Moto GP

Repsol Honda riders ready for a re-vamped brickyard

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Just five weeks after the masterful victory by Casey Stoner in the U.S. Grand Prix in Monterey, California, the MotoGP World Championship returns to America, this time with all three championship classes and at one of the most famous racing venues in the world.

The fourth running of the Indianapolis Grand Prix will be held on the famed and improved Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At the request of the riders, the Speedway repaved most of the infield, which gives the track a consistent surface over its entire 4.218Km length. The bumps on corner entry claimed a number of riders last year, including Stoner, but not Dani Pedrosa, who won last year's Indy GP, one of a career season best four wins. Stoner and Pedrosa, along with fellow Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, return to the American Midwest looking to be first across the "Yard of Bricks" at the end of the 12th round of the MotoGP World Championship.

Stoner's dream season continued in the Czech Grand Prix where he made short work of the field and cruised to a dominant victory.

For Stoner to continue his record of podium appearances in every race he's finished this year he'll have to conquer one of his least welcoming tracks. The Brickyard may well be Stoner's worst track over the past three years and the only current track where he's never finished on the podium. In the inaugural 2008 running he was a distant fourth in the hurricane-shortened race. The following year he was on a brief hiatus while treating a medical issue and last year he crashed. Considering his accomplishments this season, his history at IMS shouldn't mean much.

"In the past seasons the track at Indy has been extremely bumpy and also slightly dangerous, so I'm looking forward to going there and riding the new surface," Stoner said. "It will also be nice to ride the Honda there, as it took a lot of work to get the set up right on the Ducati at such a peculiar circuit. I've only ridden the circuit in 2008 and 2010 and we were pretty competitive there last year, but then I lost the front in the race, so it will be good to get there, test the new surface and get to work on the set up on my RC212V."

Andrea Dovizioso has been consistently near the podium in the three previous Indianapolis races. He was fifth in 2008, fourth in 2009, and fifth again in last year's searing heat. Dovi had expected to do better in 2010, but with grip compromised by the afternoon heat the 25‰ÛÒyear-old Italian wasn't able to match his pace in qualifying. Coming off his best finish of the season in Brno, Dovizioso will be looking to strengthen his third place in the championship.

"We arrive in Indy after a podium finish in Brno and I hope we can continue this momentum," Dovizioso declared. "The Indianapolis racetrack is a typical American venue with great facilities and huge grandstands. The track is not particularly interesting, but all in all it's a very nice event. This year the track has been resurfaced in some parts, so for sure it will be much more fun to ride, as in the past it was very bumpy and there were different kind of asphalts. Last year in the practice and qualifying sessions we were fast but we struggled in the race, finishing fifth. I'm confident we can be competitive again this year. We are very motivated and focused."

Dani Pedrosa is ready to bounce back from a disappointing weekend in Brno. The Spaniard had taken his first pole of the season and was second to team-mate Stoner when he fell, unhurt, on the third lap. To that point he'd been strong in the previous races, winning in Germany and finishing third in the U.S. Grand Prix prior to the summer break.

Indy has been welcoming to Pedrosa. In 2009 he qualified on pole and last year did even better. From fifth on the grid, and half a second off the pace, Pedrosa took the lead from pole-sitting American Ben Spies on the seventh of 28 laps and romped to victory, the third of his four on the season.

"I'm heading to Indianapolis and really looking forward to the race," Pedrosa enthused. "Last year we had a good race there and I hope I can repeat this again. The asphalt has changed, so we will have to adapt to the new surface, check how the tyres are working there and look for the best race setup possible. Physically I'm improving little by little; already in Brno I felt better than in the past months, so I hope I can be in good shape for the race. Obviously the last race result was very disappointing for me and my team after such a good weekend, but we take the positive things from it and move forward."

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