MotoGP: Marc Marquez Cornered

Changes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway roadcourse benefitted more than just the riders.

Marc Marquez race action shot

As Cycle World Technical Editor Kevin Cameron wrote in his coverage of this year’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, former series champ Casey Stoner was indeed right about Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s old 16-turn roadcourse. The three-surface, two-toned track was a hot mess, to say the least, but major changes this year not only led to a six-plus-second drop in the lap record, they also made the “Racing Capital of the World” more aesthetically attractive.

New tri-colored curbs, for example, are much more pleasing to the eye—even more so if you are a BMW fan. That's a good thing, because Indianapolis, while historic, isn't the most scenic racetrack. I've now shot MotoGP at Indy four times, and although action on the track is always good, unexciting backgrounds force photographers like myself to look for new angles.

Marc Marquez race action shot

Alterations made to the infield definitely helped, notably the final two corners—turns 15 and 16—before the riders enter the long front straight leading to start/finish. In the past, the final bend was a crooked, off-kilter right/left. Now it is a proper S-turn, similar to the infamous Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca but 100 percent flat, like much of Indiana.

Consensus was that particular corner combination is now much more fluid for the riders and inspiring for photographers and spectators in nearby seating areas. When a big pack of riders came through that sequence of turns, one could easily see how much their lean angles differed. While some, like Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi, hung very far off their respective machines, others remained more tucked in. It was definitely something to see.