One of the first race weekends of the season to have consistent weather, race fans seemed all set for some fine MotoGP racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Sunday. The positive vibe would be stricken though, as three riders hit the tarmac hard during Saturday’s qualifying. Out for his home Grand Prix, Nicky Hayden would have to watch the race from the Ducati garage, while Ben Spies and Casey Stoner overcame injuries to brave the breach once more.

With Rossi continuing to struggle on the Ducati, Dovizioso (the man tipped to replace Rossi at Ducati Corse) sitting on the front row with a satellite bike, and Dani Pedrosa topping the time sheets at the pole-position, eager to claw some points back in the Championship from Jorge Lorenzo, the Indianapolis GP at least sounded interesting on paper, though was quite the opposite once it came to actuality.

Despite the absence of local-boy Nicky Hayden on the grid, American fans were treated to a rocket start from Ben Spies, who lead for the first three laps of the race. Looking to have a comfortable pace for at least a podium finish, the motor on Spies’s Yamaha YZR-M1 gave up the ghost on the front straight, as it chased down Pedrosa’s Honda.

Dashing the hopes of the strong fan base that the Texan has here in Indianapolis, the motor failure also dashed the hopes of any real close-racing at the Grand Prix. With Lorenzo too far out of touch with Pedrosa to catch-up to him, the two riders raced to easy podium positions, while the battle for third took a bit more time to sort out amongst its five contenders.

Lead by Andrea Dovizioso, the group had to contend with a charging Casey Stoner, who eventually would find his way to the front – just a checkered flag away from a remarkable podium finish. Dovi would have something to say about it though, as he re-caught Stoner with seven laps to go. Riding to a comfortable margin, Dovi finished third, while Stoner settled for fourth, despite his herculean effort on the race course.

With the rest of the race mostly a procession, the highlights included Cal Crutchlow crashing on Lap 9, Randy de Puniet retiring with a broken clutch four laps later, and Steve Rapp on the Attack Performance CRT getting some airtime as he added two seconds to Lorenzo’s gap to Pedrosa via rolling chicane efforts. With the Moto3 and Moto2 races providing exciting racing here at Indianapolis, one has to wonder about the formula for success in the premier class.

Race Results from the Indianapolis GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, USA:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Time
1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 46’39.631
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +10.823
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +17.310
4 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda +19.803
5 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda +22.556
6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda +30.072
7 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati +57.614
8 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati +1’08.442
9 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR +1’11.106
10 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART +1’14.079
11 Toni ELIAS SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati +1’26.305
12 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR +1’40.274
13 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 1 Lap
14 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 1 Lap
15 Steve RAPP USA Attack Performance APR 1 Lap
16 Aaron YATES USA GPTech BCL 1 Lap
Not Classified
Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 19 Laps
Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 20 Laps
Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 22 Laps
Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 27 Laps
Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 0 Lap
Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 0 Lap

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved

  • BenFaster

    Okay, I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories but damn ; at some point you gotta wonder about Ben and the Factory Yamaha team – I’m thinking there is a hater somewhere on his team that has access to that bike!. How Spies has 4 mechanical DNF’s – Lorenzo has how many? oh yea NONE!

  • Something is seriously wrong in the Yamaha garage, and it needs to be sorted out. Bad luck doesn’t happen this often. Either someone in the garage wants to make Ben’s season terrible given his announced departure, or they want to clear the way for Lorenzo to win. Regardless, they’re not winning any sales with this tactic.

  • Choco

    Revenge is best served cold, or how about one year later. I would love to see Ben Spies pick up Alvaro Bautista’s satellite Honda ride and chase down and beat Lorenzo and Rossi next year and see what Yamaha thinks about that. C’mon Ben, Suzuki AMA Championship, Yamaha WSB Championship, now move to Honda to get that elusive MotoGP championship.

    Amazing courage by Stoner. Near perfect ride by swift Pedrosa, flawless with bad tire choice by Jorge, great job again Dovi, Bradle, definitely a spectacular rookie season.

  • I don’t follow the sabotage theory. How many races have Ben made a mistake this season, yeah many. It seems like he just can’t get a break.
    I agree that it was a boring race without any challenge to Dani in the front. And while everyone keeps their eyes on Lorenzo and Stoner, Dani has snuck up on Lorenzo and has a good chance to win his first championship

  • ass hat

    +1 on the conspiracy thread. with all the electrics and turn by turn/lap by lap/on the fly map changing… its got to be easy for a boffin with factory orders to nuke the thing where and when he wants to.

    yes, Spies has thrown his share down the road… but WHEN i ask, is the last time you ever saw a top level factory gp machine lunch itself like a harley sportster at a track day?

    all the bikes on the grid, all the laps of practice, qualify, racing… all the years…

    none of them have let go like that thing did.

    that is NOT coincidence.

  • ass hat

    and i appreciate Scott Russell in the on-air coverage bringing up the elephant in the room… traction control. almost all mention of it was hushed after Super Sic’s death, but watch the video- that bike should’ve lowsided long before and left everyone alive.

    here at indy- with the two different surfaces- some programmer gets a few parameters wrong, and with everyone trusting the systems so completely- when it lets go, it lets go big time.

    BSB has already outlawed it and others are looking very closely at following suite. throttle control is supposed to be
    PART of riding a bike.

  • Slangbuster

    Some good points (ass hat). Some of the crash’s reminded me of the old days on a 5oo two stroke with Doohan, Schwantz, Mamolm, Rainey, and the rest.

  • PD

    People conspire ALL THE TIME. Take away the nefarious connotation, and all “conspiring” is, is really just “planning.” When you are but a microscopic fraction of the population but own the majority of its wealth, and your ancestors upon their ancestors have had these profusely disparit-ous privileges for generations, you do what you have to do to keep the masses blinded and subservient. You necessarily must conspire, without question, perfectly sensibly, to maintain the inequitable advantages. Any one of us, under the same circumstances, would do the same. It’s human nature. Humans are pretty fucked-up creatures.

    But to lavish Ben Spies’ current circumstances with a “conspiratorial” situation deserving anything close to the “justifications” for real conspiracies to exist, is laughable. He’s had it fucked all season, no doubt. Bike’s fucked up way more than reasonably explicably. Had Jorge’s bikes had problems similar to those of Ben’s bikes’ this year, no doubt Dani and Casey would be in a two-way fight at the moment, no Jorge. That said, Ben’s also had plenty to do with his fucked “luck.” He’s made mistakes that the other contenders haven’t. He’s also perhaps not as “devoted” as he needs to be at this level to be at the top. He’s on numerous occasions acknowledged that motorcycle racing is not his priority in life, which, while healthy in a holistic sense, is not the singularly-focused, “blinders-on,” “nothing else is of consequence” mentality that one (a necessarily less “balanced” one) typically must have to be the “best in the world,” in any field. He’s stated numerous times that he does not do any moto riding/training at all during the off-season, something that essentially all other competitive, certainly “top,” riders do. You can’t really replace practice. No matter how “talented” you may be. Practice allows things to become more “natural.” It just does.

    Ben’s having a fucked season not unlike what Rossi had in 2006. Fuck-ups with bikes, tires, other riders’ fuck-ups, crashes. Nicky was super, super consistent in ’06, but Rossi was really on the top of his game. He just had fuck-ups after fuck-ups that were out of his control. Like Ben, a lot of the time, this year. (Go back and watch the whole season, sequentially. You’ll see that Rossi himself had nothing close to an “off-year” [may be with the exception of his mistake at Assen, breaking his hand, and then of course his fuck-up at Valencia]. In fact, he had, personally, an very strong year. But too many things out of his control just got in his way. Ben is seeing something similar this year.

    There’s nothing wrong or “crazy” about reasonable “conspiracy” theories. But, to apply such notions to Ben’s season this year, is an insult to the notion of conspiracy theories.

  • MikeD

    4th place in PAIN ? A winner in my book. Haters gonna hate…(^_^)

  • anti

    Dovi better ask himself the question, do I prefer the podium or Ducati Motorcycle Co?

  • David

    Conspiracy theories my ASS!

    So this year Yamaha is only putting money in Lorenzo’s bike and giving Ben the junk parts so Lorenzo can win the championship.

    But next year…..

    Yamaha brings Rossi on board so they can spend double the money and win the Riders Championship and the Constructors Championship and WTH is the other one?…I remember reading here about Yamaha wanting the triple crown.

    Teams in motorsport that have 2 or more riders/drivers want both of them 1 and 2 in the championship at all cost. It’s the best exposure for the teams or else why even have more than one rider/driver?

    Ben is one of those guys who can break a solid steel ball with a rubber hammer. He is in over his head unfortunately.

    And what’s up with the spectator turnout?

    Was there like 2 or 3 thousand spectators at most. The stands looked empty on TV. That really sucks.

  • Mitch

    Roommate came up with a plausible idea; Yamaha uses their experimental stuff on Spies bike, leading to a higher failure rate, while keeping the normal stuff for Lorenzo’s bike as he has a shot at the championship. Makes sense from a development perspective.

  • CB

    Spies better be careful or Yamaha is going to send him to BMW in a body bag. Broken swing arm, blown engine, bad tires, really? Oliver Stone anyone?

    Just a lame race. Awesome watching all those fancy bikes do laps around Indianapolis. There must have been at least six GP bikes and all those CRT Moto 2 bikes mixed in were super neat.

    Only three riders get top gear?

  • Greg

    The only thing more depressing than all of the crashes and mechanical failures was the abysmal coverage on Speed TV. Why the hell are they showing Ralph Sheheen sitting behind a desk doing commentary IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE? I can’t wait until the series goes back abroad so that we can have the international feed rather than the Speed TV clowns.

  • @ Greg: I have just purchased the video pass from the motogp website. It has been great quality so far. It wasn’t super cheap, but I don’t buy cable/satellite, so I’m still coming out on top.

    @anti: Yeah, I’m really hoping Ducati can get it together for next year. If Dovi goes there and the bike doesn’t improve, then that was a poor choice for him. So far it seems like Crutchlow will continue on the Tech3 bike?

    @David: There were over 65000 people there. The grandstands can hold 250000, so that’s why they would look empty. The stands don’t all overlook the track though, so not all 250k are usable.

    I don’t believe that Spies’ “poor choices/mistakes” have been the reason he has been doing so poorly. Rarely do riders ride perfect races, they all make little mistakes here and there. Sometimes they get lucky and it doesn’t hurt them too much, but sometimes it does. What Spies’ has suffered from has been multiple mechanical failures, which are out of his control.

    Pedrosa ran a great race, and probably deserves the title this year. You can tell he is hungry for the title.

  • Singletrack

    The headline hits the nail on the head.

    Indianapolis always seems to produce uninspiring racing. Dull track and empty (looking) stands produces a snorefest. The leadup to the racing is more interesting than the on track action. Stoners comments on the track early on were accurate too… the history of the venue is lost, running backwards, and the infield is horrible. It would be special to see at least two banked turns linked.

    There were only 12 riders on the lead lap, and no two riders closer than 2.5 seconds at the finish. Boring.

    It’s hard to believe that all that fantastic technology and intrigue gets so watered down on raceday.

  • Adam

    Greg, my thoughts exactly! I was screaming at the screen and wondering where the bikes were? hey good interviews but for gods sake show them before or after the race… it’s not NASCAR the race is some 20 odd laps why can’t any other channel pick this sport up here in north america and at lease do a 2 hour spot…