There has been no shortage of MotoGP™ spectacle since the first half of the season ended at Laguna Seca, with the excitement coming in the form of off-track announcements. It is now time for Part 2 of this thrilling contest to resume on the circuit itself, beginning with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Scouring the world motorsport scene, one will struggle to find many locations steeped in as much history as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. MotoGP™ has been visiting the iconic venue since 2008 and this year it once again plays host to the first Grand Prix on the later side of the traditional mid-season break. Nine races down, nine to go, a rookie heading the standings and a huge 225 points still left on offer.
Bearing in mind the sheer amount of surprises and U-turns the championship battle has already witnessed between the Qatar and United States events, just imagine what could lie in store between this weekend and the Valencia finale on 10th November. It promises to be a mind-boggling mix of raw speed, staying fit and the all-important psychological battle. Can Marc Marquez handle the pressure of Repsol Honda Team partner Dani Pedrosa and reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, both now in better shape following their bruising few weeks on the run-up to the summer interval?
Valentino Rossi is not out of the question, either. The nine-time title winner may have struggled following his rostrum finish of Qatar, but was to make up ground in testing and has now ridden his Yamaha Factory Racing machine to top three results in as many races. 37 points cover the top five; when considering that figure is only 16% of what is still available, the intimacy of this battle is very much put into context.
Away from the race track, Crutchlow’s signing of a two-year contract with Ducati Team has been met with mixed reactions from fans across the social networking world. Whatever your feeling, the fact is that the Englishman will be replacing 2006 champion Nicky Hayden as he reunites with former teammate Andrea Dovizioso, while Bradley Smith will be joined at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 by Pol Espargaro. At the same time, Espargaro’s Moto2™ title rival Scott Redding has also confirmed that he will be joining the premier class in 2014, although he is yet to name his team.
Indy will also be time to welcome back a couple of familiar faces. After the immense disappointment of Laguna Seca, when a crash early in the weekend ruled his bike out of action, wildcard rider Blake Young will be back raring to go with Attack Performance Racing. However the wait has been far longer for Ben Spies, who – with a hopefully clean bill of health – is finally making his comeback with Ignite Pramac Racing, having missed every race so far this season bar the opening couple.
We have already been surprised beyond belief in 2013 and, should the recent half-decade’s worth of history at ‘The Brickyard’ be anything to go by – with four different MotoGP™ winners across five seasons – one can expect more drama…
World Championship Standings MotoGP™
1- Marc Marquez SPA Honda 163
2- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 147
3- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 137
4- Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha 117
5- Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha 116