Marky Marc leads field at IMS GP

MotoGP Red Bull Indianapolis GP, August 8-10, 2014

story and photos by Tim Hailey, with information from MotoGP and IMS

Marky Marc Marquez cutting a fine corner at IMS

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez of Spain posted a lap of 1 minute, 31.619 seconds on Saturday on his Repsol Honda to win the pole for Sunday’s Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Marquez, the winner from the pole at last year’s Red Bull Indianapolis GP, has now won eight pole positions this season and 17 in his MotoGP career. A perfect nine-for-nine in MotoGP races this season, Marquez will look to tie Australian legend Mick Doohan’s modern-era record of 10 consecutive wins. He will also be chasing his fourth win at IMS to go along with his Moto2 victories in 2011 and 2012 and his MotoGP win last year.

“We found a really good setup with the new layout and corners,” Marquez said. “We changed a little bit from last year because it’s less stop and go, and you need to keep more corner speed. So we tried to do that. And I feel good, especially for the race. I have a good rhythm. I feel comfortable. In the qualifying and practice, I’m happy for the pole because after holidays, again to get the confidence, it’s important. Tomorrow I hope for a normal race, dry race, and try to fight for the victory.”

A top-5 finisher in five of his six starts at Indianapolis, Andrea Dovizioso of Italy posted the second-fastest qualifying time of 1:31.844 on his Ducati and will start on the grid next to Marquez. This is Dovizioso’s best qualifying effort of the season. He started third in France in his only other front-row start this season.

Rounding out the front row will be two-time MotoGP World Champion and 2009 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Jorge Lorenzo of Spain on his Movistar Yamaha, who turned a best lap of 1:31.869. With his performance Lorenzo continues his streak of starting on the front row in each of the seven years of this event.

Other notables in qualifying today include Valentino Rossi of Italy, the six-time MotoGP World Champion and winner of the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP in 2008, who posted a lap of 1:32.160 on his Yamaha to land in the middle of Row 2. Dani Pedrosa of Spain, last year’s runner-up and winner in 2010 and 2012, will start on his Honda from the middle of Row 3 after posting a time of 1:32.331.

During an afternoon practice session, Pedrosa set the record trap speed for a motorcycle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway of 216.9 mph (349.0 km/h), topping the previous standard of 214.5 mph (345.2 km/h) set during today’s morning practice session by Dovizioso.

American Colin Edwards, who will retire from racing at the end of this season, will start on the outside of Row 5 after turning a lap of 1:33.625 on his Forward Yamaha.

The 27-lap MotoGP race starts at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Moto2 pole winner Mika Kallio

Mika Kallio of Finland won the pole for the Moto2 race on his Kalex bike with his time of 1:36.883. The 25-lap Moto2 race will start on Sunday at 12:20 p.m.

Current points leader Jack Miller of Australia, who crashed this morning during a practice session, won his sixth Moto3 pole of the season with a lap of 1:40.727. The 23-lap Moto3 race will begin at 11 a.m.

Bloomington H-D sponsored Jeremy McWillaims won Saturday’s XR1200 race

The winner of the first of two AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series races this weekend at IMS was pole-sitter Jeremy McWilliams of Northern Ireland, who grabbed the lead for good on Lap 8 of 10 laps.

Orient Express sponsored Josh Chism finished 11th

McWilliams’ winning margin over runner-up Ben Carlson of West Bend, Wis., was 0 .083 of a second, with Kyle Wyman of Macedon, N.Y., finishing third. McWilliams also won the first of two AMA Vance & Hines Harley Davidson races during last year’s Red Bull Indianapolis GP weekend.

The second AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series race of the weekend will start Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Can’t Stop Marky Marc at IMS

Undefeated for ’14 Marky Marc Marquez powers down the IMS backstretch to the top of Friday’s practice charts…..of course…

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez of Spain led the first day of MotoGP practice for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Friday, Aug. 8, turning a top lap of 1 minute, 32.882 seconds on his Repsol Honda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Marquez, 21, has a perfect record in winning the first nine MotoGP World Championship series races this season. A 10th win on Sunday would continue his streak and tie Australian legend Mick Doohan for the most consecutive wins (10) in a season in the modern era.

The winner of three races already in his career at Indianapolis – Moto2 in 2011-12 and MotoGP last year – Marquez seems right at home on the newly reconfigured 16-turn, 2.591-mile IMS road course that features new pavement on the circuit’s infield section and five modified corners. “We showed this afternoon that we work well on the new layout and we will be fighting for the victory,” Marquez said. “The end of the course and Turns 2, 3 and 4 feel better. I think the biggest improvement is near the end of the course. Between the morning and afternoon practices, I thought the bike was slightly better in the afternoon.”

Alvaro Bautista shows his 212.8 mph tuck

Alvaro Bautista of Spain recorded a trap speed of 212.8 mph (342.5 km/h) on his Honda during the second MotoGP practice session today, which is the fastest ever by a motorcycle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Before today, the previous standard of 209.2 mph (336.7 km/h) was set by Dani Pedrosa in 2013. The speed trap is located just past the start-finish line on the main straightaway.

Rossi digs the new IMS pavement

The winner of the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP and a nine-time world champion, Valentino Rossi of Italy posted the ninth-fastest time of 1:34.535 on the reconfigured IMS road course, and he appreciates the new and improved circuit. “For me, I like the circuit very much,” Rossi said. “The corners, for me, are a lot faster and a lot more fun. The big step is the asphalt. The surface has very good grip; it’s flat. You can control the bike in a better way. I’m very, very happy about the track because the layout is better. It’s faster and better to ride the bike. But especially the bigger step is the surface. The new asphalt works very, very well. It has a lot more grip. They did a very good job.”

Preparing for his last MotoGP race on US soil, Colin Edwards gives a the crowd a thumbs up before testing his launch

American Colin Edwards, who will retire from MotoGP racing at the end of this season, posted the 16th fastest time of 1:34.994 on his NGM Forward Racing Yamaha.

Dominique Aegerter of Switzerland led Moto2 practice at 1:37.518 on his Technomag carXpert Suter, and Isaac Vinales of Spain paced Moto3 practice at 1:42.507 on his Calvo Team KTM.

The winner of the first of two AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series races last year at IMS, Jeremy McWilliams won the pole for Saturday’s Race 1 with a lap of 1:49.370.

Action on Saturday will begin with an AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series warm up session at 8 a.m., followed by morning practice sessions for Moto3 at 9 a.m., MotoGP at 9:55 a.m. and Moto2 at 10:55 a.m.

Qualifying will begin with Moto3 from 12:35-1:15 p.m., followed by the first MotoGP qualifying session from 2:10-2:25 p.m. and the second session from 2:35-2:50 p.m. Moto2 qualifying will be held from 3:05-3:50 p.m.

The first of two AMA Pro Vance & Hines Series races will begin at 4:20 p.m., with riders competing for 10 laps.

EARLIER: New look IMS awaits MotoGP field

Marky Marc Marquez’s perfect season is putting Vale Rossi and the MotoGP field to sleep

A seven-strong ride line-up of premier class stars were all in attendance at a packed pre-event press conference to mark the return from the mid-point break for MotoGP™ and the start of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend. The track has undergone an update to the MotoGP layout since last year and that was one of Thursday’s key talking points as was Jorge Lorenzo’s new two-year deal with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Lorenzo was joined by World Champion Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro, Nicky Hayden and Cal Crutchlow to face the media.

Jorge Lorenzo is all smiles over his new Yamaha contract

With the announcement coming earlier in the day that Lorenzo will stay with the same team for the forthcoming two seasons, he commented, “I am very proud to have reached this agreement with Yamaha because it was always my priority and I want to end my career with them. I had a lot of problems in the first half of the year but I think that we can learn from this and come back stronger. I’m really fit and I’ve been training a lot over the summer, I’m fit, slim and motivated.”

Repsol Honda rider Marquez was of course undefeated in the first half of the season and he commented, “We’ve had some rest over the holidays, one week more or less but now we are ready to go again. We are excited to ride again, to look at the new layout and the new surface here at Indy.”

Rossi!

Inaugural Indianapolis race winner Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) provided his contribution, explaining, “For me the start of the season was very good. We had some good races, but unfortunately I was not able to win though our results were very consistent. We’ll keep working to improve the results.”

On the updates to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Rossi added, “I think that the improvements are quite big, a lot of the bumps seem to be gone and the new surface looks a lot better.”

Andrea Dovizioso

Also with a new deal announced over summer Ducati Team’s Dovizioso stated, “We made a new contract for two more years, next year is looking very promising. Indy is quite a strange track, but the changes they’ve made will hopefully make the track more fun and I can’t wait to race it. We have a new engine that should help with the main straight.”

Aleix Espargaro

NGM Forward Racing’s Espargaro explained his negotiations for a 2015 ride are ongoing and outlined his targets for the remainder of this season, saying, “We are looking at 2015, my priority is to join Suzuki, but we’re still working on that. Our main goal this season is to finish in the top six and maybe overtake Dovizioso in the championship.”

Nicky Hayden’s out after getting 3 bones in his wrist REPLACED! But he was around being his usual self, including promoting daddy Earl’s new book “The First Family of Racing”

Not taking part this weekend due to his recovery from surgery on an injured wrist Drive M7 Aspar’s American star Hayden is able to commute to Indianapolis by car and he admitted, “You hate to miss your home race, but this is the situation. The surgery went well according to the doctor and we’re hopeful that the wrist will be much better. I’m already in less pain. I’m not sure about when I’ll be riding again, but I will be back this season for sure.”

Intense Cal Crutchlow snapped at a reporter (not me) who asked details of his contract

Ducati Team rider Crutchlow spoke of his decision to move to the LCR Honda MotoGP team for next season saying, “Of course I’m going to give 100% for the rest of this season to Ducati. The deal with LCR Honda happened very quickly but this is racing. I’m happy with the decision I have made.”

On his own recent surgery he added, “I don’t do things by halves, so I got the operation on both my arms. It was hard for a few days, but it healed very quickly. There was some fluid and scar tissue to clean up.”

Later in the afternoon Lorenzo and Hayden were joined by the likes of Dani Pedrosa, Colin Edwards, Finnish Moto2™ rider Mika Kallio and Spanish Moto2 competitor Luis Salom, as a group of World Championship riders had the privilege of visiting the Indiana Pacers NBA team on the eve of round ten at IMS.

The action at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix commences on Friday at 9am local time (GMT -4) with FP1 for the Moto3™ class.