MotoGP returns to historic Indy track
The MotoGP circuit returns to action this week as the second of two races on US soil this season takes place at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"It is always a pleasure to visit Indianapolis as the motorsport culture here is very strong and the whole city gets behind the Grand Prix with many events taking place over the weekend," said Hiroshi Yamada, manager of Bridgestone's Motorsport Department.
"The venue itself is quite unique with elements of three different eras incorporated into the circuit and it is a challenge for both riders and tyres.
"Perhaps due to its particular layout, Indy is a race where the result is always hard to predict."
There have been four different winners and seven different riders reaching the podium since the race was added to the calendar four years ago.
Jorge Lorenzo won the race in 2009 and did it in style, sporting his customized 'Captain America' helmet. He finished fourth in 2011, the only year he has not placed on the podium in the premier class.
American Ben Spies has had some strong performances in front of his home crowd, taking the pole position in 2010 and converting it into his first ever MotoGP podium with a second place finish.
Last year, Spies overtook teammate Lorenzo to claim third place.
With 257 000 permanent seats, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the largest spectator sporting facility in the world.
Originally constructed in 1909 with a 2.5-mile oval, the 16-turn motorcycle road circuit includes part of the historic oval and was purpose-built for MotoGP.
The circuit was resurfaced last year, considerably improving grip levels for the riders. Organisers also removed some undulations on the tarmac that caused the bikes to behave erratically in corners.