Home hero Ben Spies put in a superhuman effort today, coming back from ninth place to take a hard fought podium spot for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. Starting from second on the grid the Texan rider was caught up in first a bottle neck of riders in turn one, then came together with Andrea Dovizioso in turn four, dropping him back to ninth as he fought to stay on the bike. Despite the setback Spies went on to deliver one of the star performances of the day, taking an impressive number of overtakes and setting some of the fastest laps of the race. He finally took the chequered flag in third place and stood on the podium to a huge applause from the US crowd. Team mate Jorge Lorenzo’s race was a battle not with his competitors but with the resurfaced Indianapolis track. The reigning World Champion continued to be plagued with a rapidly wearing front tyre causing critical control issues from as early as lap four. Lorenzo battled on regardless, having made a great start he eventually had to relinquish position to team mate Spies and crossed the line in fourth, pushing to stay ahead of Dovizioso to the line. The results of today see Lorenzo’s gap to Casey Stoner in first extended to 44 points with six races remaining. Team mate Spies picks up 16 points, moving up to fifth in the standings, just five points behind Dani Pedrosa in fourth. The team now head across the Atlantic with no break to the Grand Prix of San Marino at Misano next weekend.
Ben Spies - Position 3rd - Time +10.603
“My actual start wasn’t too bad, just a couple of people got into turn one too hot and I got bottled in. I think Dovi came across in front of me in turn four and I was just glad to stay on the bike. I never even saw him. After that happened we just had to pluck away and not get ahead of ourselves. We rode well but just needed to be up there in the first four turns. I rode as fast as I could; it was tough to pass out there as we couldn’t get it done on the straight so we had to figure out some different spots. I was happy to be able to do that and still run good pace at the end.”
Jorge Lorenzo - Position 4th - Time +16.576
“It's a shame; I thought I could reduce my gap with Casey at Indy but since the first practice I have had many problems with the asphalt and the front tyre. I've tried everything with my team to fix it, but we couldn't. After four or five laps the front tyre was destroyed. I saw the other three front riders and their tyres were perfect. I don't know if it was because of the track and I’m not the only one complaining. Now the Championship is much more complicated, but hope is the last thing you can lose. Next weekend we ride again at Misano, I looking forward to forgetting this result."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A disappointing weekend, fourth place I think was the maximum we could get out of it. It was clear that even one lap more might have meant finishing fifth; the front tyre was completely gone, that’s basically the whole story. It was also disappointing that Ben was not able to fight for the win. He did a fantastic sixteen last laps but the first ten were very hard for him after the start. I think he could have fought with Casey. Anyway, third and fourth we have to swallow and we will look to Misano.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“I think the race could have had a different final result, but the start compromised it. Ben made some great passes, I don’t think he could have done better under the circumstances. He did a good job, there’s nothing bad I can say. Jorge unfortunately fought all weekend with tyre management. He still managed to get fourth place and more valuable points for the Championship. Everything is still open and for sure he is a really tough rider and will go to Misano with good expectations.”
Consistent Edwards delivers another top ten in Indianapolis
Colin Edwards extended his impressively consistent run of results in the 2011 MotoGP World Championship this afternoon, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider racing to a hard fought seventh position at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Texan made a fast start from the second row of the grid but as the pack jostled for position in the tight first section of the 2.62 miles track, Edwards was bumped back to eighth.
He was involved in an exciting early battle with factory riders Alvaro Bautista, Ben Spies and Valentino Rossi before the field began to stretch out at the halfway stage of the 28-lap encounter.
With temperatures reaching close to 30 degrees, Edwards was left in a personal duel with Spaniard Bautista until lap 23 when a big front-end slide cost him crucial time. With his front tyre starting to push more and more, Edwards decided to slow down his pace to secure a deserved seventh place, which moves him into eighth place in the World Championship standings ahead of Marco Simoncelli on 84-points.
Cal Crutchlow's reward for a weekend in which he worked tirelessly to improve the front-end feeling with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine was his best finish since the Catalunya race in early June.
He maintained a consistent pace throughout the race having led Loris Capirossi, Toni Elias, Randy de Puniet and Hiroshi Aoyama in a frantic opening few laps. And a series of strong laps in the final stages saw him snatch 11th from Marco Simoncelli on the final lap to end his recent run of disappointing results.
Colin Edwards - Position 7th - Time +36.690
“I thought I got a fantastic start but the problem is the Yamaha is lacking a bit of grunt. I needed Fred Flinstone behind giving me a push to go faster, so I had a few people come by me on the run to the first corner. The first few laps I felt I could go faster but with Bautista sitting in front of me, I'd get close and then coming out of the corner he would just grab a few metres on me. In the twisty stuff at the end of the lap I was gaining it all back and at the last corner I almost ran into him. But by the time we got to the first corner he'd pull a few bike lengths on me again. I really wanted to beat Bautista but he started to ride really well in the second half of the race. I was on his back wheel and looking for an opportunity to make an overtake but I lost the front at the end of the back straight and that was a warning just to back off and take seventh. The front tyre lost a fair bit of grip in the last few laps though I wasn't the only one to have a problem. But I was top non-factory rider, I got another top ten and I moved up another place in the Championship, so it wasn't a bad afternoon's work. We go to Misano now and see if we can fight for the top six."
Cal Crutchlow - Position 11th - Time +57.184
“Firstly I want to say a big thanks to all my guys in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. They never gave up all weekend, even when we were struggling a little bit and it might sound silly but I don't think any of us in the garage have ever been so pleased to get an 11th place. After the bad recent run it was important to finish the race and I did that. The result wasn't the best but my speed at the end of the race was really good and I'm happy about that, so there are a lot of positives to take to Misano. At the end of the race I was lapping faster than Jorge Lorenzo. I was a long way behind him but that still gives me a lot of encouragement. Like a lot of people I had a few issues with the front tyre and in the early part of the race it wasn't easy but I never gave up and pushed right to the end. This result at least gives us something to build on for the next races, starting at Misano, which is a track that at least I don't have to learn. I've needed to finish races to gain some experience and I'm glad we did because I learned a lot this afternoon and gave the Team a lot of good feedback to hopefully improve the bike in Misano.”
Herve Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
"I am very happy with the performance of Colin and Cal today and I think both of them got the best result we could have hoped for. Colin rode full of determination and I think at some stage he could have passed Bautista, but it was difficult. It was very wise from Colin not to push anymore with five laps to go as he had a big lead over the riders behind. This puts him in eighth position in the Championship standings and he passed Marco Simoncelli, who is one of the fastest riders in MotoGP. He deserved to have a strong race in front of his home crowd and he has been pushing all weekend and I want to thank him for that. Cal was a lot better than in previous races and he did a good, solid job. At the beginning he struggled but he got a lot better throughout the race lap and at the end he was faster than the group in front of him. That race was just what he needed after the bad period to clear of his mind a little bit. I believe he had a great race and that will put him back on the track. We go to Misano now where he knows the track and that will be another positive. Today he has learnt a lot and he was faster at the end of the race than at the beginning and this experience helps him prepare for next year.”