Chain problem cuts Barbera’s first race at Laguna Seca short
Mist and low temperatures during the morning warmup for the U.S. Grand Prix gave cause for concern on Sunday, but the skies cleared at Laguna Seca just in time for the race start. An evening viewing experience for European fans (GMT-7), the race was early afternoon viewing for the locals in a 2pm slot.
Dani Pedrosa had a clear strategy of a speedy start and a runaway victory akin to that of 2009, with Jorge Lorenzo attempting to chase his rival down. Pedrosa had broken free on lap six, but with 21 laps remaining the race leader was out of the day’s headline attraction. A lowside for Pedrosa not only ended the Spaniard’s chances of taking the win, but also brought the battle for first place to a premature conclusion. Nobody had the pace to catch Lorenzo, who took the win ahead of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi. Retiring from the race were Álvaro Bautista, Héctor Barberá, Aleix Espargaró and Marco Simoncelli -all rookies at the Laguna Seca circuit.
Barbera had started from tenth on the grid and as one of only three riders to take points from every round so far in the 2010 season. The Páginas Amarillas rider would pick up his first DNF of the year after only three laps, however. Sometimes hard work is not enough, and luck was not on the Spaniard’s side on Sunday. A problem with the chain of his Ducati machine brought an end to his race, in a situation that comes with the job of being a motorcycle racer. Barberá’s great showing in the first half of his rookie season gives him cause for joy over the summer break, and he will be back and fully motivated at the next round of the series, in Brno at the end of next month.
Héctor Barberá (DNF): “It has been a real shame, but we all know that anything can happen in a race and that mechanical parts can fail on you. In this instance it was the chain that came loose, and it came off completely on the third lap. I saw on the start that the bike was bucking and was dropping in performance. When you suffer a crash it is frustrating, because it means that you have found your limit, but when your race ends because of a factor that is out of your hands -especially something like a chain- then it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth more than anything. I want to be optimistic in any case, taking this setback in the best way possible; I was fast all weekend, something that I can take away from Laguna Seca. My quickest lap here was only a few tenths off the fastest race lap from 2009, which gives us reason to be pleased. Myself and the team are working better and better together with every race and this will be crucial for the second half of the season.”