Confirmed and expected rider and team line up for the 2011 MotoGP season
After Sunday's MotoGP race at Indianapolis, in which he finished 4th, Valentino Rossi spoke to reporters for his usual post-race press debrief. During the conversation, Rossi talked about how his biggest problem is a lack of fitness, as he is still unable to run on his broken leg. He also told the press he still wasn't sure about what his legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess was going to be doing next year. And he went on to attack the role electronics plays in the sport, speaking of his hope that measures would be taken to reduce the importance of electronics when MotoGP returns to 1000cc in 2012. Here's what Rossi told reporters:
Question: How was the day? It was hot out there.
Valentino Rossi: Yes, is very difficult. I expected to be in trouble, because also during the practice after 8 or 9 laps, I started to lose strength. And in fact is very, very difficult. So for me, it was a positive race because for one part of the race, I could make the same lap time as Lorenzo and Spies, and I made also a little bit faster time than Lorenzo and same as Ben.
The press office of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway continue to do an outstanding job, collecting the following notes and quotes from the riders in today's MotoGP race. For quotes from the podium riders, see the separate news item.
MotoGP POST-RACE NOTES:
MODERATOR: OK, ladies and gentlemen, riders are on their way. In third place, Jorge Lorenzo here at Indianapolis. (Applause) Jorge has a 68-point lead in the championship over Dani Pedrosa, of course, who won the race. In second place, Ben Spies. (Applause) And the race winner, his third Grand Prix victory of the season, Dani Pedrosa.
Dani, you look absolutely shattered, I've got to say. I think that was, all three of you look absolutely shattered but that was a pretty tough afternoon's work.
Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Indianapolis:
Jorge Lorenzo reclaimed the top spot in Sunday morning's warm up session, the Fiat Yamaha rider putting in another unstoppable lap at the end. The session turned into something more resembling qualifying than just a warm up, the lead changing constantly in the last minutes of the session. Valentino Rossi, Ben Spies and Dani Pedrosa all held the lead, but Lorenzo came out on top in the end.
Valentino Rossi extended his run of crashes into the morning warm up, the Italian losing the front at Turn 10 and going down. Rossi came away from the crash relatively unhurt, but the incident cannot have helped his already dented confidence. The man set to replace him in the factory Yamaha team, Ben Spies, will have gained confidence, Spies setting the 3rd fastest time of the session, just behind Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and ahead of Marlboro Ducati's Casey Stoner.
As widely expected, and anticipated here just a couple of days' ago, Nicky Hayden announced an extension of his contract with Ducati at the Indy Mile flat track race on Saturday night. The good news for Hayden is that the deal is for two years, with Hayden signed up for 2011 and 2012. Hayden told the crowd at the Indy Mile "Next year I'll be teamed with some guy named Rossi, who knows a little something about bikes."
With both Hayden and Valentino Rossi signed up for two years, Ducati is clearly playing it safe over the formula switch back to 1000cc, due to take place at the end of the 2011 season. This allows both Hayden and Rossi to test and develop Ducati's MotoGP bike for the new formula, maximizing testing without running the risk of losing knowledge should one of their riders want to leave at the end of the 2011 season. But with Hayden having made a huge leap forward this year, and his public profile in the US helping to sell Ducatis in large quantities both at home and abroad, Ducati also felt that signing Hayden was a safe bet.
Below is the text of the official press statement:
DUCATI ANNOUNCE A TWO-YEAR DEAL WITH NICKY HAYDEN
MODERATOR: Ben, quite a weekend for you. Up and down, as it has been for I think most people here at Indianapolis. First of all, congratulations, pole position. Two weeks ago was the first front row, and now you've gone one better in pole.
BEN SPIES: Yeah, it's a dream, I mean to have a pole position at any time in MotoGP and to be able to do it in the first season on the Monster Tech 3 bike in front of the American crowd, it's great and add Indianapolis to it. It's kind of ticked all the boxes this weekend. We just got to, you know, not get ahead of ourselves, so it gives us some common edge for tomorrow but got to kind of live the moment right now. You know, it kind of took the pressure off the announcement on Friday and just knowing what's going on and am I'm really wanting to repay the Tech 3 team because they've helped put me in a place to be there and, you know, to be able to get a pole for them and hopefully can end the season good and keep being consistent and progress. But, you know, today we'll just savor the moment right now and go in tomorrow and try to put a hard 45 minutes and see what happens.
MODERATOR: It's been an interesting weekends, I think, for everybody in MotoGP, grip level has been a problem. You've crashed yourself, and the weather conditions also seem to be getting a little bit hotter.
Valentino Rossi was far from happy with his qualifying position at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, his worst position since Valencia 2008. His attempt to improve his qualifying position had been hampered by a crash with just a few minutes left in the session, the Fiat Yamaha rider going down at Turn 6, a corner that has caught out a lot of riders so far this weekend.
Speaking to the Italian press after qualifying, Rossi complained about the surface of the track in that corner, saying "if it hadn't have been for that hole in Turn Six ... We asked for that hole to be filled in two years' ago in the Safety Commission." The crash was Rossi's second of the day, something that hadn't happened since his first season back in 1996, Rossi claimed. The cause, Rossi explained, was the rear suspension being set too hard, making it impossible for Rossi to catch the bike once it started to slide.
The industrious folks in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway press office have done part of our job again, collecting quotes from fifteen of the seventeen MotoGP riders for tomorrow's MotoGP race. Even better, they came up with a selection of fascinating statistics from today's qualifying session as well. Here's the official IMS press notes and quotes:
MotoGP QUALIFYING NOTES:
2010 Indianapolis MotoGP Qualifying Practice Result - Stunning Last Five Minutes Sees Surprise Front Row
Results and summary of MotoGP qualifying practice at Indianapolis: