MotoGP Race Preview – Laguna Seca

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The MotoGP riders had a hectic run of three races in a row before a hard-earned and much-needed break last weekend, but they're back on the global trail again this weekend with Round 10 of the 2012 World Championship at the famous Laguna Seca circuit.

Nestled on the Californian coast and home to the notorious 'Corkscrew', the US Grand Prix venue welcomes Jorge Lorenzo as current standings leader, with the Spaniard holding a 19-point lead over Dani Pedrosa and a substantial advantage of 37 points on defending World Champion Casey Stoner.

Last year Stoner got the better of Lorenzo thanks to one of the moves of the season, as he hung a daring overtake into the blind first turn. It's a very different story this time around heading into the first of two American rounds though, with Stoner trailing in the standings. Can the Australian cut the gap to his rival with a much-needed and timely victory after two disappointing races?

Dani Pedrosa pulled himself into the title reckoning with a first win of the season in Germany and was second in Mugello to ensure he remained well in touch. He's been a winner at Laguna Seca before, can he take a second of the season to really crank up the pressure on Lorenzo?

There have been a few key developments in the 2013 rider market over the past few weeks, with Lorenzo signing a new deal with Yamaha, Pedrosa a new contract with Honda and Moto2 hotshot Marc Márquez securing a step up to MotoGP with HRC. Will there be another big announcement over the Laguna Seca weekend?

Cal Crutchlow to Ducati, Valentino Rossi to renew his deal with the Italian factory, Andrea Dovizioso to step into the Yamaha factory team? Any number of yet-to-be-solved pieces of the 2013 puzzle remain unsolved, but the US GP weekend could likely see a major development occur especially after Ben Spies stated this week that he would be leaving Yamaha at the end of the current season.

Tell us what you think could happen. Who'll sign with which team? Who will win at Laguna Seca? Share your thoughts and opinions!