Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
Local riders aiming to overturn Rossi at Laguna Seca

The MotoGP World Championship paddock returned to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
for the first time in over a decade today as hundreds of fans poured into the
circuit to witness the final preparations for this weekend's Red Bull US Grand
Prix. Whilst the current series leader Valentino Rossi ended a short vacation
with a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, attention at the
Monterey track turned to the home riders aiming to halt the Italian's winning
run and reduce his 63 point advantage at the top of the standings.

Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards and Kenny Roberts will be benefiting from the
sell-out support of over 59,000 fans for almost the whole weekend, with the only
remaining entrance tickets now available for Friday's first day of free
practice, which will start with a two-hour morning session at 10am. Today the
trio set their sights on overturning a run of form that has seen Rossi win six
of the opening seven races this season as they look to follow in the footsteps
of former home winners at Laguna Seca such as Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey and
John Kocinski.

"Valentino has definitely raised the bar this season and it's up to us to step
up and join him," commented Hayden. "Personally I feel I have been making
progress at every round and I'm ready to take it to the next level. Obviously it
would be perfect for me to do that at this racetrack because I have been
dreaming of racing in a Grand Prix here since I was a kid. I came with my
brother to watch the last GP here in 1994 and if I have as much fun on Sunday as
I did that day then I'll be doing alright."

Edwards added that it would take "32 perfect laps" of the modified 3,602m
circuit to beat his team-mate as he aims to take inspiration from Yamaha's 50th
anniversary paint scheme, which features the traditional yellow, white and black
retro design of Yamaha USA. The American took victory here in his last
appearance on a World Superbike but admitted things could be a little tougher
this time around. "Troy Bayliss said that my Superpole lap record here will
last about 15 minutes of tomorrow's first practice session and I reckon that's
pretty accurate," smiled Edwards. "I'm really curious to see what it's like to
ride a MotoGP bike here but above all I want to win, that's the only thing I am
thinking of. If anybody else wants to win they have to beat me on my own turf."

Edwards and Rossi won't be the only riders sporting the colours made famous by
Kenny Roberts in the late 1970s, with the former World Champion's son also
paying his respects. Suzuki rider Roberts Jr. today unveiled a new helmet
design, half of which is painted with the yellow and black eagle motif worn by
his father and the other half in his own blue and black colours, before
signaling his intentions for Sunday's race. "It has been a tough season for me
but this could be the track where we turn it around," said Roberts, who emulated
his father by winning the 500cc title in 2000. "I have a lot of family and
friends here and it would be nice to get our best result of the season in front
of them."

Makoto Tamada joined Rossi on the trip to San Francisco before heading to the
Laguna Seca paddock and paying a visit to the Clinica Mobile. The Japanese rider
is still nursing the effects of an operation on his forearm, undertaken in
Barcelona last Thursday after he suffered hardening of the muscle following
intense physiotherapy on a broken wrist. "My physical condition is good despite
last week's operation," said Tamada. "It will be hard but thanks to the help of
the Mobile Clinic I'm sure that as soon as I get on my bike the small amount of
pain will go away."

INFO 2005/92. 7-07-2005