INDIANAPOLIS - Young American riders Blake Young and James Rispoli prepared for the spotlight on the world's biggest motorcycle stage - the MotoGP World Championship - by testing Friday, August 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Both riders - standouts in AMA competition - will race as wild-card entries for small American teams against the best, highest-budget teams and riders in the world's most prestigious motorcycle racing series during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 16-18 at IMS.
Two-time AMA Pro Superbike runner-up Young, from Madison, Wis., will make his third wild-card appearance of the year on a 1000cc bike in the premier MotoGP category for California-based Attack Performance. Two-time AMA Pro SuperSport champion Rispoli, from Daytona Beach, Fla., will make his World Championship debut in the intermediate Moto2 on a 600cc machine for Michigan-based GPTech.
"This is my first time here, first time taking a look at the track in getting ready for the MotoGP weekend," Rispoli said. "The Brickyard, it's really cool. The first couple laps were just eye-opening as I was just trying to take in the view, where I'm at and what I'm doing, before you get into the focus of racing. I definitely tried to absorb as much as I could before we got to work."
Young has been to IMS before in conjunction with the Schwantz School for motorcycle riders, but today marked his first trip to The Brickyard as a competitor.
"It's pretty exciting to be home here in America and be able to ride on the world level like this, and being able to do it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway makes it all the better," Young said.
Young, 25, finished 21st in April for Attack at the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas. He was forced to miss the race at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix last month at Monterey, Calif., due to a crash in practice that destroyed his bike except for part of the frame and a few other components. Young's crew has worked feverishly ever since to get his bike prepared to compete at IMS.
"My crew has done an amazing job of working together to rebuild the bike and put me on a world stage here," Young said. "I'm a young rider trying to come up and make a name for myself, so being able to ride around here and put up a good result will definitely give me a chance to showcase my talents."
GPTech finished ninth in the Moto2 race at Indy in 2010 and 31st in 2011, and 16th last year in MotoGP. But Rispoli, 22, will face a variety of challenges as he enters RBIGP weekend.
"It's going to be tough," Rispoli said. "We're going to race against the best guys in the world, and it's a motorcycle I've never seen before. It's also a track I've never seen, so thankfully we have this test so we can get further up with speed and see if we can get on the back of these guys.
"I think the first free practice is going to be kind of like, 'Oh, wow.' But I'm going into it wanting to get on the back of them, and let's learn as much as we can and get the most experience that I can. I don't really know what to expect with the first time racing at the highest level of our sport, and I thank everyone at GPTech for getting me in front and showcasing my talent."
Although Rispoli faces many questions entering the Moto2 race Aug. 18 at IMS, he already knows his strategy when the lights go out to start the race.
"Right from the get-go, I'm going to sharpen my elbows and be ready to go," Rispoli said. "It's a fight in the back, and it's a scrap. And I'm here to scrap, and I'm ready to make as many passes as I can in the first couple laps. As soon as it goes green, I'm firing out."
The sixth annual MotoGP race at IMS on Sunday, Aug. 18 once again will feature the world's best motorcycle racers, including superstars Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa who will race against American standouts Nicky Hayden, Ben Spies and Colin Edwards aboard 1000cc prototype motorcycles from Ducati, Honda and Yamaha on the 16-turn, 2.621-mile IMS road course.
The RBIGP race weekend will also include competition in the Moto2 (600cc) and Moto3 (250cc) World Championship classes featuring riders from around the world. The distinctive rumble of American V-Twin thunder also will be heard and felt for the third consecutive year on track at IMS, as the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series returns with races on Saturday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Aug. 18.
In addition, electric-powered race motorcycles capable of reaching speeds of 170 mph will compete for the first time at IMS in a round of the FIM eRoad Racing series featuring teams from across America.
2013 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 2013 Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP event. Visit www.ims.com/tickets, call (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 or visit the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.
Information on camping at IMS during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP is available at www.ims.com/tickets. Hotel package information can be found at visitindy.com/redbullhotels.