After travelling straight from the Sachsenring, an expanded 18-rider MotoGP line-up has arrived in California ready of action in this weekend's US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
Leading the points is Repsol Honda's championship leader Casey Stoner, who won at Laguna Seca in 2007, suffered a bitter defeat at the hands of Valentino Rossi in 2008 and has been fourth and second respectively in the last two seasons.
Stoner has seen his championship lead cut from 28 to 15 points over Jorge Lorenzo during the past two rounds.
“I thought I would have pulled out a few more points last weekend but Jorge nicked them back off me in the last corner [at Sachsenring], so hopefully this weekend we can take the Championship advantage back out again,” said the Australian.
“The last few weekends we've definitely had a good chance of winning, we've struggled a little bit in the practices and struggled to get our pace, but we're pretty happy with the way we came back [for the race] in Sachsenring. By race day we were competitive enough to win.”
Discussing the atmosphere at Laguna Seca and the track's layout, Stoner stated:
“Coming to this GP is unique, it's quite different to the others. I love the atmosphere here and it's just got something about it, the way the track flows. It's tricky, it's got some great points and some very difficult ones, it's a little bit slippery and very undulating but in general I've always had success and been fast.
"The last couple of years haven't been the best for us, but we've always been there or there about. It will be a tough weekend and after the last few we need to step it up a bit more, but I'm really looking forward to getting out there.”
Defending World Champion and race winner at Laguna last year Lorenzo is eager to keep closing the gap to Stoner at the top of the standings, and the Factory Yamaha rider has been highly satisfied with recent results and improvements.
“In the past few races we have recovered some points on Stoner, but we have pushed a lot to do that,” said the Spaniard. “We had some difficult situations in the middle of the race, we had been quite far from the top guys, but in the end at the last moments we gained some points on Casey.
"We must push in every session, in the race, to gain these points but at least we are there and fighting for the victory, not like at the beginning of the championship when we always struggled so much to fight for the win.”