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Laguna marks MotoGP season midway point

Laguna marks MotoGP season midway point

The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca this weekend signals the halfway stage of the 2010 MotoGP World Championship.

The MotoGP riders and teams complete what will have been a busy schedule of five races in six weekends at Laguna Seca on Sunday, as round nine of the 2010 campaign heralds the halfway point in the season – one which has already been packed with plenty of drama.

Arriving at this stage in the season Jorge Lorenzo sits atop of the Championship with a 47-point advantage, and his second place in Germany maintained his form of finishing inside the top two in every race so far this season. The Fiat Yamaha rider is also the first since Valentino Rossi in 2005 to have opened the campaign with eight successive podiums. Last year Lorenzo finished third in the race despite injuries in qualifying, and he will be going for a first premier class win at Laguna – the shortest circuit on the current GP schedule at 3.61km long.

With victory at Sachsenring in the last round Dani Pedrosa drew Honda level with Yamaha on 57 wins each in the four-stroke MotoGP era, and on a personal level maintained his hold on second in the Championship. Winner of last year’s race at Laguna the Repsol Honda man is going for his first back-to-back victories in the premier class this weekend.

Andrea Dovizioso is still hunting his first win of the season and will aim to improve on his best previous result of fourth at the American circuit from 2008, the Repsol Honda rider currently sits third in the standings. In fourth Casey Stoner is also striving for his first 2010 win, and he has a good record at the track having won and finished second and fourth in the previous three seasons.

Heading up the home contingent will be Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, currently fifth overall. Since his victory at the circuit in 2006 no American rider has been on the podium at Laguna, something he, Ben Spies – who has AMA superbike experience at Laguna and finished eighth as a 2008 MotoGP wildcard there – and Colin Edwards of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team will be desperate to change.

Valentino Rossi’s recovery will continue, although the reigning World Champion displayed in his battle until the last corner the final podium spot at Sachsenring that he is already highly competitive after his return from injury. The Fiat Yamaha rider has a single victory at Laguna, from 2008, and last year finished second, and now continues his attempt to recover ground in the Championship. The Italian and his team-mate Lorenzo will be displaying special new liveries on their M1 machines as well.

Randy de Puniet suffered fractures to both the tibia and fibula in his left leg in Germany and will be substituted for by Roger Lee Hayden on the LCR Honda team, making it a fourth American on the grid.

San Carlo Honda Gresini pair Marco Simoncelli and Marco Melandri, Páginas Amarillas Aspar rookie Héctor Barberá, Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi and Álvaro Bautista and Pramac Racing duo Aleix Espargaró and Mika Kallio will all be looking for strong results, with Alex de Angelis continuing on the RC212V of the Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team as a substitute for the injured Hiroshi Aoyama.

The first practice session gets underway on Friday at 1.55pm local time.


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