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MotoGP: Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix Storylines

The 2013 MotoGP World Championship continues July 19-21 with the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., with action in MotoGP.

The 18-round World Championship includes the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 16-18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the next event after this race.

Here’s a look at three storylines for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix:

Will They Or Won’t They? MotoGP World Championship contenders Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa both suffered collarbone injuries during separate crashes last weekend at the German Grand Prix, and neither rider competed in the race.

But both riders have traveled to California with the intent of racing this Sunday in the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix after undergoing medical checks.

Lorenzo is trying to win his third MotoGP World Championship for Yamaha, while Pedrosa is aiming for his first for Repsol Honda. Both watched last Sunday as rookie starlet Marc Marquez won at the Sachsenring and took over the lead in the championship by two points over Pedrosa and 11 over Lorenzo.

Neither Pedrosa nor Lorenzo will want to see Marquez expand that gap. So both are trying to defy normal human pain tolerances – a regular task for MotoGP riders – and also get medical clearance to race Sunday and salvage some points.

Pedrosa’s oft-broken collarbone was cracked in his accident. But his head also hit the pavement hard, which could be more of a concern with doctors.

The plate holding together Lorenzo’s collarbone, shattered in an accident in late June at Assen, was bent in his wreck in Germany. Doctors had to operate again to replate the area and also perform a small bone graft.

2009 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Lorenzo originally was going to wait until the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 18 to return to his Yamaha M1. But Marquez’s victory at the Sachsenring and Pedrosa’s possible return at Laguna have accelerated his timetable.

Once again, MotoGP riders are not wired like regular humans.

The Man Child Takes Control: Marc Marquez earned his second career MotoGP victory on July 14 in the German Grand Prix. His first victory, in April at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, made history as Marquez, 20, became the youngest winner ever in the premier class of Grand Prix motorcycle racing.

But the victory last weekend at the Sachsenring put Marquez into the lead of the World Championship as a rookie for Repsol Honda.

And now the unthinkable is becoming possible: Marquez could eclipse injured stars Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo this season and become World Champion in his first season in the premier class.

Marquez could become the first rookie to win the biggest title in global motorcycle road racing since American Kenny Roberts in 1978.

But there is a small catch this weekend for Marquez as he tries to pad his points lead, which stands at two over Pedrosa and 11 over Lorenzo. Marquez never has raced at Laguna.

Moto2 and Moto3 do not compete at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, so Marquez has not raced on the tricky, iconic circuit that features the famous “Corkscrew” turn and also travels counter-clockwise, the opposite of most European tracks.

But Sachsenring is a counter-clockwise circuit, and Marquez won there last Sunday. But he had raced there previously, too.

Cal Cometh? Cal Crutchlow is the best bet to become the first British rider to win a motorcycle Grand Prix since two-time World Champion Barry Sheene earned his final victory in 1981, 32 years ago.

And there may be no better time than this weekend for the colorful, outspoken Crutchlow.

Crutchlow has finished on the podium in four of his last five starts this season on the satellite Tech 3 Yamaha machine, including two second-place results. But Crutchlow has raced before at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, unlike championship leader and rookie Marc Marquez, who beat Crutchlow to the finish by 1.559 seconds last Sunday at the Grand Prix of Germany.

Cal’s time may be now. If Crutchlow wins, he would be lionized like no British rider since the free-wheeling, two-time World Champion Sheene. Crutchlow also would be the first satellite rider to win a MotoGP race since Marco Melandri in 2006.


RACE DETAILS:

Race:             Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix

Date:            Sunday, July 21

Round:                Ninth of 18 races in 2013

Circuit:         Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.

Distance:         32 laps on 11-turn, 2.243-mile circuit

2012 Winner:        Casey Stoner, Honda

U.S. Riders:            Nicky Hayden, Owensboro, Ky., Ducati Team; Colin Edwards, Houston, NGM Mobile Forward Racing.

TV:                     MotoGP: Qualifying – 5 p.m. (ET) Saturday, July 20, SPEED. Race – 4:30 p.m. (ET), Sunday, July 21, SPEED.

Web:            www.motogp.com

Twitter:        @MotoGP


***


2013 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2013 Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP event. Visit www.ims.com/ticketswww.ims.com/tickets, call (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 or visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.

Information on camping at IMS during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP is available at www.ims.com/tickets. Hotel package information can be found at visitindy.com/redbullhotels.
 

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