Ben Bostrom Confirmed As LCR MotoGP Wildcard At Laguna Seca

Reports and rumors that Ben Bostrom would make a wildcard appearance at Laguna Seca had emerged late Saturday night at the Sachsenring MotoGP race, with the peerless Italian website the first site to break the news. The rumors quickly gained traction, as it became clear there was a large PR push behind the American, and now, Bostrom's participation has been confirmed for the Laguna Seca MotoGP race as a wildcard.

Bostrom had been offered the ride after negotiations between LCR Honda and their sponsor, Rizoma. The motorcycle accessories manufacturer has just opened a major push into the US market, and their outstanding relationship with both Bostrom and Bostrom's AMA Superbike team, the Michael Jordan Motorsports team made Bostrom the logical choice to help promote the brand in the US. Given Toni Elias' disappointing performance this year, LCR needed something extra to help its sponsors with some positive exposure.

It is understood that no extra bikes will be laid on for Bostrom: the American will take one of Toni Elias' two Honda RC212Vs, leaving both Elias and Bostrom with a single bike to compete on.

This is not Bostrom's first appearance on the world stage, Bostrom made wildcard appearances at Laguna Seca in the World Superbike class in 1998 and 1999, before racing three full seasons of World Superbikes from 2000 to 2002, his high point coming when he won 6 races in 2001 aboard the L&M Ducati, 5 of them back-to-back at Misano, Laguna Seca and Brands Hatch.

Below is the official press release from the LCR Honda Team,


This weekend, the LCR team will "double up" its efforts at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. LCR's Toni Elias will be joined by Michael Jordan Motorsports' Ben Bostrom, who will compete in the MotoGP race as a wild card. Bostrom will also race, as usual, in the AMA Superbike class.

The decision to invite Bostrom, a former World Superbike rider, to compete in MotoGP on one of the Honda RC212Vs is a result of the excellent relationship between the LCR Team and the management of Michael Jordan Motorsports, which is owned by the legendary NBA superstar Michael Jordan. MotoGP is gaining popularity in the United States and the Laguna Seca race is one of two MotoGP stops in the United States this season.

As in 2010 when the LCR Team gave Roger Lee Hayden the opportunity to ride the team's bike in the MotoGP race after Randy De Puniet fractured his left lower leg at the race in Sachsenring Germany, Lucio and the team´s partners are taking the opportunity to experience another MotoGP race in the United States with a "made in the USA" rider.

Lucio Cecchinello: "The U.S. GP takes place at one of the most spectacular racetracks in the world. The interest of the American fans of this sport grows more and more from year to year and the spectators are always very enthusiastic. Considering that some of our partners are operating in the American market, we thought that we should organize a special event before the summer break. Because of the great relationship between the LCR team and Michael Jordan Motorsports, we decided to invite one of Laguna Seca's most successful riders to compete for us in the race: Ben Bostrom. Ben will ride with one of our RCVs as a "wild card" rider for only one race, while also taking part in the AMA Superbike race for Michael Jordan Motorsports. I'd like to offer many thanks to the Michael Jordan Motorsports team for the great collaboration and the amazing support."

Ben Bostrom: "Words can't express how excited I am to get this amazing opportunity to race on my home track in front of the whole world. I have to thank Michael Jordan Motorsports and American Suzuki for allowing this to happen. The collaboration between Lucio, LCR and the MJM team has been terrific. I'm going to get on the GP bike and put it as close to the front as possible. Then I'm going to hop on my Jordan Suzuki bike and try to create even more magic."

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Seriously though, I am really happy outsiders are give a chance on MotoGP machinery. Sure he might be cruising at the back, but you never now. RL Hayden did pretty good.

Of all the riders in Moto2 or 125s that could have been given a one-off ride to determine their suitability for MotoGP, Ben Bostrom gets a chance? To do what? Laguna could have been a perfect time to get Marquez on a Honda, albeit a year-old one, to see what he could do. No Moto2 race, no 125 race, and Bostrom, who is already racing that weekend, gets the chance. Mind boggling. I know it's down to sponsorships or whatever, but it still makes little sense. Bostrom has no future in GP.

A cynical move that illustrates money and the 'now' takes precedent over encouraging young talent and the future..

Don't get me wrong..Ben's a good lad, but he's had his day which was more than ten years ago. They'd be as well tapping up Schwantz, Doohan or Lawson.

What's that Gagne boy up to?

That's an interesting idea. The kid was MotoGP Rookies Cup World Champion last year and he's from California, so the race at Laguna Seca would truly be a home race.

On the other hand, jumping from a 125 to an 800cc Moto GP bike might be a bit much. Still, I'd like to see him try.

Marquez has a championship to steal away from Bradl. Doubtful that he would want to hop on a bike that is going to change in 2012.

It would seem a good idea for LCR to evaluate some new talent - Elias isn't getting it done, and as the LCR team is the designated "Moto2 doorway" to GP, as the rookie Marquez would have to be on a sat team anyway, that would seem a good idea. I'm sure Honda/Repsol has a plan for Marquez anyway. I wouldn't think they'd want him to sit in Moto2 for too long.

There should be something weird with LCR Honda, as they again found a rider with a similar riding style to Elias, who has been a total failure with Bridgestone tires. Arse out, shoulder up! On the other hand, watch few videos of him and you'd agree his PR value, specially when he is not riding.

LCR needs some good publicity in an underdeveloped market and this is a way to get there. Yeah Ben is probably past it but putting Marquez on the bike isn't going to garner them any attention in the paddock or in the press that they wouldn't get otherwise. Instead they can put Bostrom in the saddle this week and it will create some buzz.

They need a veteran guy that can do all the events and schmooze the fans and press and speak the language, and Bostrom fits the bill. If he were as fast as he is nice he would be world champion.

I agree with the most of that but the "speak the language." The Bostroms do best when they don't open their mouths. Not sure what those boys are growing on that farm in Brazil but they both sound like Spicoli when they open their mouths.

Bboz is especially past his prime and lost his Mojo in his 3rd year of wsbk and unfortunately never came close to regaining it. Eboz showed flashes of brilliance making that ZX-7R go around the track like it was on rails. Not sure what happened to both but I definitely expected more from them.

By 'speak the language' I meant literally: speak English in the interviews. Marquez is a stud but his English isn't good. Not knocking him for it. His job is to ride motorcycles fast, not give good interview in a second or third language. (Is he Catalan? I don't know.)

It's clear that LCR put finance in front of lap times in this instance, but that's just as much a part of racing as 'exploiting loopholes' in the rules.

Personally I'd like to see the cameras follow around Colin Edwards and Ben Spies. If MotoGP had any traction in the states Edwards would have had his own reality show years ago. And then he would have lost it for saying something wildly inappropriate.

I understand what you really meant I used "speak the language" as a segue for my little bout of humor. And I wholeheartedly agree about CE though that guy is honestly hilarious and we always know we are getting the truth from him.

Somebody gets it.

(Not that it wasn't explained clearly in the press release why Bostrom was chosen.)

Oh, I get it. But what there is to get is pretty pointless. The best chance of LCR generating a buzz will be when their bikes get lapped by the leaders.

Marquez on a GP bike is guaranteed to generate some buzz in the paddock and in the press. In the US crowd? Not so much. But how important is that, anyway? A one-off charity case ride does nothing but waste money.

This ride has been talked about on rider forums since it was just a rumor. I'd say that is generating some buzz. Bostrom is a well known name and it would be hard to find anyone who could attract as much attention in the US. Elena Myers is probably the only other rider to be able to give the sponsors what they want and I'd put money on Bostrom finishing higher up than Myers.

The _only_ place this is generating any buzz is on rider/racer forums. This isn't generating any buzz outside the existing motorcycle world, this isn't going to bring in another 10,000 paying customers to the race, this isn't going to generate mainstream media coverage. What I hope it does is put some money in the pocket of the LCR team, as I know they need it. But let's not pretend that putting Bostrom on a bike when there are already 3 Americans in the race that are leagues better than him somehow generates more publicity for the race than there would have been without Bostrom on a bike. The only places this is news are the places that already know about the race. I don't see why this is anything more than a footnote for the 2011 GP race. It certainly isn't some kind of game-changer.

The goal of the wild card is not to bring outside fans into MotoGP. It is, as you alluded to but ignored, to bring the attention of current MotoGP fans to LCR Honda.

Dorna did not push this to get another American on the grid in hopes of selling 10,000 more tickets. LCR did this to help grab the attention of American motorcycle community and focus it on their sponsor that is trying to break into the American motorcycle community market.

This last part was all in the article by the way.

Why would Rizoma care if an additional 10,000 people show up for the race? All they care about is that motorcycle riders are talking about them and seeing their logo on TV.

I think you misunderstood the reasoning that was mentioned in the article and press release.

Love all the outrage that Bostrom riding is a move purely for cash reasons. Hello, welcome to 1986! I'm sure all of the Spaniards, and a few of the Italians have rides based purely on their tallent, and not the amount of money they bring to the table.

I'd put the over/under line at 60% of 125 and Moto2 riders who are on the grid purely because they can scratch a check, or their personal sponsors can scratch a check to a team.

Sorry to be a pessimist, but wildcard rides are not about giving a rider an opportunity to show their skills. They are PR opportunities plain and simple. Bostrom rides and writes for Cycle World magazine so this wildcard ride guarantees LCR 4-6 pages of coverage in a highly read magazine in a market they would never be able to reach otherwise. Much cheaper than buying ad space...

I have been following the boz brothers for a while. If you were at laguna last year you saw him win in a tough field. He knows the track and goes fast. He'll do far better than most of you give him credit for just as RL Hayden did last year. As to the Over the hill - he's a cycling fantic and extremely fit, so I don't see him past his prime in anyway, shape or form (really does michael jordan hire second rate?).

Also, racing is advertsing, is business. He'll generate buzz in the U.S around a sport that does not see much air time like no euro rider could. At the end of the day, no sattellite rider is going to win, it's very unlikely they will make it to the podium also. So this was a smart choice and I say he'll do top 10 - 11 somewhere in there.

It's done, ane he'll ride it like he stole it... and he;ll have at least one fan in the stands.

I agree that he's super fit and a talented rider (and a seemingly nice guy!) so he certainly won't embarrass himself or LCR and I have no issue with him taking the ride from a junior phenom, I just wanted to point out what I think the realities of what wildcard rides are these days.

There are certainly quite a few riders who have turned down the opportunity knowing full well how finicky the bikes and tires are and had no desire to make themselves look foolish or possibly ruin a future opportunity for a proper test ride with the scrutiny of the media. Even Spies turned down an opportunity a few years ago with Suzuki at Assen I think for that very reason.

I'll say after the season Boz is having I was a little surprised but look at the fundamentals.
They need a rider with a fairly understanding open contract (how many Honda sponsored riders are there in the USA...)

A rider that speaks english well (only 2 US races)

A rider that isn't going to probably tear up a 500,000 machine on FP1 from a stupid oops carbon brakes(think, Myers, Cardenas, Eslick, Westby,).

A rider in great shape . Period, think of all the time on the track

Its a publicity thing, he writes in a magazine, he is tough as Colin Edwards, Don't believe me let me stick a 3" pin in your thumb and have you battle it out on a SBK. Not to mention stitches from a Cycling wreck in tights are say 30+MPH and about 100 stitches froma foot peg down the leg.

I like him he writes well, will he be dead last maybe, Simo, or RDP might crash he probably won't he might get lapped. maybe though just maybe we'll see a top 10 outof him he knows the track, and has something to prove/try. (ben spies did that on the Rizla bike a few times remember???)

His fittness is not in question. He may be the fittest person on the track that day. But unfortunately age does matter in this sport with few exceptions. If it were bicycling, running or swimming it wouldn't be an issue. If he were already on top of the AMA field, perhaps like Mladin when he left, it wouldn't really be an issue. However their decision has been made and unfortunately for me, it becomes more of a side show than a serious effort.

PS. Congrats to him on his first child.

really gotta hand to you "smart" guys especially those with the need for rebuttal to comments about their post Hi Friggin Larious!!

Of course once Bostrom embarrass' your favorite regular you'll never acknowledge the mistake, but hey you never hear Stoner admit someone was better than him and he was beaten fairly, it's always the bike or the tire or...

its a business that we all love to see negotiated at high speed.

Ignoring "funny" comments for the moment that really have no place in this at all, as an American MotoGP fan I'd much rather see this admittedly unique opportunity go to someone with a future in the sport, whether they are American or not. I enjoy watching fast guys go fast. Is Bostrom fast? Sure, but relative to the GP guys, not so much. Can he put some guys behind him? Possibly. If it's a hot weekend in Laguna, maybe the tires will be easier on him. Is this anything more than a footnote? Nope. Even if he were to pull a Bayliss and get a win, what's going to come of it? Nothing. IF LCR is looking for exposure for sponsors, anyone on the bike will do; as an American MotoGP fan I'll be happy to purchase a few issues of Playboy to support their sponsors.

I love the Boz Bros.

Getting old(er) sucks - but better than the alternative.

Go Ben (Bostrom and Spies) !!!

I was also a bit shocked when I heard that it was BBoz getting Elias' second bike. That said, he does have an exceptional record at that track and is a popular American with international name despite thinking the choice was a bit odd I guess it makes more sense the longer I think about it.

That said, if Bostrom does well I'll be happy for him but kind of upset at the same time. Both Bostrom brothers seem to have consistent focus issues. Ben seemed to get it together last year for a while (despite that nasty thumb injury) but has been nowhere this season. If he suddenly does quite well in GP I think it may speak to that issue once more.

I'll be rooting for him. As for Marquez or any of the other lower class riders, this was not a "developmental" move for LCR. This was a publicity move for sake of the sponsors, the track and the fans. Marquez will get his chance in GP...that's not the point of putting Bostrom out there.

I remember when Miguel Duhamel got a wild card on one of the Gresini bikes a few years ago, people were coming out of the woodwork to complain about how old he was etc. Sure he didn't do well in the race but I remember it being down to set up disagreements than anything. He did pull in after all.
I like the Bostroms, and do agree that they are a bit flash in the pan inconsistent, but when they are on, they are fun to watch.
I don't think there were many choices for riders if you think about it. I've read that the riders available that have the skill set to ride a 800cc GP bike are very limited. Hopkins turned down this ride once before this year didn't he? He is one I would have liked to have seen take a wild card ride on something besides a Suzuki.
I'm interested to see if Ben out places Elias... either way, the writing is on the wall for Tony unfortunately.
Can't wait for the race!

Agreed...I was a big supporter of Duhammel...before during and after that weekend and I really do like the Bostroms. Eric has been one of my favorite riders since I really started following roadracing closely...and he's always been one of my favorites for race pics!

I really hope Ben puts it together and shows some of the world class talent that he certainly has. Very cool of Suzuki and Jordan motorsports to give him the go-ahead. ...and yeah, Hopkins turned down the LCR ride a few weeks back to remain loyal to his Suzuki obligations...and it looks like that loyalty will be rewarded.

PUMPED for this weekend!

Anyone seeing yesterday's pre race press meeting will understand why Ben Bostrom is so popular.

He is a class act - plus he used to date Lee Ann Tweeden.