Results - US Red Bull Grand Prix, Laguna Seca, USA

Stoner takes Laguna Victory leaving other riders in the Dust

After a brief shuffle with Dani Pedrosa the pole sitter, Ducati's Casey Stoner, took the lead in the Red Bull US Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and never looked back. Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen hung with Stoner until about midway in the race, but Stoner pulled away leaving the Suzuki and everyone else in the dust. Fast, some said "Ricky Carmichael fast", the Australian Ducati rider took a clear and decisive victory while his teammate, Loris Capirossi bowed out with technical difficulties.

At the start of the race, entering turn 2 Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden made contact with Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins, sending Hopkins into the dirt. Hayden managed to keep it up on two wheels, but ended up in the pits for repairs dashing his hopes of a repeat of last year's victory. Hopkins wasn't so lucky, and after his fall got his Suzuki machine back up and completed the race to the cheers of the crowd.

Vermeulen finished 2nd with Marco Melandri in third.

Newcomer Roger Lee Hayden finished a respectable 10th onboard a Kawasaki ZX-RR, beating out Colin Edwards who finished 11th. Veteran Honda rider Miguel Duhamel DNF'd with mechanical problems.

Overall the Laguna Seca experience was vastly improved over years past, but still needs some work. The temperature was 25' cooler this year than last, and the spectator areas were ringed with cooling fans and shade tents.

The traffic plan still remains controversial. Billed as a motorcycle friendly event, the sad truth is that it's considerably more convenient to drive a car in and out of the track. Motorcyclists continue to be treated like 2nd class citizens, being routed out of the track several miles north of any civilization while driving a car in and out is effortless and fast (we tried both).

Overheard at this year's event...

... from an officer carrying a fully automatic machine gun in response to "what's going on?" (referring to the fact that he's holding a fully automatic loaded machine gun)

"We just had an event here with over 100,000 people at it, if I have to stop a vehicle I'm not going to be able to do it with a pistol."

Our advice to Laguna Seca... tune up the motorcycle access and lose the machine guns.

Photo: Kinney Jones

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