26. July 2011
At the wildest of the MotoGP championship venues Lorenzo missed victory by a hair, while Spies broke through to fourth place following a poor start.
A whopping 52,000 fans gathered at this performance by twenty-first–century gladiators at legendary Laguna Seca in sizzling California, where only the fastest racers—and not the lower-ranking 125 and Moto2 classes—take part due to logistical demands. Despite a bad fall during training, Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) performed best at the qualifications on the dynamic track, and so he earned the honor of first position to start Sunday’s race. He made good use of his leading position, remaining in the lead all the way up to lap twenty-six out of thirty-two, when he was passed by Casey Stoner.
After his unlucky start to the racing weekend, he was satisfied with second place: “Well, first of all, I’m lucky to be in second place. After the crash yesterday I thought it wouldn’t be possible to race for a little while. After qualifying I hoped I might be able to fight to the end for victory, but sometimes expectations aren’t reality. Casey was faster today, I couldn’t match his pace at the end. My physical condition isn’t perfect, either, which makes us a bit slow as well. Second’s okay; we’re only 20 points behind Casey and we’ll try again next time.”
His teammate Ben Spies, who also rides a Yamaha with an Akrapovič exhaust system, started out the race in his home country in fourth position, but following a difficult start at the beginning of the race he found himself in seventh behind Valentino Rossi: “I got a really good start but, going uphill to the steep part of the track, basically we didn’t have enough power. I got stuck behind Valentino, and I tried to get around him as quick as I could, but he’s really good on the brakes, so it was pretty tough. But I did the best I could. Once we got around him it was quite a big gap to Dovizioso, but I just kept my head down and kept going. I’m happy we were able to track him down and get fourth. It was a really good race for us, except that it just got spoiled in the first five hundred feet. I would’ve liked to have been on the podium because I think we had a package to fight with Dani. I guess that’s racing, and I gave it 100% like always.”
Currently Lorenzo lags behind Stoner in the overall points by fifteen points, Spies is sixth and Alvaro Bautista, without picking up any points in the U.S. race (he fell in the fourteenth lap), remains in unlucky thirteenth place. The next race will take place on 14 August in Brno, Czech Republic, where we can hardly wait to see the reinforcement in Suzuki’s lineup: John Hopkins will join Bautista on the team.
Photo: Yamaha Racing