Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo is desperate to close the gap on Casey Stoner at the top of the MotoGP standings as the 2011 season heads stateside this week for the second of two races on American soil.
Spain’s Lorenzo is just 32 points behind his Australian rival and he hopes to narrow that margin at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“Indy is a track I really enjoy,” said the 24-year-old Lorenzo, who has seven races left to catch Stoner for the overall. “I treasure wonderful moments like the podiums in 2008 and 2010, and my victory in 2009 wearing my Captain America’s helmet.
“I am now in good shape and am ready to regain the ground we lost in Brno, where a mistake put a distance between Casey and I.
“I am really looking forward to going back to the US and riding my M1.”
Sunday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix is being staged at the century-old Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has a specially built 16-turn motorcycle road circuit that includes part of the legendary IndyCar oval.
Dani Pedrosa of Spain won last year’s race, by holding off a fierce challenge from Ben Spies in a weekend of racing that was marred by the death of a 13-year-old rider.
Teenager Peter Lenz died after falling off his bike during a warmup lap and before being struck by a 12-year-old racer who was not hurt. Lenz was competing in the US Grand Prix Racers Union event for juniors.
It was the first death at the famous Indy track since IndyCar driver Tony Renna was killed in 2003.
The sweltering conditions last year raised grip issues so in an attempt to make the track safer this year organizers put down a new surface.
“We had some problems at Indianapolis last year but they resurfaced the circuit so we’re looking forward to checking it out as it wasn’t in the best shape before,” said racer Wilco Zeelenberg.
Last year Lorenzo finished third at Indy to go with a victory in the 2009 race.
Stoner, who finished second in Indianapolis last year, comes into Indianapolis with plenty of confidence after winning two weeks ago in Brno, Czech Republic. He has six wins in 11 starts this year.
American Spies also has a good feeling heading into race after he grabbed the pole position and then placed second behind Pedrosa in 2010.
“I’ve been looking forward to this race all year; it was pretty crazy last year as a rookie to take pole and a second in the race. We’re going to put on a good show for all the home fans and see what we can do,” Spies said.