Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
MotoGP heading back to Laguna Seca for enticing Red Bull US Grand Prix

The MotoGP World Championship will return to the USA this weekend after an
absence of over a decade as the red carpet is rolled out at the Mazda Raceway
Laguna Seca for the eagerly awaited Red Bull US Grand Prix. The Californian
circuit has undergone a major winter facelift, including crucial safety updates,
that has allowed the world's premier motorcycle road racing series to return to
one of its most spectacular circuits for the first time since 1994.

On that occasion Yamaha rider Luca Cadalora become the first non-American to
take Grand Prix victory at the legendary circuit and this weekend Valentino
Rossi will aim to pick up where his fellow Italian left off by upstaging the
likes of local favourites Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden, John Hopkins and Kenny
Roberts to provide the icing on Yamaha's 50th birthday cake. The Japanese
factory are celebrating half a century, virtually to the day, since making their
competitive race debut and arrive at the eighth round of the current season
leading the way on all fronts.

As well as Rossi's 63-point advantage over Honda rival Marco Melandri in the
riders' standings, Yamaha also lead the teams' and manufacturers' championships
thanks largely to the reigning World Champion's stunning start to the season.
Following his fifth successive victory in the last round at Assen, Rossi has now
won six out of the seven races so far this season and boasts an uninterrupted
run of podium finishes that stretches back to last October. However, Melandri
once again proved that he is growing stronger with every passing round thanks to
the best result of his MotoGP career in Holland. After taking a close second
place to Rossi, the Italian youngster could be Honda's best bet for their first
ever Grand Prix win at Laguna Seca.

One factor that could work against both Melandri and Rossi this weekend is their
complete lack of experience at the 3,602m circuit. No fewer than ten of their
rivals have ridden there before, despite eleven years of MotoGP exile, although
Alex Barros is the only survivor from the last premier-class Grand Prix in 1994.
Barros' Honda colleague Max Biaggi finished on the podium in the 250cc race that
season, when current Ducati pair Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi also competed
in the quarter-litre category.

Colin Edwards took victory in the last of his fourteen World Superbike
appearances at Laguna Seca in 2002, whilst both Troy Bayliss and Ruben Xaus have
won races there in the same series. Meanwhile, Edwards' fellow Americans Nicky
Hayden and John Hopkins gained extensive experience of the track during their
formative years in the AMA national series, whilst Kenny Roberts Jr. made his
Grand Prix debut there as a 250cc wildcard in 1993.

Makoto Tamada and Toni Elias are both hopeful of making their first race
appearances in the USA after struggling with injury problems over the past few
rounds. Tamada underwent surgery on an arm problem in Barcelona last Thursday
after his recovery from a broken wrist was delayed by hardening of his forearm
muscle, whilst Elias has confirmed that he will be returning to action after
also breaking his wrist and missing the last three races at Mugello, Catalunya
and Assen.

Whilst MotoGP is making its long awaited return to the USA, there will be no
125cc or 250cc races this weekend. The eighth round of the season for the two
minor categories will continue at Donington Park in just over two weeks' time,
with support action at Laguna Seca to be provided by a Superstars of Super Karts
race, featuring Grand Prix legends such as Eddie Lawson, Kevin Schwantz and
Wayne Rainey, and a round of the AMA Superbike series on Saturday and the AMA
Supersport and Superstock races on Sunday. Lawson, who won the first ever 500cc
race at Laguna Seca in 1988, will be officially inducted into the MotoGP Legends
Hall of Fame on Saturday lunchtime.

Interest in one of the year's most eagerly-anticipated MotoGP events is reaching
fever pitch in the USA, where promotion is continuing this week with a tour of
Hollywood Studios in Los Angeles for Edwards and Checa on Wednesday and a trip
to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco for Rossi, Hopkins, Tamada and Xaus
on Thursday. Whilst a limited number of general admission tickets for both
weekend days are still available at official outlets, the ticket office at Mazda
Raceway Laguna Seca has now sold their entire 53,900 allocation for both
Saturday and Sunday - the first time they have ever announced a sell-out
previous to an event in the 49-year history of the circuit.

INFO 2005/90. 6-07-2005