Shuhei Nakamoto Track Report

Round 12Battle to master a resurfaced Indy

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, nicknamed "The Brickyard", is the most revered motor sports circuit in the US. Success or failure here in Round 12 depended largely on the riders' ability to master conditions on the track's freshly repaved infield. At 2 pm on Sunday, under the eyes of an enthusiastic crowd, Casey Stoner set off from pole to dominate a race that gave him his seventh win of the season, his third consecutive victory since Laguna Seca last month. Team mate Dani Pedrosa also read the track right and rode a skilful race to secure second place. Let's hear the inside story from HRC Team Principal Shuhei Nakamoto about a race weekend where his riders had to battle changing track conditions as well as rival teams.

Casey's third win in a row opens his lead over Lorenzo to 44 points, an even better result than I'd dared to hope for at this point. He'd been putting in good times all the way through from Friday, so I expected a win and he certainly didn't disappoint me. Dani tried out a new setup in the morning warm-up session which worked for him, so he used that in the race. He had been way behind the leaders in qualifying, but in the race itself he recovered his form to take a creditable second. Dani had won the Indianapolis round last year and had hoped to do it again, but as they say, nothing's for sure in racing. He rode well, controlling his speed skillfully to stay ahead of Ben Spies and make sure of his second place finish.

The big topic all weekend was the newly repaved track. Casey's fastest lap was his 20th, while Dani made his best time on lap 24. Can we assume that tire management wasn't so much of a problem for them?

Well, when I checked the bikes after the race, I found there had been chunking on the left side of the rear tires on both Casey and Andrea's bikes, but no problems really with the front.

Many of the riders complained of a lot of graining. How did your Honda riders cope?

Marco suffered from a lot of bad graining, but Dani, Casey and Andrea managed their tires extremely skillfully. Andrea had a worrying moment when he almost lost his front and fell while trying to recover from getting slowed by turn one on the first lap. But he changed his approach and managed his tires very skillfully from there on, putting on a great performance with a personal best time in his last lap. A big feature of this race was that grip was excellent on the rear, which loaded the front end. Normally as the rear tire wears, speed drops off, but this time as the rear wore the bike's balance improved and that's why we saw some great lap times toward the end of the race.

Of all the Honda riders, Simoncelli seemed to be having the hardest time.

Yes. I just mentioned how Andrea changed his riding style in response to the conditions, but Marco hasn't quite reached that level of skill yet. He's the kind of rider who can produce amazing speed when he's going full on, but in the end it's what happens at the checkered flag that counts. It's his second year in MotoGP and he's only really ridden a few races perfectly so far. He has to really learn how to adapt his riding to the conditions, but once he does I think we're going to see some good finishes from Marco.

How did you think of Aoyama's performance this time?

Hiroshi was knocked back into last position in the first lap, and had to spend the rest of the race fighting his way up through the pack. Without so many riders to get past, he would have shown much better time. If he hadn't made that mistake in lap one, then I think he would have finished near where Edwards did, about seventh.

As far as we could see, Aoyama also did well as regards tire management.

Yes, Hiroshi's tires showed no signs of graining. He and Ben Spies were the riders who most successfully avoided the graining that was a problem for the others.

The next round is only a week away, in San Marino.

Both Dani and Casey have won at that course, so I have good hopes that we can continue our lucky streak. On top of that, San Marino is home ground for both Marco and Andrea, which gives us another advantage. I'm sure they'll all be doing their best to keep Honda winning.

With regards to the championship, Casey has now built up a 44-point advantage.

True, but the competition remains very strong and who knows what might happen in the remaining six races? But our eyes are on the championship, and we won't be letting up our pace until it's decided, so please keep watching and supporting us to the end.

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