After a long and busy summer, the guys from OnTheThrottle caught up with Ben Spies once again, to talk about Spies' last three races. In conversation with David Williams, Spies covers finding himself in Jorge Lorenzo's oil patch at the Sachsenring, the differences between setting up a MotoGP bike and a Superbike at Laguna Seca, and his first front row start at Brno. Along the way, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha talks about testing the 2011 factory machine at Brno, the differences between the factory bike and the satellite Yamaha, and just how good Jorge Lorenzo is at the moment. Spies almost - but not quite - lets slip that he'll be on the factory Yamaha next year, the second-worst kept secret after Rossi's defection to Ducati, and reveals that Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis is pretty pleased with the way Spies has been riding this year. So spend a worthwhile 25 minutes hearing Spies talk Yamaha, past, present and future.
Yesterday we told you about two must-see events taking place during the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, today, we have more events making a trip to Indy worth your while. If you're looking for something to do either before the bikes hit the track or after they're done, then here's a few ideas: You can get a close-up view of the bikes during the pit walk on Friday morning; you can bid on some of the best motorcycling memorabilia available during the Riders for Health auction, also on Friday morning; and you can kick off the race weekend with the downtown event and bike parade at Monument Circle on Thursday. Details of the events below, from Indianapolis Motor Speedway press releases.
Hiroshi Aoyama's rookie season in MotoGP has not been easy. The last ever 250cc World Champion entered MotoGP in a brand new team on a satellite Honda and had spent his time slowly getting up to speed, all the while struggling with a wrist problem. Then, just as the Interwetten Honda rider seemed to be getting to grips with the new class, fate dealt him a cruel blow in the form of a Sunday morning cold-tire highside at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. Aoyama fractured his T12 vertebra, and was out for at least three months.
No doubt many of MotoMatters.com's readers will be heading to the Brickyard, to attend the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. Obviously, the main reason to go to Indy is having the chance to see all three classes (125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP) racing in the US, but beyond the racing, the folks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway put on a lot more to hold the interest of race fans during the weekend. Here's two more reasons to head to Indianapolis, taken from press releases provided by IMS: The Cycle World Seminar and Yamaha Stars On Stage:
Cycle World Seminar
An American motorcycle racing legend and two rising American stars will be the featured guests at the Cycle World Seminar from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 27 on the SPEED Stage located on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield.
1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz and current Moto2 riders Roger Lee Hayden and Kenny Noyes will be among the guests.
The news that Kevin Schwantz is to make a return to the MotoGP paddock has cheered the spirits of many motorcycle racing fans. The American legend is to run the American Honda wildcard effort which is due to field Roger Lee Hayden at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP, where Hayden Jr. will be riding a Moriwaki MD600, together with the Erion Honda team. Naturally, the guys from OnTheThrottle wanted to find out more, and so David Williams spoke to Schwantz at Laguna Seca about the project, and about Roger Lee Hayden's replacement ride on the LCR Honda. Here's what Schwantz had to say:
Ever since its return to America, MotoGP in the USA has been something of an anomaly. When the series first headed back across the Atlantic in 2005, it was only the MotoGP class that made the trip to Laguna Seca, with cost and limited paddock space cited as reasons for leaving the (then) 250 and 125 classes back in Europe. When the Red Bull US GP in Laguna was joined by the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway facility in 2008, the two support classes joined the MotoGP riders in the US, but only at Indy. Furthermore, the two US rounds have also always been separated by at least one European race, forcing the teams to fly their bikes and equipment out to the US twice.
Many US race fans were both excited and puzzled by Roger Lee Hayden's announcement that he would be racing a Pedercini Kawasaki in World Superbikes. Excited, because Rog, as Nicky Hayden's younger brother is affectionately called, is highly rated in the States; puzzled because although Hayden is good on a Superbike, his great strength - and his biggest successes, including an AMA Supersport title - is in riding a 600, rather than a thousand. Why did Roger Lee not jump on a Moto2 bike, the fans asked. The answer was simple: money, or rather a lack of it for Hayden to race in Moto2.
Fortunately for Hayden, and for the US fans who are convinced of his abilities, the American is to ride in Moto2 after all. Hayden has been named as a wildcard rider for the Moto2 race at Indianapolis, at the end of August. Hayden will ride a Moriwaki MD600 fielded by the Erion Honda team, one of the strongest teams in the AMA paddock, and supported by American Honda.
The Hungarian round of MotoGP has been troubled from the start, and doubts have hung over it ever since the end of 2008, when it became clear that the Spanish/Hungarian construction conglomerate building the circuit was having trouble completing the track. The 2009 Hungarian round was first pushed back from the spring to September, before being canceled altogether, and the debut planned for September 2010.
Even that has proved too much, though. Rumors that the round would be canceled altogether emerged earlier this week, after the Hungarian Development Bank MFB refused to underwrite a loan over doubts over the financial viability of the project and allegations of corruption. Without that bank guarantee, the project was effectively dead in the water, and cancellation of the Hungarian round of MotoGP was just a matter of time.
The one place that everyone wants to be at a MotoGP race is in the paddock. Simultaneously, it is one of the most difficult places to get into, as, quite simply, Dorna does not sell passes into the paddock. The usual way - other than in a professional capacity, or working as a marshal - is to purchase a VIP package through one of the very few specialist travel companies authorized to issue paddock passes, such as our friends over at Pole Position Travel.
Calendar for the 2010 MotoGP, Moto2 and 125cc season: