To say the streets of Indianapolis were lively during the globe-trotting Red Bull MotoGP would be a severe understatement. Never before have I seen such a wide array of motorcyclists from hard core enthusiast to the casual rider. You would expect to see a massive number of sport bikes filling the streets given the nature of the race at hand, but owners of custom choppers, cruisers, supermotos and tourers also gravitated to Indy by the thousands to witness the industry’s premier racing event, the Red Bull MotoGP, with Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden doing an outstanding job representing the States.
Saturday’s qualifying proved exciting with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Ben Spies earning his first ever Pole Position. Nicky Hayden locked in grid position 3 while nine-time GP champion Valentino “The Doctor” Rossi had a difficult day with an untimely crash towards the end of the qualifying session. Even with this loss of time, The Doctor still earned a respectable 7th position for Sunday’s final starting grid. Once the qualifying festivities were done, it was time for the night life to begin and oh what a night! As mentioned earlier, this is truly one bike event that is inclusive to all genders, races and bikes. As long as you ride, you fit in. And helping to bring the night to life was the ICON Fashion and Stunt show with Jason Britton and Eric Honenshell along with the lovely ICON fashion models as well as XDL champions Nick Apex and Ernie Vigil. You knew this was no ordinary fashion show when the models rode onto the stage with their guest stunt riders, who immediately stunted their way off the set after dropping off their lovely models. This technique eliminated any down time keeping the crowd amped from beginning to end. The ICON Street Scene, for a first time event, goes in the “win” column. It hit on all cylinders as it was an “awesome blend of fashion, music and performance” said ICON and Team No Limit hype man Allan Lane. It was well into the night before the streets finally began to settle down in preparation for Sunday’s main event.
By 8 a.m. Sunday morning, the track was already full of energy and excitement for the much anticipated start of the final race with Ben Spies maiden pole position. Sunday also brought us the awarding of the Yamaha/Boz Brothers Custom Bike show with Krystos Efantis winning the best amateur build category and Tony Sesto winning in the pro category. With all of the excitement of the day, we made sure to allow time to talk with Bridgestone’s MotorSports press officer, Tom Tremayne for the inside scoop on Bridgestone’s involvement with MotoGP. Bridgestone has been involved with Moto GP since 2003. However, when regulations changed, preventing teams from developing a tire on Saturday night for a race on Sunday, Bridgestone became the sole tire supplier to all MotoGP teams in 2009. This is due largely in part because their tires performed consistently high in a wide range of operating temperatures from cool to hot. Although tire development for GP now has a relatively slower process due to race regulations, this has a direct impact on their consumer level tires. Data collected from each race along with a team of engineers and direct rider feedback is applied in developing new compounds, technologies and construction methods. Just think, the next time you’re doing a weekend track day, input from Ben Spies or Rossi may have gone into developing your Bridgestones. How’s that for a boast of confidence!