MotoGP story lines for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP


The MotoGP World Championship is in Indianapolis this week for the eighth annual Red Bull Indianapolis GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This represents the 10th round in the MotoGP season, with the last race, the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland in Germany, having been won by Marc Marquez.

Marquez also won last year’s Indy GP.

Here’s a look at some of the storylines entering Sunday’s race.

  • Two-time defending world champion Marc Marquez has won four years in a row at IMS – in Moto2 in 2011 and 2012 and MotoGP in 2013 and 2014. With his MotoGP win at IMS last year, Marquez tied Australian legend Mick Doohan for the most consecutive wins (10) in a season in the modern era. He started on the pole the following week on his Repsol Honda at Brno, Czech Republic, but his streak ended when he finished fourth as Dani Pedrosa won the race. Marquez enters this weekend’s action at IMS in fourth place in the MotoGP standings.
  • Italian legend Valentino Rossi, a nine-time world champion and winner of the inaugural
    Red Bull Indianapolis GP in 2008, has enjoyed an amazing season on his Movistar Yamaha, entering this week’s race as the points leader. Rossi, who finished second in the 2014 standings to Marquez, has been on the podium in each round this year with wins in Qatar, Argentina and Assen. Rossi will be looking for his second win at Indianapolis.
  • Two-time world champion and 2009 Indianapolis winner Jorge Lorenzo of Spain enters this week’s action in second place in the MotoGP standings, trailing his teammate Rossi by 13 points. Earlier this year, Lorenzo won in front of his home crowd in Jerez, which was followed up by triumphs in Le Mans, Mugello and Barcelona.
  • Spain’s Dani Pedrosa, Marquez’s teammate with Repsol Honda, is the only other returning rider who has won the MotoGP race at Indianapolis (2010 and 2012). Pedrosa missed three races earlier this season due to injury, but reemerged to step on the podium with a third-place finish in front of his home crowd in Catalunya, and finished as the runner-up at Sachsenring. Pedrosa is in seventh place in the 2015 MotoGP standings.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images

Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.