Riders arrive at updated Indianapolis track as Lorenzo renews for two more years
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.