Pedrosa Manages to Crack a Smile Before Watching His Teammate Storm to Victory at Laguna Seca

Race photos by Kinney Jones

Stoner took the win in a thrilling three way battle at Laguna Seca Raceway in the 2012 running of the MotoGP in Monterey, California . Honda's Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa chased down Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo. Lap after lap, the three formed an unstoppable train that eventually blew through the back of the pack, lapping other GP riders. Nearing the end of race, Stoner took the lead as his Honda RC213V powered up the turn 5/6 hill pulling away from the Yamaha rider, all the way to the finish.

Ben Spies bailed in spectacular fashion in the corkscrew

With only two laps remaining, Valentino Rossi augered himself into the pavement at the top of the corkscrew, and sat out the balance of the race in his dirt penalty box. Rossi was later scooped up by his teammate Nicky Hayden and endured the shame of riding bitch all the way back to the pits.

A pre-race Pedrosa managed to crack a smile before watching his teammate storm to victory at Laguna Seca

Times might be tough but the fans still come.

The vendor area continues to dwindle in size. Sparing Yamaha, Ducati and Parts Unlimited, hospitality tents are a thing of the past. Kawasaki didn't even show up. Camping areas that were once packed to capacity now sport room to stretch. You can actually find parking on Cannery Row on Friday night.

Looking past that, if there is one thing this event proves it's that enthusiasts drive this industry. Despite the event not being what it used to be, with attendance clearly down, riders still make the pilgrimage from across the globe to attend. Are they really coming just to see their favorite racers? Bets are that it's not the race that makes this event, but the spirit and camaraderie you will find here. The ingredients that make a "true biker". Maybe it doesn't really matter if it's MotoGP or WSB or AMA (or Daytona?) or even electric motorcycles racing around the track.

It just might be that Laguna Seca is more about seeing some friends that you only get to hang out with once a year, sharing stories and a drink around a campfire, and enjoying the experience. And just maybe, catching part of a live race between stories and great company. Laguna Seca - and motorcycling in general - is not just entertainment, it's a lifestyle. Regardless of what happens to the economy, we're confident that events like Laguna Seca will always be there.

We hope you will too.

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Tags: 2012, motogp, ama, racing, laguna seca