Colin Edwards gave a pessimistic outlook in terms of MotoGP's chances of breaking into mainstream American consciousness.
MotoGP currently holds two US-based events, this weekend's Laguna Seca round in California and a further round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with a future event proposed for the new circuit in Austin, Texas.
But Edwards feels grand prix motorcycling has been fighting something of a losing battle to win over American hearts and minds, dating back to 'King' Kenny Roberts, a triple world champion in the late 1970s and early '80s.
“The reality of it is that most Europeans when they grow up, their first mode of transport is a scooter. So they have a love affair with two-wheels pretty much their entire life,” explained Edwards.
“Our first mode of transport, being Americans, is usually a car. A scooter or a motorcycle is something that is either a hobby, or a maybe a passion or maybe you can't afford a car so you get a scooter or a motorcycle.
“Two wheels in America is just a struggle. And it always has been.
“Back in the old days with Kenny Roberts - sorry Kenny you're not old - back then it was all about trying to improve and make the American public more aware. But when you don't grow up with a love affair with two wheels, how do you get there?
“This is why most of our sponsors are European, that is where all of the teams are based. Trying to break into the US and do something... I don't know.”
38-year-old Edwards, a former double World Superbike champion and twelve time MotoGP podium finisher, also fears that the global financial crisis will hurt attendance this weekend - as it has done in Europe.
“I saw what the attendance was at Mugello one or two weeks ago and it wasn't that great, so I'm curious to see what will happen here,” he said.
Seven time champion Valentino Rossi agreed with the cultural difference between Europe and America and also recognised that the motorcycling industry as a whole is having a hard time.