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A Conversation With ... Jorge Lorenzo, Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies, Colin Edwards, Hiroshi Aoyama

MODERATOR: Warm welcome, everybody, the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. It's round 11 in the MotoGP World Championship; the third time we've been to Indianapolis in the premier press conference.

Obviously in the center, Jorge Lorenzo, the World Championship leader; 77 points he leads the championship this season. Seven wins and three second places. The Indy winner last year, and, of course, Jorge also won on the Fiat Yamaha at Laguna Seca this year. He comes here in very good shape.

To his right, no introduction needed, of course. Nicky Hayden, the former World Champion. Two podium finishes here on the Ducati at Indianapolis. Nicky riding with a damaged wrist, a nasty accident in Brno, but finished the race well.

To his left, Jorge's left, of course, Ben Spies riding the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. Ben, his first full season in the MotoGP World Championship. He's seventh in the World Championship. He's had a third at Silverstone, a front-row start at the Czech Republic and, of course, rode here a couple years ago for Suzuki, 2008 as a wild card entry.

To Nicky's right, a warm welcome to Colin Edwards. It will be his 130th Grand Prix appearance. That's amazing. You remember Colin coming up from World Superbikes. He's 10th in the World Championship and he was fifth at Indianapolis last year, again, of course, riding for the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha Team.

And a warm welcome back to Hiroshi Aoyama, the current 250cc champion, of course, riding the Interwetten Honda. He's been out of action for over two months with a back injury following a crash in the morning warmup at Silverstone.

Obviously we'll start the press conference with Jorge. We said all the things, Jorge, 77 points, wins at Laguna, Indianapolis. You come here in very, very good shape.

JORGE LORENZO: Yes, I come here in very good shape. You know, all the things are going so well this year. There was sort of -- I got second position, so I couldn't ask for anything more. And we come here in a track that I love. In 2008 with a lot of rain and very hard conditions, I made my first podium in rain in my career, and last year I won. So it's always very positive that MotoGP comes here in America, and I'm happy for that.

MODERATOR: And just walking into the Motor Speedway is a special place, an iconic place, isn't it?

LORENZO: Yeah, very special with a lot of history and a lot of races here in the past. And obviously we are -- we want that this continues for long years, but I don't know whether it's going to happen for the next years.

MODERATOR: We sat here two weeks ago, not here but in the press conference in Brno in the Czech Republic, you said: "Now I think very hard about the championship. I have to be careful. Wins not so important but podiums. We just want to win the race again." Is it the same philosophy here, the same theory?

LORENZO: Obviously, I want to win. Nobody in this world want to lose and to make bad results. You know, but we have the possibility to lose a race and to get zero points. But anybody knows what can happen if you crash. Maybe can happen nothing and you are OK physically or you can hurt yourself. So it's better not to take so many risks and to be on the bike.

MODERATOR: Off the track at Brno, many things happened. Valentino Rossi will not be your teammate next season. It does appear that Ben will, although that has to be confirmed yet. How do you feel about Valentino going and Ben joining you?

LORENZO: Well, Valentino is going to Ducati, it is official. It's very big news and very interesting news. Very hard challenge for him, for Ducati. We all hope next year the championship could be more interesting, this for sure. For my side, I still haven't signed with Yamaha, but we all hope that it comes very soon.

MODERATOR: Jorge, many thanks.

We come to Nicky Hayden, of course to Jorge's right. Nicky currently sixth in the World Championship. As I say, two podium finishes on the Ducati here. Nicky, I know we always say it's a special place but I think for anybody coming here, we always think, wow, this is a bit different.

NICKY HAYDEN: Yeah, absolutely. Been a lot of history here, a lot of racing, period, went on here, especially in this whole area, Indianapolis. You can race about anything within, you know, 30 miles of here. So it's, I think special for anybody but for me it's double because it's so close to my house. And to drive to a MotoGP race for me is still the third year kind of seems strange because my first couple years in GP was no American rounds, so I definitely enjoy it and happy to be here and looking forward to the weekend.

MODERATOR: And the wrist obviously you crashed in qualifying, wasn't it, at Brno, you rode in the race very bravely, you had a couple of weeks to at least make some sort of repair. 

HAYDEN: Yeah, absolutely. I crashed there and was an easy crash, but I was telling Colin I always hold on to the bike too long think I'm going to save it, save it, and the bike landed on it and it definitely wasn't real fun there in Brno for the race. After the warm-up, I was praying for rain for the race and didn't get it. But managed to do even better than we thought in the race. But I've had about 10 days, and bones don't heal up 100 percent in 10 days, so us riders we think they can sometimes and they should. But it's certainly a lot better than it was last week, and this track doesn't have the hard braking it had in Brno. So, you know, I really don't expect big, big problems with it. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. But left wrist is a lot better than the right wrist. So, you know, we'll see. But I'm hoping for no big problems. We ain't got time to be messing around with sore wrists this weekend; we've got to go for it.

MODERATOR: So typically it didn't rain in the race at Brno, you had the test on Monday and the rain came in the afternoon. You did get some laps in, didn't you?

HAYDEN: Actually the rain, I was done anyway, I had a couple things to try, but I couldn't ride, so it didn't hurt my feelings that the rain came. Every man for himself. If I couldn't ride, actually probably just as soon nobody ride. But I think everybody got to do a few laps in the morning which I think everybody needed because it had been since Jerez that we got to try anything.

MODERATOR: Your brother in Moto2, that's going to be interesting, isn't it? We've had him in MotoGP, but Moto2, a lot of riders for him to contend with to start with.

HAYDEN: Yeah, MotoGP this year and World Superbike, Moto2 this weekend. We joke around the house: “Why if there's any race somewhere, what he's done at home. Surely he can find something, British Superbike or go-kart race, get involved in BMX.” But, yeah, he's definitely looking forward to a good weekend. I think it's a great opportunity for the American fans, too, because the whole Moto2, they didn't come to Laguna. The championship, I've said before, seems a little unknown to fans around here. The whole concept of single-engine deal is not really something that's been used a lot in the American championships in any kind of racing. So I think it will be great racing for the fans, we've seen 40 bikes within two seconds is good racing. And put in a good effort for the team. So it won't be easy, as anybody knows it's a World Championship level, so to just show up here and jump it in, it will be tough. But I think he can see how it goes.

Qualifying will be really important for him, just like everybody in Moto2. But hopefully have a good result, be fun. We certainly got the support, a lot of friends and family and stuff making the trip this year, probably more than ever. So we need to bring our A game.

MODERATOR: Just finally, 2011, there was rumors or we felt that you may make an announcement this weekend about 2011. 


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