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.

thumbnail 2011 Grand Prix Laguna Seca MotoGP turn 4 thumbnail 2011 Grand Prix Laguna Seca MotoGP Nicky Hayden Ducati thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca turn 9 thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Valentino Rossi Ducati
thumbnail 2011 Grand Prix Laguna Seca MotoGP Jorge Lorenzo corkscrew

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.

thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Yamaha paddock thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Suzuki paddock thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Honda garage thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca used tires Yamaha paddock
thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca paddock suites

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.

thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Ducati Island 1098 Supersport thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Michael Jordan Suzuki thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca paddock Ducati 1190
thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Ducati Desmosedici RR
thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Honda parking lot thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Honda four wheeler
thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Yamaha sport bikes paddock
thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Ducati 750SS thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Moto Guzzi thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca sidecar thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca hill turn 10 11
thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca vendors crowds

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

thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca paddock pocket bike is that Ben Spies thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca pink Ducati Island 1098 thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Ducati Island toy thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca Ducati Island tiger Monster
thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca pink custom Hayabusa

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.

thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca turn 2 off thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca turn 2 kicking gravel thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca bad crash stewards thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca turn 2 stewards wreck
thumbnail 2011 MotoGP Grand Prix Laguna Seca turn 2 wide

Laguna Seca MotoGP 2011 motorcycle race kiss trackside