Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and the whole Repsol Honda Team will be working flat-out to secure another victory at the Laguna Seca circuit this weekend to follow Sunday's classy win for Pedrosa in the German Grand Prix. After the drama of the Sachsenring's two-part race, MotoGP jets to the west coast of the United States for round nine of the World Championship - the halfway point of the 2010 season.
Pedrosa arrives at Laguna Seca brimming with confidence after his authoritative win at the Sachsenring. The 24-year-old Spaniard knows he has the capability to make it back-to-back victories at another circuit where he typically performs well. He won last year's U.S. Grand Prix having led from start to finish, and with two second places and a win from the previous three races in 2010, Pedrosa has established the front-running consistency he lacked at the start of the season. He is in second place in the world championship standings with a 47-point gap to Jorge Lorenzo and so Pedrosa's target is simply to take one race at a time and finish as high as possible. Another race victory this weekend is the clear goal.
His team-mate Andrea Dovizioso is eyeing at least a return to the podium to add to the four top-three finishes he's secured so far this season. After an impressive and consistent start to 2010, the 24-year-old Italian is now determined to battle for outright race wins and his strong previous form at Laguna Seca means that's not an unrealistic goal this weekend. He was the top Honda in fourth place on his Laguna debut in 2008 and was unlucky to fall from a promising fourth place last year after damaging his clutch lever during the race, which interfered with his ability to control his machine. Dovizioso lies in third place in the world standings and will want to consolidate that position before MotoGP's short summer break following this race.
Lying back to back on the MotoGP calendar, the similarities between the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca circuits are several. They are the shortest tracks in MotoGP, with Laguna measuring 3.610km (2.243 miles), which is a mere 60 metres shorter than Sachsenring. Both venues feature steep hills and dramatic corners - the most famous of which is Laguna's Corkscrew - a unique plunging left-right chicane. And finally they are two of only five circuits on the 18-race MotoGP schedule which run in an anti-clockwise direction.
MotoGP practice begins on Friday at 13.55 (GMT - 7 hours). As in previous years, the U.S. Grand Prix features only the MotoGP class supported by a programme of national races, with the Moto2 and the 125cc riders returning to the track at the Czech Republic Grand Prix on 15 August.
DANI PEDROSA - World Championship position 2nd - 138 points
"To take the win in Germany was fantastic and it means we're going into this weekend at Laguna Seca in great shape. I think the race will be very similar to the last one, with laptimes very close, and I hope we have a repeat of the way we worked in Germany. The key point in Sachsenring was that we were competitive and fast from the first practice on Friday. When everything is in place like this we have the level to compete with any of our rivals and to beat them - and that's what I want to achieve again. We had a great race in Laguna Seca last year and we were able to win, so I would love to go on holiday after this weekend with another victory under our belts. I know we have to work very hard to make it happen because Lorenzo is not making many mistakes, Stoner is back to his best level, and Rossi has returned very strong - and I'm sure that in the States he will be even better than in Germany. But we can be up there again if we push hard. We started the season not being able to fight with the riders in front, but now we have got to the required level to do this. Of course, we must keep our feet on the ground and not relax at all."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - World Championship position 3rd - 102 points
"Now we go straight to Laguna Seca after Germany and I'm really looking forward to racing there - because it's a unique track - and also because I want to improve on my result from the last race in Germany. We are completely focused on getting a strong finish this weekend before we head into the MotoGP summer break. Last year I was fast at Laguna and I was having a great race until unfortunately I clipped the plastic poles at the exit of pitlane at high speed and it damaged my clutch lever, which later contributed to my crash. Until that point I was fighting with Valentino and it could have been a good race. But still, this means I'm confident going into the weekend and I know we can be strong at this Grand Prix. Dani won the race here last year - and also the last race in Germany on Sunday - and this gives us extra motivation too. The Laguna track is special - very different from the standard of tracks we are used to in Europe, and for this reason it is interesting to race here. I really like the atmosphere, the people and the fans and it's always a pleasure to come to California."
Rider Statistics - Dani Pedrosa
Racing number 26
Race machine Honda RC212V
Date of birth September 29, 1985
Birthplace Castellar del Valles - Spain
Hobbies Cycling, Music
Grand Prix debut 2001, 125cc Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
First GP win 2002, 125cc Dutch Grand Prix, Assen
GP wins 33: 8 x 125cc, 15 x 250cc, 10 x MotoGP
GP podiums 84: 17 x 125cc, 24 x 250cc, 43 x MotoGP
GP pole positions 32: 9 x 125cc, 9 x 250cc, 14 x MotoGP
World Championships 3: 1 x 125cc (2003); 2 x 250cc (2004, 2005)
U.S. GP results 2009 1st (MotoGP); 2008 DNS (MotoGP); 2007 5th (MotoGP); 2006 2nd (MotoGP)
Rider Statistics - Andrea Dovizioso
Racing number 4
Race machine Honda RC212V
Date of birth March 23, 1986
Birthplace Forli, Italy
Hobbies MX, Supermoto
Grand Prix debut 2001, Italian Grand Prix, Mugello
First GP win 2004, Africa's Grand Prix, Welcom
GP wins 10: 5 x 125cc, 4 x 250cc, 1 x MotoGP
GP podiums 47: 15 x 125cc, 26 x 250cc, 6 x MotoGP
GP pole positions 13: 9 x 125cc, 4 x 250cc
World Championships 1: 125cc (2004)
U.S. GP results 2009 DNF (MotoGP); 2008 4th (MotoGP)
First race 1988 (Modified 1996)
Race distance 115.520km / 71.776miles
Track length 3.610km / 2.243miles
Track width 15m
Longest straight 0.966km / 0.6miles
Corners 11 (4 right, 7 left)
Pole position Right
1021 Monterey Salinas Hwy
Monterey, CA 93940
T: +1 831-242-8201
Pole position 1m20.700s (161.040Km/h) Casey Stoner (Ducati, 2008)
Race lap 1m21.488s (159.483m/h) Casey Stoner (Ducati, 2008)
Race time 44m01.580s (157.433m/h) Dani Pedrosa (Honda, 2009)
Premier Class Wins 3 (Wayne Rainey 1989, 1990-01)
2009 Winner Dani Pedrosa (Honda)