MotoGP Race Preview – Indianapolis

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With a brief summer break now out of the way the 2012 MotoGP season hits back-to-back races at Indianapolis in the US and Brno in the Czech Republic, as we take two steps closer to knowing who will be crowned this year's champion.

The big news heading into Round 11 is the confirmation that Valentino Rossi and Ducati will part ways at the end of the season, with the two-year partnership between the Italian parties coming to an end at the end of 2012.

With Nicky Hayden already confirmed on one of the Desmosedici machines for next season speculation is rife ahead of Indy as to who will join the American in Ducati's factory team. Just a few weeks ago British rider Cal Crutchlow was being hotly tipped as riding in red for 2013, but the speculation has now swung in favour of Italian Andrea Dovizioso. One way or another the next fortnight is certain to deliver confirmation, but who do you think will partner Hayden?

With the Yamaha and Honda factory team line-ups in place for next season and Ducati's plans pending the rubber stamp, the focus shifts back to the championship race as current leader Jorge Lorenzo continues to be pursued by Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner. Stoner won the last race at Laguna Seca but can he repeat his Indy victory from last year and pile the pressure on Lorenzo further? Or will Pedrosa pull out a victory and edge closer to his compatriot?

With Rossi and Hayden aiming to put in a strong second half of the season on the factory Ducatis, Héctor Barberá – riding the satellite Desmosedici for the Pramac team – is going to try to ride again just four weeks after breaking his tibia and fibula in a training accident. The Spaniard will try his luck in the first practice session on Friday and take it from there, but can he last the weekend and even spring a surprise?

In Moto2 Marc Márquez holds a healthy lead over the remainder of the field, as the intermediate class returns to action some five weeks after the Mugello round, having enjoyed an extended summer interval. The Spaniard looks odds on to take the Moto2 title, despite there still being eight rounds left, but can anybody challenge the runaway leader?

Give us your thoughts and opinions on these points, as the 2012 season roars back into life in the US this weekend.