Jorge Lorenzo finished third at Indianapolis today and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi fourth in a punishingly hot race won by Dani Pedrosa. Tech 3 Yamaha and future Factory Team rider Ben Spies finished second, his best result so far in his rookie MotoGP season.
Lorenzo dropped three places on his grid position at the start and finished the first lap in fifth with his team-mate close behind. On lap three of 28 the championship leader made it past home favourite Nicky Hayden and he set off in pursuit of Andrea Dovizioso, arriving within striking distance by the eighth lap. The Italian did not make it easy for Lorenzo however and it took the Mallorcan several more laps to pass him, which he did on the brakes into turn one on lap 12. By that time Spies was too far ahead for Lorenzo to make much headway on second place so he settled for third and 16 points to add to his already hefty season tally.
Rossi meanwhile had jumped from seventh to fifth at the start and looked more comfortable on the bike than he had all weekend, during which he had struggled for grip and rhythm. On the fourth lap he overtook Nicky Hayden and settled in fifth, a few tenths off the Lorenzo-Dovizioso battle. Once Lorenzo was past Dovizioso, the World Champion too began to close down his compatriot and with eight laps remaining he passed him for fourth place. By then however his lack of fitness following his injury had caught up with him in the searing heat and he was unable to push any more, coming home some six seconds behind his team-mate.
Lorenzo continues to sit comfortably at the top of the standings, with a 68-point lead over Pedrosa. Rossi remains fifth but has moved to within five points of Casey Stoner and fourth. The MotoGP paddock now has just a few days rest before it reconvenes at Misano in Italy for round 12 of the World Championship.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 3rd Time: +6.812
"Of course I shouldn't be disappointed with third place but at the same time I'm not happy with my race today, I didn't ride as well as I could have and I didn't get a good start. The conditions were incredibly hard and I simply didn't have the physical strength to push as hard or do the same times I did in practice; it was like a race in Malaysia! The track was so slippery and it was very difficult to use the tyres as you wanted to, I think honestly I'm quite lucky to have finished third today. The good thing is we took some points and now I have to concentrate on recovering before Misano because we don't have much time."
Valentino Rossi - Position: 4th Time: +12.633
"This was a good race for us after the weekend. Fourth is quite good in the circumstances but the important thing is that my rhythm in the race was strong and I felt much happier on the bike. I did some good laps and I wasn't too far from the other Yamahas, but unfortunately I paid a lot for my lack of fitness in this heat and in the end I had to stop pushing because I didn't have any strength left in my body. I'm happy though because we came back to a good setting and with me riding well, and if you consider I had three small crashes in the weekend, fourth isn't so bad. Now we will look forward to Misano, my home race!"
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"These were terribly hard conditions for the riders and considering this we have to be very happy with third. It was so hot and so easy to make a mistake so before the race we told Jorge to just try to bring it home on two wheels! Unfortunately he had a bad start which didn't help because he then had a hard task to get past Dovizioso, but considering the conditions and the championship we're just as happy with this as with one of our seven wins."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"This was a really positive race for us and Valentino showed us that he could keep the pace of the front runners. Unfortunately he's still not in peak condition after his accident and with the heat he wasn't strong enough to keep the same pace for the whole race, but he fought at the top end, stayed close and showed us that he's okay. It gives us confidence for our overall set-up and our package for the next races. We came out well from a difficult weekend so well done to everyone."
Sensational Spies claims career best second at Indianapolis
Ben Spies treated a patriotic home crowd at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway to an all-action display in today's MotoGP race, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider ending a fantastic weekend with a career best second position.
Starting from pole position for the first time in his premier class career, Spies made a blistering start and streaked away from the field in the early stages with a succession of fast laps as he looked at ease leading a MotoGP race for the first time.
Such was Spies' phenomenal early speed that he was a second clear after just three laps, the reigning World Superbike champion leavin g his illustrious rivals trailing in his wake. Only Dani Pedrosa was able to get close to matching his rhythm as a crowd of over 62,000 fans roared the Texan on.
Spies was producing heroics to keep Pedrosa at bay but the Spaniard made a decisive attack on lap seven to move into the lead. Spies produced a super human effort in gruelling heat and humidity to try and keep the pressure on Pedrosa before he eventually eased off to secure a richly deserved second.
The 26-year-old's performance received a huge ovation from the appreciative Indianapolis crowed with Spies celebrating being top Yamaha rider for the first time in his career. And marking his career best result in front of his home fans shortly after confirming his 2011 move to Yamaha's factory team only made his accomplishment even more special.
Colin Edwards had a tough afternoon after he was one of only four r iders to select the hardest compound Bridgestone rear tyre available for the 28-lap race. With temperatures and humidity higher than at any stage during the weekend, Edwards hoped his choice would enable him to mount a strong showing in the second half of the race.
But he opted to change to the softer compound tyre at the end of lap 11 and while his lap times instantly improved, the 36-year-old retired on lap 17.
Ben Spies - Position: 2nd Time: +3.575
"I'm really happy to have got my best result in MotoGP in front of the American crowd and at a track as famous as Indianapolis. I always said I wanted my best result in my home race, so it's mission accomplished. After the pole position I got a great start and it felt good to be out front for the first time in MotoGP. But I didn't have the pace for Dani today and he rode a great race. I'm happy because I didn't make too many mistakes when I was out in front and I was consistent for the whole race. When Dani passed me I knew I couldn't follow him, so I let him go and concentrated on keeping a gap to Jorge in third and that's what I achieved. I can't complain because it was a great weekend and to be top Yamaha rider when you look at who else is on that bike is pretty satisfying. It hasn't sunk in yet that I've finished second in my home race. But I'll enjoy it before I hop on a plane and try and do it again in Misano next weekend."
Colin Edwards - DNF
"I went for the hard tyre because I'd done a 41.6 on that tyre on Friday and felt pretty comfortable and confident. I'd not been able to make the soft tyre last close to race distance. I'd started to have a problem after eight or nine laps with it, so with the temperature and humidity coming up I was getting excit ed about using the hard tyre. But I had a problem with edge grip from the start and I was having an issue turning. I was riding on the limit but way off the pace so I pulled in for the softer tyre and did a few laps and my lap times were immediately better. The tyre choice cost me today but congratulations to Ben. He's just riding at an amazing level and second in this field is something to be proud of."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"That was a fantastic weekend from Ben and he delivered an unbelievable performance for the American fans. We could not have hoped for more and he showed why we are so sad to see him leaving us to join Yamaha's factory team next season. But I'm happy for him though because clearly with the factory team he will be with the top four. His pole position yesterday was incredible when you consider how tough it is to achieve that against such a h igh level of competition. He got an incredible start and he was very strong at the beginning of the race. Only Dani could match him and pass him but Ben rode immaculately and it never looked like Jorge was going to catch him. It wasn't the race Colin was expecting and unfortunately his decision to run the hard tyre didn't pay off. Conditions were very demanding but it was clear when he switched to the softer tyre that he had the pace to have scored possibly his best result of the season."