Nicky Hayden takes MotoGP Victory at Laguna Seca ; Attendance down?

Nicky Hayden takes MotoGP Victory at Laguna Seca as record heat coupled with soaring prices appear to drive attendance down even though "official" figures appear state otherwise

After massive delays due to poor track conditions, Nicky Hayden won the MotoGP at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the second year in a row. In the record setting heat, Valentino Rossi struggled to work his way up to 4th place and on the second to last lap suffered mechanical failure, forcing him to park his bike on the side of the track.

Photo (right) taken at 1 PM Raceday.

The heat not only took its toll on racers and spectators, but also on the track itself. Track temperature was reported to be over 143' on Saturday, and sources told Bikeland that the fresh and uncured pavement was disintegrating in turns 3 and 9 from the heat. Problems began for Laguna Seca and SCRAMP on Friday after discovering water leaks surfacing in turns 2 and 3. In an effort to solve the problem crews shut off all the water to the entire vendor's area hoping it would stop the leak, closing all the restrooms in the track's infield. Workers spent a late night digging a trench around the inside of turn 2 in hopes of finding the source of the water. Sources also told Bikeland that over a month ago officials dealt with similar problems in turn 5 when a natural underground spring surfaced causing water issues. Laguna Seca Raceway recently spent over 7 million dollars to upgrade the pavement on the track to bring it up to MotoGP standards, but many felt that their efforts may have been last minute and rushed, suspecting that the freshly paved road surface did not have enough time to cure.

As fans baked in the heat, little to no racing was taking place for the majority of the day; instead officials toured GP riders around in pace cars announcing that the additional rider sighting laps were "fan appreciation laps".

Poor signage, overzealous parking attendants and unfriendly police mixed with high temperatures to help drive attendance at this year's GP event down by an estimated 20%. Fans could easily walk around the usually clogged vendor's area that featured large sections left wide open by retailers who chose not to return this year.

The bizarre one way in, one way out traffic plan implemented by SCRAMP worked for entering the track, but left exiting motorcyclists enraged as they were forced to travel an additional 45 minutes towards Salinas even if they were headed directly to Monterey. We were personally forced to travel an additional 25 miles to get to our house which was 3 miles down the road, however the road was a "car only road". When we asked the officer's manning the road why motorcycles were not permitted on the road, we were threatened with being cited (for what, we had no idea).

Interestingly enough, officials had no problem allowing cars in the motorcycle only access roads.


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