MotoGP will return to the Brickyard next season

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced that MotoGP will return to the Brickyard’s 2.6-mile road course in 2014, with an expected race date of mid-August to be announced later.

According to a press release from the track, IMS and MotoGP promoter Dorna have begun discussions about a long-term pact beyond next year, which marks the end of the current contract.

MotoGP has ran at Indy since the 2008 season, when they replaced Formula One’s United States Grand Prix as the track’s third major annual event alongside the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.

“We’re very pleased that we can bring our fans another thrilling MotoGP World Championship race in 2014 at IMS,” track president Doug Boles said in a statement. “The last six years have established a solid foundation for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, and we are optimistic about the growth of the event in Indianapolis.

“We are also eager to continue working with our friends at Dorna to ensure an exciting, long-term future for MotoGP at The Racing Capital of the World.”

In his own statement, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta touched upon how the legendary track’s heritage has helped “grow the popularity of MotoGP in the United States and around the world.”

“I would like to thank the organization and staff at Indianapolis for their fantastic efforts to keep the race at their track, and I am already looking forward to returning next year,” Ezpeleta said.

Spanish rider Marc Marquez will start on pole for tomorrow’s main event at IMS.

Carb Day: Tony Kanaan is fastest in final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500

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Tony Kanaan wants to put legendary driver and team owner A.J. Foyt back into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan took a big step toward achieving that goal in Friday’s final practice for Sunday’s 102nd running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

Kanaan was fastest of the 33-driver field, with a best lap around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval at 227.791 mph, more than 2 mph faster than the second-fastest driver, Kanaan’s former teammate, Scott Dixon (225.684 mph).

Foyt won a record-tying four Indy 500’s as a driver. It’s been nearly 20 years since he also won as a team owner in 1999 with Kenny Brack behind the wheel.

Marco Andretti was third-fastest (225.200 mph), followed by Sebastien Bourdais (224.815), Charlie Kimball (224.712), 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato (224.083), Will Power (223.942), Danica Patrick (223.653), Spencer Pigot (223.584) and Ed Jones (223.556).

Other notable driver speeds included:

* Pole sitter Ed Carpenter was 14th fastest (223.219 mph).

* Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden was 15th (223.186 mph).

* Helio Castroneves, hoping to earn a record-tying fourth 500 win, was 17th (222.913 mph).

* Graham Rahal was 21st (222.526).

* Former 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was 26th (221.916 mph), followed by rookie Robert Wickens (221.821 mph), carrying the mantle for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with James Hinchcliffe having failed to qualify for the race.

* The biggest surprise was 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi, who was 32nd fastest (221.374 mph).

We’ll have the full speed grid, as well as full driver quotes, shortly. Please check back soon.

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