Red Bull USGP Day 2
We're here for the penultimate day of the Moto GP US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca and it has been another picture perfect day for racing. Both AMA Superbike and Supersport are running here this weekend in addition to Moto GP. In AMA Superbike the factory Honda team is struggling a bit but Neil Hodgson is doing a fine job on a Corona Honda that he is riding just for this weekend. On his first race weekend on the bike he posted 6th and 7th fastest times in the 2 AMA Superbike practice sessions this weekend.
You've ridden Ducatis for the majority of your career and that's where you won your championships, what are you impressions of the 1000RR?
"It's fast. It's fast. It feels very different to the Ducati, the bike changes direction really easy, it's very light compared to the Ducati which is weird because your perception would be the opposite. The Ducati looks small [and] narrow. The 999 was very physical bike to ride, the Honda is very easy to ride physically and...it's got a lot of power, a lot more power
I'm really enjoying it to be honest. It's frustrating having a 35 minute practice session and that's it for the day. I need to do as many laps as I can. Obviously I'm a little behind everybody else."
He may not be at the top of the practice times but he is certainly doing well on his first outing with the CBR1000RR superbike.
Free Practice 3
The Repsol Honda boys were in search of a solution and seem to be slowly closing in on the white hot pace set by Casey Stoner. Marco Melandri continued the strong pace he has shown all weekend with another second place on the timesheets. Marco, Nicky and Dani made it a Honda 2-3-4 but they're still about a half second behind Casey Stoner. They are now both in a group of 5 riders who are within 15 hundredths of a second of each other.
Free Practice 3 Times
1. Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 1min 22.365 secs
2. Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 1min 22.723 secs
3. John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 1min 22.756 secs
. Marco Melandri Honda Gresini (B) 1min 22.821 secs
5. Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda Team (M) 1min 22.839 secs
6. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team (M) 1min 22.860 secs
7. Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 1min 23.049 secs
8. Makoto Tamada Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 1min 23.263 secs
9. Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 1min 23.272 secs
10. Carlos Checa Honda LCR (M) 1min 23.282 secs
11. Roger Lee Hayden Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 23.285 secs
12. Anthony West Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 23.313 secs
13. Randy de Puniet Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 1min 23.333 secs
14. Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 1min 23.361 secs
15. Sylvain Guintoli Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 1min 23.468 secs
16. Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda (M) 1min 23.734 secs
17. Alex Barros Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 1min 23.930 secs
18. Miguel Duhamel Honda Gresini (B) 1min 24.626 secs
19. Kurtis Roberts Team Roberts (M) 1min 24.928 secs
20. Chaz Davies Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 1min 25.219 secs
***Caution, Qualifying Spoiler Below***
If you plan on watching qualifying at 9 pm EST on Speed Channel you might want to refrain from reading the rest of this page until you've caught the qualifying broadcast.
Qualifying - Misfortune Strikes
In what can be described as a small disaster, Marco Melandri had a rough crash in turn 3 during the qualifying session. Melandri was accelerating between turns 2 and 3 when he clipped the KR212V of Kurtis Roberts who was going slow and had gotten off line as to not impede other riders. The contact put Melandri off line going into turn 3 and he flew off the track and tumble in the gravel pit while his bike skipped and bounced into the air fence.
Melandri's crash brought the red flag which halted the session. After a check up from the Clinica Mobile Melandri was taken back to the pits and was able to get on his back up bike later in the restarted session but he was not able to improve on his initial qualifying time.
In brighter news both Repsol Hondas qualified well with Dani Pedrosa in 2nd and Nicky Hayden in 4th. Dani said in the press conference that he and his team have made steady progress over the weekend, and that indeed the package of the tires and his RC212V have improved significantly over the season (as evidenced by his huge victory last week at Sachsenring). Unless something odd happens Dani and Nicky are going to be the sole Honda riders contesting at the front.
1. Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro (B) - 1:22.292
2. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda (M) - 1:22.501
3. Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki (B) - 1:22.590
4. Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda (M) - 1:22.624
5. Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha (M) - 1:22.683
6. Loris Capirossi Ducati Marlboro (B) - 1:22.914
7. John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki (B) - 1:22.933
8. Colin Edwards Fiat Yamaha (M) - 1:22.943
9. Shinya Nakano Konica Minolta Honda (M) - 1:23.006
10. Marco Melandri Gresini Honda (B) - 1:23.018
11. Makoto Tamada Tech3 Yamaha (D) - 1:23.036
12. Anthony West Kawasaki (B) - 1:23.091
13. Randy DePuniet Kawasaki (B) - 1:23.113
14. Sylvain Guintoli Tech3 Yamaha (D) - 1:23.207
15. Carlos Checa LCR Honda (M) - 1:23.263
16. Roger Lee Hayden Kawasaki (B) - 1:23.425
17.Alex Barros D'Antin Ducati (B) - 1:23.557
18. Kurtis Roberts Team KR Honda (M) - 1:23.662
19. Miguel Duhamel Gresini Honda (B) - 1:23.923
20. Chaz Davies D'Antin Ducati (B) - 1:24.908
This concludes our Moto GP Red Bull USGP coverage at the track. Look for pictures, interview snippets, and race results in TOV-RR 5 next Thursday.