MotoGP: Five things to watch during the Indianapolis Grand Prix
The Yamaha duo of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo enter Sunday’s Indianapolis Grand Prix one-two in the MotoGP championship standings, but it’s the Honda pairing of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in command at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Who will prevail in the final American round of 2015? Action from the track begins at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on FOX Sports 1.
Here are five things to watch:
Can Marquez extend his winning streak at Indianapolis and rejuvenate his championship campaign? That’s the task facing the young Spaniard who is the favorite to win his third straight MotoGP race at the Brickyard after dominating qualifying and taking pole position. Marquez needs a long winning streak to claw back to Yamaha rivals Rossi and Lorenzo, but he now appears close to his superb 2014 form and is capable of winning a bunch of races in the second half of the season. The first of those could come at Indy on Sunday.
The last time a Honda did not win at Indianapolis was in 2010 when Yamaha rider Lorenzo took top spot on the podium. That four-year domination continued in qualifying for the 2015 race with factory Honda riders Marquez and Pedrosa closing out a 1-2 on the grid. The Honda wins have been by Marquez in 2013 and 2014, Pedrosa in 2012 and Casey Stoner in 2011. The numbers, and the stopwatch in qualifying, say the Honda streak will continue in 2015. Can Yamaha, or perhaps Ducati, change that?
Will this be the Kentucky Kid’s final MotoGP appearance on home soil? Hayden’s future in the premier class is uncertain for 2016, so this Brickyard race is possibly the last chance for him to race MotoGP in front of home fans. Riding for the Honda factory team, Hayden won the MotoGP World Championship in 2006 and won the U.S. Grand Prix in 2005 and 2006 — both coming at Laguna Seca. However, Hayden has struggled recently with the Aspar MotoGP Team. He qualified 20th for Sunday’s 27-lap Indianapolis GP and sits 21st in the championship standings.
Danny Kent — Moto3
Kent is trying to become the first British rider to win a grand prix championship since superstar Barry Sheene. That was way back in 1977 when Sheene claimed the 500cc title. With five wins in nine races so far, Kent is the big favorite to win the Moto3 World Championship this year. Kent starts from the pole position after dominating practice and qualifying.
With 18 riders qualified within one second of pole position, the Moto2 race is set to be a thrilling encounter over 25 laps. Spanish rookie Alex Rins, 19, is aiming for a career-first Moto2 win at the Brickyard after qualifying on the pole. He has already finished second twice, in Argentina and Catalunya, and Rins won the Moto3 race at Indy in 2013. But it could be anyone’s race and the only certainty is that flying Frenchman Johann Zarco will leave America still in the championship lead. He has a 65-point advantage going into this race.