Photo of the Week: Forging Ahead

08/30/2011 @ 4:33 pm, by Scott Jones13 COMMENTS

While conditions vary from race weekend to race weekend, it is rare that GP riders find themselves with a brand new track surface to deal with when they arrive at a venue. Looking to placate the complaints about the bumpy infield that have been heard at Indy during previous rounds, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway completely resurfaced the interior section of the course, which is used only once a year when the MotoGP circus comes to Indiana.

This meant that Friday practice was held on a track free of any rubber from past sessions, causing all the GP riders to complain loudly about the slippery and dangerous conditions of the ‘green’ surface. Not only was there no old rubber to add grip to the MotoGP machines, but the aggregate used in the resurfacing was still sharp at the surface, which meant tires were shredded in record time by the abrasive macadam, leaving an amazing amount of slag at some corners.

As more sessions were completed, grip improved enough that Casey Stoner was able to set a new track record, and the racing line was defined clearly enough by the dark bits of line running between the fields of rubber marbles. The abrasive nature of the new surface still caused many problems during the race as several riders retired due to front end tire issues. Local hero Nicky Hayden gambled on a softer front tire, and found that while able he was able to chase down and pass the factory Hondas for the first time this season, the softer front tire’s rapid deterioration caused him to come into the pits to assess its condition, much to the dismay of fans attending the Indianapolis GP.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer known for his great action shots and poignant candids when covering MotoGP and WSBK racing events. You may have already seen his work on MotoMatters (they still have more calendars available that feature Scott’s work by the way). Not only do we like Scott’s shots, but he fits right in with our all Nikon-totting office.

You can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook. Scott is such a nice guy, he’ll even let you stay in his Lake Tahoe cabin. All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • Awesome photo Scott. If that doesn’t put the track conditions at Indy into perspective, then I don’t know what will.

  • luke

    wonder how long it will take to wear in the road surface? Sounds odd thinking of it like that…. Got to say I’ve never seen so many wear issues in a GP race in recent years.

  • Bryan

    Won’t be going back there next year I predict. Never the most exciting racing for fans or riders.

  • 76

    Wow that there is alot of rubber, with surfaces like that if your bike is set up wrong 4 laps and a tire can be toast

  • Scott Jones is the best motorcycle photographer shooting today- his work is simply awesome and has elevated Asphalt and Rubber to a must see web site for racing fans.

    Thank you Scott Jones.

  • LutherG

    i was there. We had tickets to ride the track (with a 30mph speed cap, that turned out to be about 60mph). It was still bumpy, and slick. It would be great to have trackdays there, but that will never happen.
    I also rode my speed triple to laguna for the go this year as well. Although laguna is an exciting track to watch on the television, and the atmosphere is great, the viewing experience at laguna absolutely sucks. At indy there are large screens that allow you to see action from all over the track. At laguna, advertising on the fences blocks all of the views of corners.
    SO, Laguna is a better track, and Indy provides the fan with a better viewing experience. The problem we have in getting larger crowds to the track are riders like Stoner and Lorenzo “telling it like it is” and getting local headlines for criticizing the track, the surface, the fans, and everything else. I wish those guys would get it that without the casual attendees, there would not be enough interest in the motogp to pay those huge salaries and allow them to ride motorcycles for a living.

    As far as running the track backwards, the asphalt on the track has a “diamond finish” and has a grain to it. Running against the grain of the track is what shredded the daylights out of the formula one tires many years ago.

    The Bridgestone control tires have been the biggest fail in the history of top tier motorcycle racing.

  • Steve

    Good job as usual Scott. Enjoyed the races on Speed over the weekend but I was wondering why they left all the marbles on the outside of the turns. Would have been pretty to clean it off between races. Looked pretty dangerous if you got off line in that stuff. That being said, it looked like a good time out there. Good job with the coverage boys.

  • Rexr

    I agree with what Bryan says…….

  • keet

    i’m no rocket scientist but how is a track both slippery AND abrasive?

  • G.Irish

    I think people may be judging the racing at Indy a bit unfairly. A lot of the tracks typically have races like the one we saw at Indy. If you were at the track you got to see a good dice back in the pack and got to see a great ride from Ben as he carved through the field. Yes Stoner checked out at the front, but someone checking out at the front is common in Moto GP. At Indy the gap from 1st to 2nd was 4.8 seconds, but it was 14.2 at Le Mans, 7.7 at Assen, and 6.5 at Brno. So if you look at the rest of the season, Indy wasn’t that much of a runaway. And truth be told, this year’s race was better than most races at Laguna save for Stoner vs Rossi in 2008.

    I’d agree that the layout of Indy is not particularly interesting. I’m generally against road racing on rovals (cars or bikes). But Indy puts on a great event and the whole city of Indianapolis gets in on it. I hear Americans sometimes complaining about the event but I have to wonder if those people have been to other GP’s. Ingress and egress to the track is no hassle at all. You don’t end up in traffic jams of hundreds of people trying to get across tiny bridges. There’s more than enough food and bathrooms for everyone. The manufacturers have large displays in the vendor and some even do demo rides. Most of those things you simply won’t find in a lot of the foreign GP’s.

    I’m not a fan of the track layout but it’ s a great event and I hope Indy doesn’t lose it.

  • BikePilot

    That is an awesome photo. Imo the teams/riders are way too whiny, a few tiny little bumps and they cry a river, a fresh surface and yep, more crying. Everyone rides on the same surface, its all part of the game. Do these guys ever ride on the street? Race off road? Variety is the spice of life. I say add some puddles, leaves, speed humps, gravel and pot holes to the track if you really want moto gp to be a developing grounds for road going production bike technology.

  • Peter G

    Bike Pilot,
    What a stupid statement. This is Grand Prix racing, not moto-cross . Perhaps you need to go out there and show Casey how its done. I’m certain the teams are just waiting to sign you up.

  • MikeD

    Total Nirvana.