California Challenge Calls for Fiat Yamaha Team
Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix
The Fiat Yamaha Team flies west today for the first North American stop of the season, at Laguna Seca in California. With Jorge Lorenzo leading the championship and Valentino Rossi back in action after six weeks out through injury, the team is in high spirits and looking forward to what is always a favourite race for all involved.
Barcelona-based Lorenzo has won five races this season and come second in the remaining three so he arrives in the States as the man everyone wants to beat, with a 47-point lead over Dani Pedrosa in the championship. His first visit to Laguna Seca in 2008 saw him fail to finish but last year he put in a brilliant performance whilst struggling with a shoulder injury to storm home in third behind his team-mate and he is hoping for another visit to the podium, at the very least, this time around. On route to Monterey Lorenzo and Tech 3 Yamaha colleague Ben Spies will make a stop at the home of American talk-show host Jay Leno, where they will be shown round the star’s world-famous garage, which houses a incredible collection of over 200 cars and motorcycles.
When he broke his leg just a little over six weeks ago it was not expected that nine-time World Champion Rossi would be seen on track before Brno at the earliest, but the irrepressible superstar has surprised everyone yet again with a return to racing last weekend and a competitive one at that, missing out on a podium by just two tenths of a second. While not yet back to his best the Italian hopes to be stronger again this weekend and feels ready to face the demands of the spectacular circuit. He finished second last year but the memory of his incredible win there in 2008, which he still cites as one of his best ever races, is never far from the minds of his fans.
Laguna Seca sits on the side of a hill just outside the coastal town of Monterey, a couple of hours south of San Francisco. The sometimes intense dry heat, unpredictable asphalt and anti-clockwise layout provide a break from the norm and the riders are forced to adapt their style somewhat after a summer on the fast and wide European tracks. The track boasts some of the most spectacular elevation changes and dramatic corners on the world championship circuit, the most notorious of which is the infamous ‘corkscrew.’