Colin Edwards

2014 Indianapolis MotoGP Friday Round Up: An Improved Track, The State Of American Racing, And Yet More Silly Season Shenanigans

For the past four years, my coverage of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has followed something of a ritual. The riders would ride the track. The riders would talk to the media about how awful the track was, the bumps, the different types of asphalt, the drainage covers, the joints between the tarmac, the corners which were too tight. I would write about what the riders had said in my nightly round ups. And I would receive an email complaining about what I'd written from IMS' otherwise excellent media office.

It's hard to blame Indy's media office for such a reaction. They are the best media office of all the circuits on the calendar, by a country mile, better organized and providing useful and timely information on everything happening on the track. It is part of their duty to handle criticism of the circuit, especially that coming from a bunch of Europeans only using half the real Speedway track, and requiring corners. They were only doing their job.

They will have a much easier job this weekend. Rider reaction to the changes made at Indy has been overwhelmingly positive, with barely a whisper of criticism of the track. The single surface on the infield is a vast improvement, the changes to the track layout make it much more suitable for motorcycle racing, and most of the bumps have been removed. The circuit is "more like a normal track," as Marc Marquez put it. Pol Espargaro concurred. Indy is "more of a motorbike track" the Tech 3 man said.

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Colin Edwards To Enter Semi-Retirement Early: Will Race Indy, Silverstone And Valencia, And That's It?

Colin Edwards will contest only three more MotoGP rounds in the 2014 season. The Texan is to race at Indianapolis, Silverstone and Valencia, before hanging up his helmet. From Brno, Alex De Angelis will take Edwards' place, and Edwards will race as a third rider for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team in the UK and at the last race of the year.

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2014 Indianapolis MotoGP Preview: A New Surface, Beating Marquez, And Silly Season Resuming

There are few motorsports venues more iconic than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Of the places I've visited, only Monza comes close: you can feel the ghosts of all the men and women who have raced there. With its massive grandstands and historic racing museum, the vast facility is breathtaking. It is a magic place.

Sadly, the magic is all around the 4 kilometer rectangular oval on which the Indy 500 is held, and not so much around the road course used by MotoGP. The rather tight, artificial infield road circuit feels very much like an afterthought, something retrofitted to allow a greater range of activities at the facility. If the oval layout is spectacular, the road course is positively pedestrian.

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Rating The MotoGP Riders Mid-Season - Part 2: From Stefan Bradl to Mike Di Meglio

Today, we continue our look at how the MotoGP riders stack up so far. Yesterday, we reviewed the top eight in the championship, from Marc Marquez to Andrea Iannone. Today, we pick up where we left off, reviewing the bottom half of the championship standings. We start with Stefan Bradl, and work our way down to Mike Di Meglio, yet to score a point in the series.

Pos.

Rider

Bike

Championship Points

Marks

9

Stefan Bradl

Honda RC213V

56

6/10

Since winning the Moto2 championship in 2011, hopes have been high for Stefan Bradl. The German started well, but never quite lived up to his promise in his first year in MotoGP. He showed improvement in 2013, scoring his first pole and podium, but again fell short, never returning to the podium after his second place at Laguna Seca. 2014 has been much of the same: flashes of real potential, but never really following through with results.

Bradl's best chance of success came at his home Grand Prix at the Sachsenring. Starting from the front row, Bradl's team gambled on staying on the grid and changing his bike from a wet to a dry set up. A dropped spacer meant they ran out of time to change fork springs, and Bradl's chances of a strong result at home collapsed along with his soggy front suspension.

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