The iconic Laguna Seca circuit in California prepares to welcome the MotoGP paddock this weekend for the first of the two US rounds on the 2011 season. The event will be a special one for Yamaha Factory Racing; the team will again wear the special red and white YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition livery as seen at the Assen TT where Ben Spies stormed to his first ever GP victory.
Last year saw Jorge Lorenzo triumph from a pole position start to take his first Laguna Seca MotoGP race win, his sixth victory and fifth pole of his 2010 season dominance. Team mate Spies is a three time AMA race winner at Laguna and scored an impressive sixth place finish in his MotoGP rookie visit last year. Having won last time out in the red and white colours confidence is high for more success on home ground for the local hero.
Situated amongst the hills just a couple of hours from San Francisco, the Laguna Seca circuit claims jaw dropping elevation changes and possibly the most famous corner in the racing world, the infamous 'corkscrew'. Weather can be unpredictable with cold misty mornings followed by dry hot days providing exciting racing for the American fans.
"We are very strong at the moment with a great result at both Mugello and Sachsenring, we will try to continue to reduce our gap to Casey. I have had great moments in Laguna; above all last year when I won, but also in 2009 when I got pole position even with a big crash and at the end got a podium. Laguna is amazing; for the American style and atmosphere, but above all because of the corkscrew. I think maybe it is the best corner in the Championship, the place everybody wants to meet! I am looking forward to being back on my M1 there, riding to fight for the title!"
"It's always exciting to race in front of the home crowd and It's going to be a big event for Yamaha with the 50th anniversary colours being run again. They were lucky for me at Assen and hopefully they can bring me more luck in front of my friends and family. I've had some pretty good results in my AMA days at Laguna and I love riding the circuit. It's going to be a serious race weekend but it's also going to be a lot of fun so I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of old faces at the track."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
"Laguna was a very nice event last year when Jorge won after a great race. We will have a big break afterwards so it is a very important moment in the season with ten races completed. Jorge really enjoys Laguna and it's a home circuit for Ben so I think our guys will be able to do a good job. The whole crew are looking forward to getting out to California!"
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
"I've been waiting for Laguna for ten years! I'm really excited about going there. As usual we are confident, especially after the strong results of the last three races. Jorge did a great job there last year and it is Ben's home track so we have to be optimistic of a good performance by both riders."
Lives: Barcelona, Spain
GP victories: 37 (17 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Brazil, 2003 (125cc)
First GP: Jerez, Spain, 2002 (125cc)
GP starts: 155 (60 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 43 (16 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)
World Championships: 3 (MotoGP 2010, 250cc, 2006/7)
Lives: Longview Texas / Lake Como Italy
GP victories: 1
First GP victory: Assen, Netherlands, 2011
First GP: Donington, UK, 2008 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 30
Pole positions: 1
World Championships: 1 (WSB 2009)
Grand Prix Results: Laguna Seca 2010
1. J.Lorenzo Yamaha 43'54.873 2. C.Stoner Ducati +3.517
3. V.Rossi Yamaha +13.420
6. Ben Spies Yamaha Tech 3 +19.037
Laguna Seca Record Lap
C.Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'21.488
Laguna Seca Best Lap
C.Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1'20.700
Edwards and Crutchlow ready for California challenge
Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow conclude the busiest period of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship this weekend in America, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders heading to the spectacular Laguna Seca track full of optimism and expectation.
After collecting a hard fought 10th position in last weekend's German round at the Sachsenring, Edwards is confident he can be even more competitive in his all-important home race.
The immensely popular Texan, who has huge fan base at Laguna Seca, put in a tremendous amount of effort to improve the set-up of his Monster Yamaha YZR-M1 machine in Germany, and he's hoping to reap the rewards this weekend on the shortest track on the MotoGP calendar.
Having finished seventh in the California clash in 2009 and 2010, the 37-year-old is determined to battle for a top six finish to delight what will be a large and passionate home support.
This weekend's race presents another fresh challenge for British rider Crutchlow, who is looking forward to testing his skills on the famous Laguna Seca track, which hosts the first of two visits to America for the MotoGP paddock in the space of five weeks.
Crutchlow can't wait to get his first taste of the 3.610km circuit and he's looking forward to tackling the awe-inspiring Corkscrew corner, which requires skill and bravery in abundance to master.
Crutchlow tried a range of different settings in Germany last weekend to improve his confidence with the front-end of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. And while his 14th position didn't reflect his hard work, his c rew is positive they are moving in the right direction to give the 25-year-old the feeling he is looking for.
After a hectic run of six races in eight weeks, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team will enjoy a richly deserved short summer break after Sunday's race before the 2011 campaign resumes in Brno, Czech Republic on August 14.
"I can't wait to get to Laguna because I love the place so much. I have a lot of family and friends that are coming which always makes it extra special, but the American fans are brilliant to me, so hopefully I can send them home smiling on Sunday night with a good result. It has been a bit manic since Germany because I flew straight to LA to shoot another movie for Yamaha. They are always good fun and I really enjoy myself, so a big thanks to Yamaha US for all they d o in arranging that for us. I am really looking forward to the weekend and although 10th in Germany wasn't the result we wanted, it was actually a positive race. We certainly learned a few things about the bike because we made a lot of changes, so I've got good reason to be optimistic of fighting for the top six this weekend. That's my goal anyway and if we have a smooth weekend, I'm sure that's achievable. I want to get a strong result not just because it's my home race, but it will make the summer break more relaxing and enjoyable and set me up for a strong push in the final part of the season."
"The result last weekend in Germany was a bit disappointing but I'm ready to bounce back in Laguna Seca and fight for a top ten where I know I should be. I'm still searching for some more confidence in the front-end, but all of us in the Monster Yam aha Tech 3 Team are working non-stop to improve the situation and we've got a few ideas to try and Laguna. It is another new track for me but I'm really excited. Laguna Seca is such a famous name and the Corkscrew looks amazing. It looks awesome on TV, so I'm looking forward to getting on the bike on Friday and experiencing it for myself for the first time. I'll have to ask Colin for some tips, but I'm just concentrating on getting a decent result that we can build on for the rest of the season. The last few races have been quite difficult but I'll be working harder than ever this weekend to put things right."
2011 MotoGP United States
Laguna Seca 19/07/2011
(Casey Stoner, 01/01/2010)
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Casey Stoner, 20/07/2008)
Last Years Winner: