While millions of motorcycle fans worldwide will watch the MotoGP star lap Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the upcoming Red Bull US Grand Prix July, the number of those who have actually ridden a lap on the world-famous circuit is much, much lower.

Colin Edwards recently caught up with Road Racer X magazine to explain what Laguna Seca is really like in a story for the event's official program.

For an expert opinion on the world famous circuit, there's no better person to turn to than Edwards, who has raced on this circuit as an AMA rider, a World Superbike rider, and soon as a MotoGP rider.

So jump on the imaginary back of his #5 Gauloises Yamaha YZR-M1 as the Texas Tornado takes a hot lap around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit...

"When you come up over Turn 1 on the front straight, you're in fifth gear and flying. That hill should be interesting on these MotoGP bikes, to say the least! It was almost like a tabletop jump the last time I was there," began Edwards.

"You're going downhill into Turn 2, the Andretti Hairpin, and you really can't clamp on the brakes as hard as you want, because it's going away from you. You slowly load the front, and once the brake is on, you can clamp harder as you downshift to second. Turn 2 is a double apex; you clip the inside, drift out a bit, and clip the inside again.

"You try to keep it as stable and smooth as possible coming out of there, and you go up to third for just a second, then go back to second for Turn 3, the flattest corner on the track. There are lots of decent lines through there you can choose from, so just do whatever feels comfortable.

"Turn 4 is pretty important. I crashed an RC45 there once and launched it completely over the sand trap and into the fence! It's another flat corner, so in that one and 3, you really have to be able to trust your front end. You hold third through there and get up to fifth on the following straight.

"You're braking hard for Turn 5, going down two gears to third. Here again, there are so many lines, and it's pretty banked. It just depends on how you get in and how you get out. This is a good passing area.

"Going under the bridge between 5 and 6, you're in fourth, and there's a big bump. You go back to third for Turn 6, which is pretty gnarly because it comes uphill and dips at the bottom. It's just begging for a snap high-side, and it has caught a few of the best of them out.

"You go up to fifth on Rahal Straight, letting it drift out wide, and there's this little hill that I call a jump. I think that's going to be difficult on a grand prix bike - we might get air there. It's an important area, and it's so blind. You just have to kind of know where you are.

"You brake hard into the Corkscrew (Turns 8 and 8A), which is a corner that you can't rush. You're in second, and you just have to be smooth. There is a technique to it, and I'm not going to give it to you! Ben Bostrom was really, really good through there, and I learned it once by following him for a couple laps.

"Once you understand the physics involved, it's pretty easy. Anyway, it's heavy Gs coming left down the hill and again when you go right. You feel like you can grab a handful, but if you do, it could be all asses and elbows in no time. You just feed it in as best you can.

"Turn 9 - Rainey Curve - is a really good area. You're braking hard, and it's a good spot to see bikes getting sideways and smoking the rear tyre on the exit.

"There's a short chute, and then you're braking into 10, which is a banked corner that's as rough as a badger's ass. Coming out of there, it goes from heavily banked into flat, which will catch a lot of guys out. Both this and Rainey are in third gear.

"You hold third all the way to the last corner, where you're braking hard and going down to first. It's sharp, bumpy, and slow, but it's important, because it puts you on the front straight. You have to leave room to get out as hard as possible, and then you're headed back over to 1 to do it all again!"

 

Comments

Loading Comments...