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It's that time of year again and we're back on US soil for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, TX. So far there's only been one winner, but American riders have had some serious success on home turf.
Here's a few notable victories for Uncle Sam!
1988 – Lawson’s only home win
It was Wayne Rainey who started from his first ever 500cc pole at Laguna Seca in 1988, but the win would belong to Eddie Lawson. Initially fifth before taking Kevin Schwantz for fourth, Lawson the got past pole man Rainey to set off after reigning Champion Wayne Gardner. After that, there was only initial leader Niall MacKenzie to pass to take the lead and the American eventually came home with an impressive gap back to second.
Tied with Barry Sheene on 19 victories before the race got underway, Lawson passed the Brit to take his 20th win.
1989 – Rainey strikes back
Off the podium the year before at Laguna Seca, the American hit back in 1989 as he took the win at the Monterey venue, and it was his first of three in a row. Rainey was the rider on pole position and after getting the holeshot into turn one, the number three never looked back – winning by a comfortable 6.8 second margin. Fellow American Kevin Schwantz was second to his main rival, shooting from second on the grid, the Suzuki rider had lonely race while trying to keep tabs on the winner. Eddie Lawson would bring his Honda home in third place, making it an American 1-2-3 at Laguna Seca.
2005 - Hayden’s maiden MotoGP™ victory
Nicky Hayden was in unstoppable form on home turf when the MotoGP™ paddock went to Laguna Seca in 2005. The American converted his pole position into a commanding win, leading from start to finish to come home nearly two seconds clear of the chasing Yamaha Factory racing duo. The first of those was fellow American Colin Edwards, who fought his way back through the pack after a bad start from P5 on the grid to give the USA their most recent 1-2 finish to date in MotoGP™. The Texas Tornado held off teammate Valentino Rossi, who finished third on his way to his seventh World title.
MotoGP™ Classics: United States GP 2005
2006 - Hayden doubles up
It was deja vu for Nicky Hayden as he took his second Laguna Seca win in a row to increase his Championship lead to 34 points over Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa – this time coming from sixth on the grid to steal the show. It was the Spaniard who came home second in the race, Pedrosa also coming from the second row to fight his way to that second step of the podium. Rounding out the podium was Marco Melandri on board his Fortuna Honda, beating American Kenny Roberts Jnr to the rostrum.
Hayden would go on to win the World Championship in dramatic fashion, pipping Valentino Rossi to the crown in the final round at Valencia.
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