Race results – Laguna Seca/Article on US riders races at Laguna Seca.
Sunday, 22nd July 2007
Full MotoGP race results from the Red Bull US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, round eleven of the 2007 world championship.
1. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 44min 20.325 secs
2. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 44min 30.190 secs
3. Marco Melandri ITA Gresini Honda (B) 44min 45.966 secs
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 44min 50.989 secs
5. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (M) 44min 55.947 secs
6. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 44min 58.631 secs
7. Anthony West AUS Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 45min 01.747 secs
8. Makoto Tamada JPN Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 45min 02.680 secs
9. Alex Barros BRA Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) 45min 03.845 secs
10. Roger Lee Hayden USA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 45min 04.045 secs
11. Colin Edwards USA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 45min 07.701 secs
12. Shinya Nakano JPN Konica Minolta Honda (M) 45min 13.173 secs
13. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha (D) 45min 18.735 secs
14. Carlos Checa SPA Honda LCR (M) 45min 35.691 secs
15. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) +2 laps
16. Chaz Davies GBR Pramac d'Antin MotoGP (B) +3 laps
Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team (M) 23 laps completed
Miguel DuHamel USA Gresini Honda (B) 12 laps completed
Kurtis Roberts USA Team Roberts (M) 7 laps completed
Loris Capirossi ITA Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 4 laps completed
Wild card provides solace for US fans.
Monday, 23rd July 2007
American MotoGP fans may have expected the Hayden name to feature highly in the Red Bull USGP results, but few would have anticipated it to be Roger Lee, rather than Nicky, who upheld national honour at Laguna Seca.
A wild card entry with Kawasaki, Hayden Jr put in a solid performance on his MotoGP debut, and his hard work paid dividends when he crossed the line in tenth position, the highest-placed American rider after the others either self-destructed or struggled mechanically.
After a single day's test with the Ninja in Japan at the beginning of July, Hayden had little seat time on the bike he would ride at Laguna Seca, but didn't let that stop him from battling with the series regulars, narrowly missing out on ninth place at the chequered flag, having only been passed by the vastly more experienced Alex Barros at the very final corner.
"I didn't have a great start because, when the lights went off, it took a few seconds for it to click, what I was supposed to do!" Hayden admitted, "After that, I just tried to run a consistent race. It's a shame Barros got me at the last corner, but top ten is a good result and I feel like I've learned a lot.
"The Bridgestone tyres worked well, the bike was excellent and my whole team really did a good job and let me take things slowly, working at my own pace. I really enjoyed the bike and, even though it's been a very busy weekend, it's been an awesome experience - I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity. I wouldn't change it for anything and I want to say thanks to whole team for making it so easy for me."
Elder brother Nicky had been hopeful of an improved showing in front of his home fans, especially as he was carrying the #1 plate on home soil for the first time since clinching last year's world title. However, things went sour on the opening lap, as Hayden's Repsol Honda clashed with fellow countryman John Hopkins in turn two, decking the Rizla Suzuki and breaking his own screen, dropping him through the field and damaging his front brake adjuster in the process.
The 25-year old rode on valiantly, despite experiencing time-sapping softness in the brake lever which he could do nothing about due to the damaged adjuster, but eventually decided that it was too dangerous to continue.
“It's such a shame to get this result at my home race - for me, the team and for the fans," he sighed, "It's certainly been a tough season and this is just the way things seem to be going.
"I don't want to say too much about [what happened with Hopkins] because it isn't going to make things any different - we'll leave the incident at that. Luckily, I didn't get hurt because I took big impact on my leg. The main thing is that it damaged my brake cable and, after three laps, my brakes just went softer and softer and the adjuster was broken, which meant I couldn't take any of the slack out of it.
"I carried on riding in case there was a red flag but, once I went a lap down, I wasn't going to get in the leaders' way with the brakes going off. I'm not going to do that to anybody, so I brought it in the pits. We had some good momentum going with a couple of podiums in a row, so it's a shame for all the fans because - the support here was unreal.”
With Hopkins out on the opening lap, it appeared that Yamaha's Colin Edwards would be left to uphold US honour but, like team-mate Valentino Rossi, the 'Texan Tornado' found his bike a handful on Michelin tyres unsuited to the resurfaced Laguna Seca layout.
Edwards initially looked comfortable in sixth, running there for much of the race, but, as his tyres lost performance in the latter stages, he was caught by a collection of riders and relegated to eleventh.
"I think it was pretty obvious to everyone that we were struggling - and why," he sighed, "We had a problem all weekend and we changed the bike in every possible way to try to work around it but, unfortunately, it proved impossible. We went round in circles, but we couldn't change the underlying problem that we had no grip.
"I'm pretty disappointed that this happened at my home race, with all my family and friends here, and it's a great pity we couldn't give the American fans more to cheer about today."
A sentiment echoed by all but one of the US contingent, which was further depleted when stand-in rider Miguel DuHamel was also forced to withdraw.
"I gave it everything I could at the start of the race, but I couldn't get on the pace," the AMA Superbike regular admitted, "I just wasn't comfortable on the bike and I was worried I was either going to crash it or get in the way of another rider. Neither of those options was particularly appealing so I decided the best thing was to pull out of the race."