MotoGP qualifying press conference Indy
2009 RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GP PRESS CONFERENCE – Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009
Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi (MotoGP)
Mike Di Meglio (250cc), Julian Simon (125cc)
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, a warm welcome to the Front Row Press Conference, of course, for the MotoGP race and also the 125s and the 250s for this Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, of course, here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In pole position in the MotoGP class, he’s got a good record in America. He won the race at Laguna Seca a couple of months ago; tremendous performance by Dani Pedrosa in practice and in qualifying. Joining him on the front row of the grid, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, of course both of them riding the Fiat Yamaha.
In the 250cc class and the 125cc class, a great day for the Aspar Aprilia team. And what a day for Mike Di Meglio, his first ever 250cc pole position. Of course, Mike is the current 250cc World Champion.
And in the 125cc class, Julian Simon. He leads the World Championship, and it’s his fifth pole position of the season.
The BMW Award for the MotoGP best qualifier, Jorge Lorenzo has just opened a slight lead now; Jorge Lorenzo on 244, Valentino Rossi on 240. So four points between the Fiat Yamaha riders.
Tissot, of course, the official timekeepers of MotoGP. We always thank them for that. To make the presentation today, Anthony Biglizo, a strategic partnership for the U.S. for Tissot. We’d like to make the first award of the watch to the man who’s in pole position for the 125cc class, Julian Simon. Thank you, Anthony. (Applause)
For the 250cc class, it’s been quite a session for Mike Di Meglio, a crash in the qualifying session but the very first pole position in the 250cc class, Mike Di Meglio, ladies and gentlemen. (Applause)
Thank you, Mike.
The MotoGP class, Dani Pedrosa, as I say, won the race in Laguna Seca, he’s dominated practice and qualifying and is in pole position here. (Applause)
DANI PEDROSA: Yes, it’s been great. The practice I think we did a good job, even in the wet. So this was important for us. And today also in the dry. So I’m happy. I think still we have to work because, of course, for tomorrow’s race we have to look for something else. I think the other riders sure will keep them working and try to improve tomorrow.
MODERATOR: I think the weather forecast is pretty good tomorrow. Perhaps a little bit cooler, but that’s not going to be a problem like last year.
PEDROSA: Yeah, last year, I think, was special, you know because that was hard. But I mean, looks much more nice, so this is good for, I think, everybody.
MODERATOR: On the circuit, quite a few riders had a few problems, I think the bump at Turn 16 was the one that caused a lot of problems. You have to concentrate very, very hard around there.
PEDROSA: Yes, there are some big bumps, you must concentrate and try to avoid them. But, of course, they are there and you cannot really do many things to avoid them. But, I mean, it’s like this.
MODERATOR: You won Laguna Seca in America. We’re back here, it’s a very different circuit, but you seem to like it very much indeed.
PEDROSA: Yeah, Laguna was great, and here we are doing great job, also. Maybe, I don’t know how you say it in English, but I think it’s great to be in front. I think in practice already it’s difficult to beat the Yamahas, so I think for us the practice went well and that’s all.
MODERATOR: Yeah, you would imagine pretty certain the two guys sitting beside you, that’s probably going to be the race tomorrow.
PEDROSA: Yes, sure. Also, I think De Angelis is doing great, but, of course, with the Yamahas we have to focus.
MODERATOR: Dani, thanks very much. And congratulations on pole position.
Second fastest, ladies and gentlemen, Jorge Lorenzo, of course riding the Fiat Yamaha. Jorge, really, really good start for the session for you. Again, a lot of fast laps and a great number of laps as well.
JORGE LORENZO: Yeah, we make a big improvement at the beginning of the session, compared to the morning. We very far to the first position in the morning, but now we are a little bit more close. So we hope to improve a bit for tomorrow, especially in corners we have some difficulty. I think in three parts of the track we struggle a little bit, but our pace for the race is good, and our confidence is very high.
MODERATOR: What about the circuit? This is the first time we’ve spoken to you over the weekend. Do you like the circuit?
LORENZO: Yeah, it’s nice to be here in the USA, because it’s a nice country, a big country, and for the MotoGP it’s very important to make a good show here.
MODERATOR: A special helmet for you that you have worn to signify that you are in America?
LORENZO: Yeah, I wanted to use this helmet in Laguna Seca, but it was not possible. So at the end we make a helmet with some little things that I don’t like, but for next year for sure I will improve the helmet.
MODERATOR: A big race for you, Jorge, obviously disappointment at Donington and Brno, so an important race for you to score points for you.
LORENZO: Yeah, for sure, I crash because I want to win, but now the philosophy is different. Now we have to concentrate in finishing races and try to be second in the championship.
MODERATOR: And a big week for you. You made a very big decision, I spoke to you earlier, you said you change your mind every day for a number of days, but you’re obviously happy with the decision to stay with Yamaha.
LORENZO: Yeah, for sure. When you are looking for your future in the one or two years, you have to be very calm, very quiet to decide the right decision. But I think we take the right decision, and now we are more quiet and more focused to the track.
MODERATOR: Jorge, thank you very much indeed.
We come to third fastest, ladies and gentlemen, completing the front row of the grid. Of course, Valentino Rossi won the race here last year. Quite a tough weekend for you, Valentino. You just got there at the end past Alex De Angelis for the front row start.
VALENTINO ROSSI: (Speaks in Italian.) (Laughter) Ciao, ciao.
MODERATOR: Marco had already told us.
ROSSI: Yeah. But, anyway, speaking serious, is a difficult day for us. We strike quite a lot already from this morning. This afternoon we try to fix the setting of the bike, but we are a little bit in trouble because I’m not able to ride like I want. I’m not strong enough in the pace, and also in the lap with the soft tires. So the first row is so important. I’m happy because I beat De Angelis in the last moment and tomorrow start in the first row will be very important for the race. Now we have to understand, we have to check the data for improve our pace because anyway Dani is very strong. But Jorge is stronger compared to us with the same bike. So we have to understand why, and we have to try to be more strong for tomorrow and arrive — make other important point for the championship.
MODERATOR: And the morning warm-up, as always, seems to you so very important. You seem to be able to make those changes.
ROSSI: Yeah, for sure, because we arrive with the great memories from last year, but today the lap time, also the pace is more than two seconds quicker than last year. So we have to throw away all the remember and improve our setting. I don’t feel confident with the bike, especially with the rear using soft or hard tire. Anyway, I don’t have enough grip for push a lot. I think it will be a tough, tough race for the rear tire tomorrow for the 28 laps because this surface is big abrasion on the tire, so it’s possible also see some good spin, I think. But we need to improve our pace because like this we are not able to fight for the victory.
MODERATOR: Did this morning’s Dani’s pace and the pace of the Honda surprise you?
ROSSI: I think from Brno when arrive the new rule of the engine, we lose a little bit in acceleration compared to Honda. But especially Dani here is very fast also in the corners, so it looks like he fix his problem and then become so, so strong, also a little bit too much. (Laughter)
MODERATOR: Thank you, Valentino. Congratulations. 40, wasn’t it?
ROSSI: Four zero, yes. (Laughter)
We come to the 250cc class, ladies and gentlemen. Mike Di Meglio, first pole position in the 250cc class, but it was a very difficult session for you, wasn’t it? First the crash and then the pole position.
MIKE DI MEGLIO: Yes, I feel the bike very well, and I can push. And I can also go for position for one time and after I try to push too much and some braking, and I did a mistake, but I’m very happy because I have the time for come back in the box and my bike was OK. I’m very happy of this lap because I try to do my best. Normally I don’t do so much for pole position, I need all time to work for the race and to understand all the best my bike for try to have a good run.
MODERATOR: Apart from the weekend, apart from the crashes, there’s been some good times for you, hasn’t there? It’s looked impressive throughout the weekend.
DI MEGLIO: Yes, on the weekend we are on the top, and we are a good bike, I think good for the race. I hope to drive and to keep the best what I can and so much is important tomorrow is the start because sometimes I lose so many place and I need to push. But we’ll see tomorrow.
MODERATOR: Mike, thank you. Congratulations.
To the 125cc class, ladies and gentlemen, Julian Simon. Julian leading the World Championship, this is his fifth pole position of the season. So things looking pretty good for you at the moment, Julian.
JULIAN SIMON: Yeah, I’m happy for this pole because yesterday was a little bit problem with the suspension. And, also, my position yesterday was a little bit later, so happy for this point. Also for my bike because today was very good. The team did very good work. And my object for tomorrow is start very good and make the maximum, make a good race. But the more important is finish for take the points.
MODERATOR: I think in Brno we saw that you do have the championship in your mind and you would take 20 or 16 points if you have to rather than push too hard to win.
SIMON: Yeah, if it’s possible to win, I try for this. But it’s difficult, maybe better to finish and take the maximum points. This track is difficult at the moment for me. I like but this some parts is difficult. So, yeah, my objective for tomorrow is to finish because, also, many riders sure tomorrow stay in the front. And, yeah, my objective is finish the race and try to win, sure.
MODERATOR: And it’s a very, very long track from the final corner to the finish line, and for 125s that could be very, very interesting.
SIMON: Yeah, very interesting. Only also all race I think is very interesting for tomorrow because many riders stay in the same time. So tomorrow nice racing 125s, sure. And the last corner, to arrive to the finish, sure very interesting, yeah.
MODERATOR: I’m sure it will be very interesting. Thank you, Julian. It’s a great day for the Aspar Team and the 250 and 125 pole positions.
Any questions from the floor, ladies and gentlemen? Put your hands up, the microphone will come your way.
Q: This is for Dani. You guys came close today to hitting 200 miles per hour there on the trap speed on the front straightaway. Do you think you can get to 200, and is it kind of important at a place where speed is very, very famous?
PEDROSA: I mean I don’t know tomorrow, only if the wind change maybe we can go faster in the top speed spot. But other than that, I don’t think from today you cannot really improve. In the corners you can try, but straight line is maybe what we have now.
MODERATOR: Anybody else, ladies and gentlemen? One at the back here, yeah.
Q: MotoGP riders, have you already decided for soft or hard tires? It seems that here is the first track where somebody will use different tire than the other one.
PEDROSA: Well, I think at the moment it’s not really, really clear. But for tomorrow I think we have to wait for the temperature. They say is going to be cooler, but until tomorrow we don’t know. And already I think in some tracks, I think it was Germany, Valentino, I think, was on the soft, and we were on the hard. So and more or less the performance was similar. So, yeah, it can be something important, but finally maybe it’s going to be similar.
LORENZO: I am going to use the hard one, and there’s some other one. (Laughter) No, the hard one.
Speaking seriously, I think this track will be the first one to use the soft.
ROSSI: Yes, I think we have to wait the condition, but I think softer at this time is better.
MODERATOR: Anybody else, ladies and gentlemen? Over here.
Q: Dani, it would mean a lot to win here, but would it mean more to beat the two guys on each side of you?
PEDROSA: Well, I mean this year, if you want to win, you have to beat them. They are always there. (Laughter)
Q: This is really for all the riders. What are the special challenges of this track? There are no elevations here, but what special challenges are here at Indianapolis that you don’t find at other tracks?
ROSSI: So, yes, no elevation change, always flat. But especially the strange thing of this track for me is that we going opposite way. So all the corners are study for going the other way. And with the bike it’s very difficult to reach the perfect line in the entry for to have the right speed and acceleration. I think this is the most difficult things. And Turn 1, Turn 5, your entry is so fast with a lot of bumps, you cross three or four different type of surface and this is another big problem.
Q: Valentino, could you address the 200-mile per hour barrier? What would it mean if you guys were able to break that here in America?
ROSSI: Yes, I don’t know how much we miles do today.
ROSSI: Maybe tomorrow, Dani, with the slipstream is possible, no? (Laughter)
But we always used to calculate in kilometers, so for us it’s different. For us is already good, go over the barrier of 300 kilometers per hour.
Q: For Valentino and Jorge. Do you think that Dani could have the good pace to run away alone as well as in Laguna and what you can do?
ROSSI: About me, so about practice I think that Jorge is not so far from Dani in the race pace. And so before we have to try to go like Jorge. So we know that Dani from the pole position always make a good start and looks like he’s OK. For sure, he will push from the first, from the first turn. So for sure the work will be difficult for us tomorrow. But we have to try.
LORENZO: For sure, I hope that Valentino don’t go in the front group, but I don’t know. Maybe if we can make another step forward, we can have a chance to win, yeah.
Q: Dani, is there any new in setting or something else on your bike from Brno that you get so big step to go so fast?
PEDROSA: No, no.
Q: Just a feeling with the track from you or from the bike?
PEDROSA: From Friday everything was working fine. We had some other situations that it was the opposite, nothing was working. But here from Friday in the wet, everything was working. From the Brno test, we just test what the new — I mean the new parts they bring, but nothing new is on the bike.
MODERATOR: Anybody else, ladies and gentlemen? One here.
Q: Dani, the new parts are the new swingarm and you were testing in Brno?
PEDROSA: Yes, but I don’t use. I’m not using it, no.
MODERATOR: I think we’re there, are we? OK.
Gentlemen, if you would stand for the photograph, please. Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen, very much indeed.