The Repsol Honda Team has high expectations for its second visit of the summer to the USA this week as preparations begin for the Indianapolis Grand Prix and round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship. Dani Pedrosa will be looking to go one better than the second place he secured at the last race in the Czech Republic and, if the Spaniard can replicate his dazzling form from Indianapolis 2009, his third race win of 2010 could well be on the cards. On the other side of the factory Honda garage, Andrea Dovizioso is seeking a return to the podium after a positive test session following the Brno race.
Pedrosa was emphatically quicker than his rivals through practice and qualifying at Indianapolis last year, a full second faster than anybody else in the Saturday morning session before taking pole position by more than half a second in the afternoon. Pedrosa was leading the race when he fell in the early laps, remounting to take 10th place, but even though last year's result didn't reflect his clear potential, the 24-year-old arrives at "Indy" in very confident mood, knowing he has the speed to win at the technical circuit.
Dovizioso is looking for a top three finish this weekend to reinvigorate a season which started well and has seen the Italian notch up four rostrum results and nine points-scoring finishes from the first ten races of 2010. From mid-season onwards Dovizioso's clear goal has been to convert podium finishes into race wins, and it was that dogged determination to fight with the leaders which saw him slide out of the Czech Grand Prix two weeks ago as he fought to stay in touch at the front. The 24-year-old Italian's commitment remains undented, however, as he seeks to reclaim third place in the riders' world championship from Casey Stoner who lies just four points ahead.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is hosting a MotoGP race for the third successive year and is a standout Grand Prix thanks to a venue which is immense in both scale and reputation. 'The Brickyard' as it is known, is based on a 2.5-mile oval and is the historic setting for the legendary Indy 500 race, which sees the fastest cars averaging lap speeds of 230mph during qualifying. The MotoGP circuit uses two sections of the famous oval - the start/finish straight and the banked corner number two - linked by a more intricate in-field section. The lap features many surface changes with varying levels of grip, presenting a particular machine set-up challenge to the riders and crews, especially in the wet conditions encountered on MotoGP's previous two visits to Indy.
The race weekend begins for the Repsol Honda Team with first practice on Friday at 13.55. The 28-lap MotoGP race takes place on Sunday at 15.00 local time (GMT - 4 hours).
DANI PEDROSA - World Championship position: 2nd - 158 points
"I'm going to Indianapolis in a very good mood and I'm feeling ready to finish the job we weren't able to complete in the race there last time. I felt really comfortable riding in Indy last year. I was on top of the timesheets from the first practice, I took pole position and the only mistake I made was in the race. So I hope this time we can put together a strong weekend and take another good result. We were fast and consistent at the last race in Brno and we'll be aiming to get straight back on that pace again this weekend. It will be important, as always, to establish a good machine setting quickly on Friday, and I think we have a useful base from last year that will help us to find the right direction straight away. We were ready to win again in Brno and this will be our goal in Indianapolis too. Riding in America is different, the Indianapolis circuit is very impressive and I feel very good racing in the States because the support I get from the fans is always very positive. So I'm really looking forward to get out there."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - World Championship position: 4th - 115 points
"I always look forward to racing in the U.S.A. and this time is no different. I like visiting America, and the Indianapolis race track is a typical American venue with great facilities and huge grandstands. The MotoGP track is not particularly interesting but the atmosphere is always special. The circuit has many different surface types and last year this was a bit difficult for us, but I think that with this year's machine package - and especially with the current weight distribution - the variety of asphalt and different levels of grip won't be an issue. If I look back to the Brno GP I have to say that - except for the final result - it was a good weekend. We were competitive, our race pace was good but the result did not come. So we go to Indy determined to transform this good performance into a result. We need strong results for the team and for the championship position. Last year I was fourth at Indy in the race but we weren't as fast as the front runners - Dani especially was very fast. But this means that we have the potential to do well and this is an extra motivation for the weekend."
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 85: 17 x 125cc, 24 x 250cc, 44 x MotoGP
GP pole positions 34: 9 x 125cc, 9 x 250cc, 16 x MotoGP
World Championships 3: 1 x 125cc (2003); 2 x 250cc (2004, 2005)
Indianapolis GP results 2009 10th (MotoGP); 2008 8th (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)
Indianapolis GP results 2009 4th (MotoGP); 2008 5th (MotoGP)
First race 2008
GPs held 1
Race distance 118.1km / 73.4miles
Track length 4.216km / 2.62miles
Track width 16m
Longest straight 0.644km / 0.4miles
Corners 16 (6 right, 10 left)
Pole position Left
4790 West 16th Street
Pole position 1m 39.730s (152.186 Km/h) Dani Pedrosa (Honda, 2009)
Race lap 1m 40.152 (151.545 Km/h) Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha, 2009)
Race time 47m 13.592 (149.976 Km/h) Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha, 2009)
MotoGP Wins 1 (Valentino Rossi 2008), 1 (Jorge Lorenzo 2009)
2009 Winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)