance: 28 laps on 16-turn, 2.621-mile circuit
2011 Winner: Casey Stoner, Honda
2012 Points Leader: Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha
U.S. Riders: Nicky Hayden, sixth (tie), 84 points; Ben Spies, 10th, 66; Colin Edwards, 17th, 11; Steve Rapp and Aaron Yates, wild cards.
TV: MotoGP: 2 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Aug. 19, SPEED. Moto2: 1 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Aug. 19, SPEED. Moto3: Noon (ET) Sunday, Aug. 19, SPEED.
Reigning World Champion Casey Stoner earned his fourth victory of 2012, winning the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday, July 29 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Stoner rode his Repsol Honda to a 3.249-second victory over championship leader Jorge Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha.
The victory came after a calculated risk paid off for Stoner. He chose a softer-compound rear tire that provided more grip but less durability, while his rivals Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa chose a harder, more durable rear tire. Stoner passed Lorenzo on Lap 22 of the 32-lap race and managed his tire over the closing laps to pull away for victory.
Pedrosa finished third on a Repsol Honda. He is second in the World Championship, 23 points behind Lorenzo.
Jorge Lorenzo: 2010 World Champion Lorenzo is marching toward a second MotoGP title with punishing consistency. He has finished in the top two in nine of 10 starts this season on his Yamaha Factory Racing machine, with five victories. He was crashed out of TT Assen by Alvaro Bautista in the first turn the first lap, the only race Lorenzo hasn’t finished this season.
Andrea Dovizioso: Italian Dovizioso has finished on the podium in three of the last four races on the Tech 3 Yamaha to stay in fourth place, the highest-ranking rider on a satellite (non-factory) bike. Dovizioso also is rumored to be in line for a two-year contract with the Ducati factory team starting next season, replacing Valentino Rossi, who is returning to Yamaha.
Alvaro Bautista: San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Bautista hasn’t been the same since finishing a career-best fourth in the British Grand Prix in June. At the next race, TT Assen, he caused a furor by crashing out 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo on the first lap. Bautista has finished seventh, 10th and eighth in three races since that incident.
Nico Terol: Spaniard Terol has won the 125cc race three times at this event, in 2008, 2010 and 2011. He could become just the eighth competitor – and first motorcycle racer – to win at least four races at the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway since it opened in 1909 if he is victorious Sunday. But earning his fourth victory at Indy won’t be easy. Terol is tied for 21st in the standings in his first Moto2 season, with a best finish of 13th on his Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter-Honda.
NEWS and NUMBERS
American Motorcyclist Association veterans Steve Rapp and Aaron Yates will ride as MotoGP wild cards on production-based Claiming Rule Teams machines at this event. Rapp will ride a bike built and fielded by California team Attack Performance, while Yates will ride a machine built and fielded by Michigan-based GPTech … There will be five Americans among the 23 riders on the MotoGP grid at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, both all-time highs for this event … An American rider has finished on the MotoGP podium in each of its first four years. Nicky Hayden finished second in 2008 and third in 2009, while Ben Spies was second in 2010 and third in 2011 … There has been a different MotoGP winner every year of this event since its debut in 2008 – Valentino Rossi (2008), Jorge Lorenzo (2009), Dani Pedrosa (2010) and Casey Stoner (2011) … Jorge Lorenzo has finished on the MotoGP podium three times at this event, more than any other rider … Yamaha announced Aug. 10 that seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has signed a two-year deal to return to the team starting next season. Rossi won four World Championships between 2004-10 with Yamaha before leaving for Ducati, where he has been winless the last two seasons … Seven riders active this season in MotoGP have started in all four prior Red Bull Indianapolis GP races: Jorge Lorenzo, Randy de Puniet, Andrea Dovizioso, Colin Edwards, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden.
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