In MotoGP, 200 mph is nothing new, but Indy's ultra-fast Turn One gives even the best riders pause.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway has always been synonymous with speed. The sport of MotoGP is most known for blistering cornering abilities, dizzying lean angles and balletic agility. That, and lots of speed, which riders in the Red Bull Indy GP will get plenty of this weekend. Though the Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit sees a unique infield road course layout for the two-wheeled MotoGP competitors, Indy still provides some of the highest max velocities in the series.
Current championship leader Marc Marquez -- who set the highest top speed this year during his MotoGP debut at the season opener in Qatar with 214.2 mph (344.7 km/h) -- also has four of the five fastest recorded speeds so far in 2013. He's expecting more of the same at Indy. "In Indianapolis, it's one of the longest straights in the World Championship. I don't know which is the toughest speedway for the MotoGP bike because I've never ridden there with the MotoGP bike, but I'm sure we will be around 340, 350 km/h."
Last year's RedBull Indy GP winner Dani Pedrosa set the highest top speed during the event: 208.6 mph (335.7 km/h). For reference, using a larger stretch of the banking and front straight (though running in the opposite direction ), Mark Webber hit a top speed of 207.8 mph (334.5 km/h) at Indy in his downforce-laden RedBull Formula 1 car in 2007.
Unlike the Formula 1 layout at Indy, and the typically slower, first post-V-max corners at other ultra-fast MotoGP circuits, Turn 1 at Indy is intimidatingly quick. "We will arrive quite quick on the end of the stretch," Marquez noted. "And also, it's quite difficult because you arrive with a lot of speed and also the danger of that corner. It's quite fast, so we have been testing."
With Marquez and teammate Pedrosa setting seven of the nine fastest speeds in the first half of the 2013 season on their Repsol Honda machines, look for the two to battle it out at Indy with Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi for V-max bragging rights. Rossi had the highest top-speed at the last round at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, and the two Yamaha riders are also expected to debut a new "seamless-shift" gearbox at an upcoming MotoGP round.
Top 5 Top Speeds in MotoGP 2013:
1. Marc Marquez: 214.2 mph at Losail International Circuit, Qatar
2. Andrea Iannone: 214.1 mph Mugello Circuit, Italy
3. Marc Marquez: 212.8 mph at Circuit de Catalunya, Spain
4. Marc Marquez: 212.3 mph at Circuit of the Americas, Texas, U.S.A.
5. Marc Marquez: 193.5 mph at TT Circuit Assen
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