Location: Laguna Seca, USA
Date: Sunday, July 10th, 2005
Race position: 3rd
The 2005 US MotoGP took place in the bright sunlight of California as MotoGP hit the legendary and distinctive Laguna Seca racetrack. The Yamaha team had special livery for the occasion and Valentino Rossi updated his helmet design accordingly.
The race at Laguna Seca in 2005 marked the first time that the twisty and challenging circuit had been on the MotoGP calander, and almost all the riders, apart from the Americans, had never raced there before. Unsurprisingly it was the Americans that dominated on race-day – When the race started Nicky Hayden powered his Repsol Honda from pole position to lead for the entire race to take first place. Rossi ended in third place after being overtaken by teammate Colin Edwards, who put on a brave move to pass Rossi at the top of the corkscrew.
Laguna Seca also marked the first time in the 2005 MotoGP season that Yamaha raced without any sponsorship on the bikes from their team-sponsor Gauloises. The reason behind this change was to celebrate Yamaha’s 50th birthday; Yamaha Motors was founded on July 1st 1955, so the Laguna Seca round was only a few days after the official birthday. To mark the occasion Rossi and Edwards raced in retro American Yellow and Black Molly graphics to acknowledge the contributions and achievements that American riders such as Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, and Eddie Lawson, had made to Yamaha’s history. Roberts used to race in similar livery in the 1970s.
Rossi’s helmet design for the race was a simple and bold graphic based around his usual Sun and Moon logos. The helmet was in the yellow and black colour scheme that was consistent with the rest of the Yamaha 50th Year Celebration livery. The design featured a large yellow sun on a black background that started on the left-hand side of the helmet and stretched around to the back. The right-hand side featured a black crescent moon on a yellow background. The jagged and sharp shapes of the Sun and Moon added an aggressive looking feel to the design.
Lin Jarvis (Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing) explained the special Yamaha livery:
“We chose to race in Yamaha USA’s historic colours as a tribute to the American riders who have played such an important part in Yamaha’s history. It is also right that we should celebrate the return of Grand Prix racing to the USA, which is great for the American fans and also very important for the future of MotoGP. Of course, this isn’t the first time that our YZR-M1 has carried the yellow, white and black colours. Some of you may have noticed the seat graphics on Valentino’s M1, which since last year have featured his dog Guido wearing an old-school Yamaha USA T-shirt! It will be fantastic to see Valentino racing in yellow, which is his favourite colour. And this is also a big weekend for Colin, his first US Grand Prix, plus he is the first American GP rider in 25 years to race in Yamaha USA’s traditional colours. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our 2005 title sponsor Altadis for their cooperation in permitting Yamaha to race in Yamaha-only livery for this special event.”
Image Gallery of Yamaha 50th Anniversary Livery and Helmet:
The Doctor, The Tornado and the Kentucky Kid:
The Laguna Seca race in 2005 is also the subject of a fascinating documentary by Mark Neale (who is responsible for other MotoGP documentaries like Faster, Fastest, and the more recent Hitting the Apex). This full-length film focuses on the story of the 2005 Laguna Seca MotoGP – the riders, the teams, the preparations, the emotions, and the pressure that everyone is under to be competitive. Narrated by Ewen McGregor, it also provides a history of the track. Motorcycle racing fans are advised to check it out. You can pick it up from Amazon.
Check out the official trailer below:
“THE DOCTOR, THE TORNADO & THE KENTUCKY KID is the electrifying follow-up to Mark Neale’s 2004 MotoGP smash hit FASTER. Narrated by Ewan McGregor, the movie tells the story of the biggest motorcycle race in American history, the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, California. It’s a tale of extraordinary characters chasing a dream in the face of real danger, under unimaginable pressure, with no margin for error. For lovers of maximum adrenaline action, this is the pure, unadulterated, 100% genuine article. American challenger John “Hopper” Hopkins is also prominently featured on his #21 Rizia Suzuki, but DTK doesn’t flinch from the harsher aspects of a motorsport where success is never guaranteed. Thanks to the film’s all-angle coverage of on-track rivalries, it’s clear that Edwards and Rossi were the race’s undeniable highlight, battling ferociously in the final laps while Hayden was in the lead. With celebrities in the crowd (including cycle fans Brad Pitt and Adrien Brody) and racing enthusiast Ewan McGregor once again providing dramatic narration.”
We highly recommend picking this up and it’s packed with extras. Check it out at Amazon