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MotoGP in the USA

I would love to see 3 races in the USA, Laguna Seca, VIR, and perhaps the new Formula 1 circuit at Indy. One race per major area in the country. But Haydens comment on theU.S. tracks probably preclude the U.S. from ever becoming part of this great championship.
 

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Re: MotoGP in the USA

They have tentatively announced a US round for 2004, at Homstead Florida -- I don't think it is yet a done deal though, so I haven't booked travel reservations.

MotoGP is shaping up to be a great series, and as you predicted, WSB looks to be $hit -- for 2003 anyway. Right now, there is great diversity of bikes, with inline 4s (Yamaha and Kawasaki, and WCM on a prototype derived from a Yamaha R1), 3 cyl with pnumo valve actuation, V4s, V5s, possible future V6.

For American fans, we have Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards, Kenny Roberts, John Hopkins on full factory rides, with EBoz probably getting a few shots.

Sure looks like Rossi will not have the easy time of it he did for 2002 -- with Barros looking very strong on the Yamaha M1, Biaggi on a RCV, Capirossi has been tearing up Jerez in testing the new V4 Ducati (under the lap record), Colin has made huge strides in getting the Aprilia times down, Melandri has been astounding, considering that he is jumping from 250 2-strokes to 990 4strokes.

If we DON'T get a 2004 round, someone will have dropped the ball big time.
 

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Re: MotoGP in the USA

Well Laguna is typically packed for WSB. It would be even more so for MotoGP.

I went to the CART race at Laguna Seca this year also and it was dead. Long timers couldn't believe how empty the place was.
 

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I hope I am wrong, because Nicky is one of my favorite riders, but I think he will struggle his first year -- I think he could eventually be one of the greats, but my money is on that not happening in 2003. By his own admission, he is a bit slow at learning new tracks, and he will not have had a chance to learn many of them before the season. Also, he doesn't have the rain experience of most of the European and Japanese riders. Further, he is adjusting to new tires (I think he has only raced on Dunlops previously).



At Valencia last week, he was well off the pace, even compared to Melandri who was transitioning from 250 2-strokes. If a GP were held today, he would likely not make the top 15. He certainly will get much faster before the season starts, but my money says that he will not finish ahead of Colin in any race that Colin finishes in 2003, and that he will not finish on the podium.



Again, I hope I am wrong!
 

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Re: MotoGP in the USA

No question, they could really pack Laguna. Not so sure about Homestead -- I don't know the track or the area so can't really comment.

Laguna has character and tradition, not to mention, being in California, with its strong motorcycling and motorcycle racing tradition. Of course the fact that it is within a day's riding time from my home doesn't influence my opinion at all!
 

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Cube

Oh yeah, I meant to add that the Cube has made incredible progress recently, knocking 3 kilos from the weight (I think they must have a couple more to go to get to the class limit). Colin's times in testing at Jerez are really impressive. I seriously believe that Aprilia have the possibility to challenge Honda and Yamaha next year. Of course, Capirossi's times on the new Ducati suggest that it is not only the Japanese they have to worry about.
 

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Re: MotoGP in the USA

It's only about 450 miles for me so I'm happy to spend my racing dollars there!

I went to the AMA race at the California Speedway and in my opinion the purpose built road courses like Laguna Seca are superior to speedway/infield track type places.

I'm afraid Superbike racing won't be strong this year until they shake out the formula. This seems to be an experimental year.
 

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Homestead GP

There are a few reasons that they are looking at homestead.

1) European tourist are hear now, and europeans follow the sport more than we do.

2) The power of promotion that the whole Bill France/Nascar/racetrack conglomeration

Basically the course is OK but not up to the standards of GP racing. I DOn't have any idea how they are going to eliminate all the walls and bad runoff areas to make the GP racers happy.
 

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Re: MotoGP in the USA

I had heard that also. I don't claim to be any expert on this, but my first reaction is that if FIM terminated their ralationship with AMA, they would try affiliate with someone else for the US (I am thinking CCS, which I think is somehow tied with Clear Channel).

I have not seen much commentary about this pi$$ing match, but I suspect it is an outgrowth of the (ultimately aborted) attempt by AMA Pro Racing to kick Clear Channel out of AMA Supercross earlier this year.
 

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I can not envision any FIM-sanctioned series going to Homestead. I have not been to the track in person, but the races I have seen broadcast from there did not make me believe that it could host a FIM event. The large runoff areas the FIM seeks are at odds with the concrete-lined walls of most US (read NASCAR / CART / IRL) courses.



There are three existing US tracks that could stand a chance of hosting a FIM event - Laguna Seca in California, Road America in Wisconsin, or Road Atlanta, which is in the sticks, quite a ways from Atlanta. Of these three, only Laguna has a "class A" homologation.



There was some talk a few years ago of FIM homologation of Road America, and I think that the financial burden was too great for the track owner.



Road Atlanta is mentioned as a site for a GP / WSB round, but I don't know if the track has considered hosting a FIM event.



Both Road Atlanta and Road America are fine circuits, but I believe that both would require a lot of investment to bring them up to FIM standards. When track owners consider the great amount of cash needed to get an FIM event, and the number of years it would take to amortize that cost, most of them give it a pass.



I have heard great things about Barber, and I believe that it represents the best shot at being an "east coast" FIM track.



 

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I also have not been there, but like you, based on TV coverage, it looks like it could be tough. Supposedly Mick Doohen checked out the course and several others and recommended it.



My understanding is that WSB is also sanctioned under FIM, and from my (admittedly cursory) review of the standards, I think that the track standards are the same for WSB as for GP -- which should mean that Laguna technically qualifies. Whether it meets the standard that GP riders WANT is another thing.



From what I have heard and seen (in pictures only, unfortunately) I agree that Barber may be the best shot.
 

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Re: MotoGP in the USA

I agree fully about purpose built road courses compared to infield courses -- I have seen bikes race at Las Vegas and Pikes Peak, as well as Sears Point and there is no comparison. For one thing, real race courses have elevation changes (riding up on the banking don't count) plus the atmosphere is all wrong on the NASCAR courses.
 
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