- Lightning Motors' record-breaking, solar-powered bike.
Although the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is contracted to host MotoGP through 2014, rumors are swirling that this could be the final year for the race, due to poor attendance. Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., has weighed in, saying that while the head honchos at IMS will evaluate the situation following this year's event, the sixth MotoGP at IMS, he expects to fulfill the contract.
The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix takes place Aug. 16-18, the series' first race after a three-week break. As the 11th of series' 19 events, it could signal a turning point in the race for the MotoGP World Championship.
Currently leading the points standings is Honda rider Marc Marquez, who nabbed his first MotoGP win earlier this year at Austin, Texas, in only his second race at the premier level. "A win in MotoGP is not just any victory; it is something special and I was thrilled. The Austin circuit suited me right from the start," Marquez said, adding that a test was beneficial because this was a new track for the series.
Marquez remains circumspect when asked about a championship win: "I do not want to think about it because, as we have seen at the last two races, anything can happen in a championship. There is still half of the season left and we have to see things in real conditions, with [Dani] Pedrosa and [Jorge] Lorenzo fully recovered. Meanwhile, we are getting these results and there's [a] chance. Except for Mugello, in every race I have finished on the podium. Consistency counts for a lot. Perhaps this is more impressive than the wins."
Trailing Marquez in the points are his teammate Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing teammates Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. "You learn a lot riding behind them and alongside them, seeing how they tackle the races, seeing their strategies," Marquez says. "You pick up little things and then try to use them."
Pedrosa, still recovering from a broken left collarbone, recognizes how quickly his teammate picks up those things. "He does not take long to learn. [He] is the one who has made the least mistakes, and that is why he is the leader."
For the first time, electric-powered race motorcycles will compete during the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix weekend. Sanctioned by FIM, the worldwide governing body of motorcycle racing, the eRoadRacing North American Regional series that competes on three continents will make its IMS debut at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. That makes it the weekend's final race.
Series promoter TTXGP created the first international race series for electric motorcycles in June 2009. A world series was launched a year later, with regional championships in North American and the United Kingdom. The top teams from both series will compete in the World Cup Final in Asia in November.
The high-performance electric-powered bikes are capable of reaching speeds of 180 mph and have beaten gas-powered bikes in practice for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The team that fielded that bike, Lightning Motorcycles, set a world speed record for electric-powered motorcycles of 215.907 mph in August 2011 at the Bonneville Salt Flats and will compete at IMS. Powered exclusively by solar energy, Lightning Motorcycles' bike is one of the first racing vehicles with a zero-carbon footprint.