Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo at Laguna Seca GEPA Pictures/Gold & Goose

After what was a relentless middle stretch of the season a short summer interval of just over a fortnight will have offered the MotoGP riders enough time for some much-needed rest and respite, before the action kicks off again this Friday at Indianapolis.

The iconic Brickyard is the venue for Round 11 of the MotoGP campaign, which is now shaping up fantastically as Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and defending World Champion Casey Stoner continue their three-way battle at the top of the standings.

Yamaha's Lorenzo remains out in front with a 23-point advantage over Repsol Honda man Pedrosa, and Stoner – who won last time out at Laguna Seca – is a further nine points behind his team-mate after chipping off a small part of Lorenzo's sizeable lead.

Still with a lot of catching up to do, Stoner will head into the Indy weekend targeting nothing less than victory, a result he took last year at the circuit. While his focus will be predominantly on closing the gap to 2010 champion Lorenzo, his team-mate Pedrosa is sensing the best chance he has had in his MotoGP career of pushing for a first MotoGP title.

The Spaniard has his highest ever points total at this stage of a season – a result of his longest-ever podium streak in the elite category after his sixth in a row at Laguna. A continuation of that run with a few victories thrown in over the next few rounds would place him perfectly for the final stretch of the season.

As the battle for the top honour continues there has been plenty taking place off the track since the previous round. Valentino Rossi's return to Yamaha was confirmed at the end of last week, with the Italian's decision to walk away from Ducati leaving a factory seat open at the Italian team.

Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso now appears to be the favourite to step into the vacated position – his current team-mate, Cal Crutchlow, had previously been tipped as a Ducati rider for 2013 – with news on Nicky Hayden's new colleague expected in the coming fortnight.

Stefan Bradl trails fifth-placed Crutchlow by 22 points in the standings and the LCR Honda rider's confidence during his rookie season continues to go from strength to strength. The German was impressive in his first outing at Laguna a couple of weeks ago and is on course to push all the way for a top-five finish in his first year in MotoGP.

nullGEPA Pictures/Gold & Goose


The Moto2 and Moto3 classes have enjoyed an extended summer holiday, having last been in action at Mugello in mid-July.

Red Bull-backed rider Marc Márquez went into the hiatus with a strong 34-point lead over Pol Espargaró and Andrea Iannone after he finished fifth in Italy. The Spaniard has strong form at Indy – he won last year's Moto2 race there from pole position and will be confident of having a similarly strong weekend this time around too.

The junior category will also be refreshed and ready to recommence hostilities in the US, as Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Sandro Cortese attempts to extend what is a nine-point lead over Maverick Viñales.

Last time out at Mugello produced an exhilarating race in which Viñales, Romano Fenati and Cortese were separated by just 0.071s on the podium – the fifth closest podium of all time in the smallest class.

Viñales and Cortese were both on the Indy podium last year and their intense rivalry is sure to roll on at the Brickyard this weekend, as Cortese's team-mate, Danny Kent, hopes for a strong start to the latter half of the season. Arthur Sissis will have his first experience of the Indianapolis track.

Another Red Bull-backed rider in the shape of Jonas Folger will return to action at Indianapolis too. The German, who was a GP winner in the 125cc class last year, has signed a deal with the Aspar team after a tough first half of the season on uncompetitive machinery and he'll hope his fortunes will take an upturn in the remainder of 2012.

Worth noting in Indianapolis will also be the participation of Alex Márquez. The young Spaniard has signed a deal to ride the rest of the season with the Italian WWR team after impressing as a wildcard earlier this season, and he has pedigree. Older brother is 2012 Moto2 title favourite and 2013 factory Honda MotoGP rider Marc.

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