2011.07.27

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race corkscrew composite Simoncelli Rossi Crutchlow

At last, the Red Bull US Grand Prix weekend arrived. Above as gif.

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race highway 1 stopped traffic

Riding wasn't an option. It would preclude photo gear and clean clothes, and the single-stint return trip would have been hellish. But that didn't mean I couldn't take the Duc, indeed it would be nice to take out and to circumvent raceway traffic. I even brought a board, but it was very choppy when I tried to go out.


101 was uneventful. I cut over to 1 at SLO and had a nice, scenic drive until Big Sur where an accident closed the road in both directions. Still, I made it into Monterey before sunset. The Mariott was abuzz with the Factory and Pramac Ducati teams, Yamaha too.

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race Valentino Rossi Ducati

Friday practice was great for photography. The crowds hadn't yet arrived and there wasn't an exciting race to be paying attention to. A 300mm would have been ideal.


Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race Valentino Rossi corkscrew

Anyone will tell you that tv and xbox don't properly convey the elevation change of the corkscrew, it was worth a try. Of course, anyone will tell you that looking on doesn't properly convey the elevation change experienced on the track.

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race watching fence

There's a lot of ground to cover at Laguna, from the hill to the 'screw to the tarmac. Each part of the track offers a unique view, either because of the course layout or proximity or viewing angle.

Paddock access was nice.


Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race Turn 2 suite

The suite consisted of a covered, elevated platform and serving area. The food was pretty good and the open bar (or icy bucket on Friday) featured a decent beer selection.

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race Ducati Island coffee

Ducati Island had lots to see and do and buy. The owners' reception tent served espresso.

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race Ducati Island line

A remarkable percentage of bikes at the GP were Ducatis so parking on the island filled up quickly.

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race crowd bridge

The crowds certainly poured in for race day. Having a covered seat, bottomless well, and bathroom access was very nice. The bridges get atrocious though, Sunday would have been best spent away from the peasantry.

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race Vincent Black Shadow

There were some amazing rides to be seen in the vendor tents and lots alike. Not to mention a ZR1 and 959.


Of course, for every pristine Vincent or carboned-out MV, there's something a little less tasteful.


Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race turn 2 3 the pack

The race was pretty good. I expected some dicing at the front based on qualifying times, but Stoner's 20-lap charge did not disappoint. The Stoner and Spies passes were beautiful things. The support races weren't bad either, one of the best moments was in the 600cc race; the leaders came through the turn three abreast and got away clean.


There was no shortage of offs, particularly at our corner.


Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race kiss trackside