Riders and teams begin practice on Friday in San Marino for the Misano Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship. The track, which began hosting MotoGP races in 2007 after a 16-year hiatus, is a technical circuit with tight turns and the fast “Curvone” right-hander.
Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo leads the series with 251 points, and has won seven of 11 races so far this season. Following 68 points behind is Lorenzo’s fellow Spanish Countryman, Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedorsa.
Pedrosa won at the last meeting in Indianapolis, followed by Lorenzo and the rookie Ben Spies on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha.
The other RC212V Repsol Honda rider, Andrea Dovizioso, sits in third with 126 points. In fourth is Ducati Team Casey Stoner with 119 points, and in fifth is Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi with 114 points.
Here’s what the riders are saying before this weekend’s grand prix race begins:
Jorge Lorenzo says: “We are going straight to Misano and I want to continue in the same way and get on the podium again. I’ve been second there for the last two years and I am feeling very motivated and looking forward to another good race. I hope the temperature is a bit cooler than in Indy because it was really too hot there. Last Sunday was my worst result this year, but I am still happy because it was still third and because it was very important for our goal, which is the Championship.”
Valentino Rossi says: “In Indianapolis we made some progress with our race setting but the conditions made me realize that I’m still not 100% fit. It’s hard going straight to Misano with no break but hopefully it will be a little bit cooler than Indy! Of course it’s my home race and it’s near my house so it’s always very special to race there, in front of all of my fans. I have won there the last two years but this year we come in slightly different circumstances. Still, we will be trying our hardest and I really hope I can give the fans a good show!”
Casey Stoner says: “Indy was obviously a big disappointment for us but we’re looking ahead. I am happy to be going to one of Ducati’s home circuits and a place where we have gone fast in the past. It is the third of the races I missed in 2009 so we’ll see what we can do this weekend. We’ll have to work hard on the front again because we don’t want to take a backward step on the progress we’ve made recently. The whole team is working really hard, the guys are giving everything like always so hopefully we can have a good result to celebrate on Sunday.”
Nicky Hayden says: “We have traveled straight from Indianapolis to Italy so it feels like a short week! We had a really good pace in race trim during practice and warm-up at Misano last year but I got hit from behind in the race on the Sunday. It is always special to race a Ducati in Italy and I can’t wait for it. Last year went like I said and in 2008 I didn’t race because of a foot injury so we’ll try to make up for it on Sunday, when I’m sure we’ll have the support of a lot of fans and a lot of people from Ducati.”
Dani Pedrosa says: “We are at a very competitive moment right now and three wins so far this year is more than I had in my previous MotoGP seasons. It’s a nice milestone to pass and so I’m feeling very confident for the next races. Indianapolis was great and it was very satisfying to win such a physically demanding race, however, we don’t have so much time to recover before Misano this weekend. Having said that, we’ll be ready. The team is in a good mood and we have proved that we can be competitive for many races in a row, so we want to continue this form. Misano has been a difficult circuit for Honda in the last few years but this time we will try to do the best possible job and be right at the front once again.”
“It’s a track with many linked slow corners where you need a very agile bike and also a smooth power delivery, whereas our engine is very strong but can also be qui te aggressive which causes the bike to slide. So we’ll have to do a very good job to find the right setting and get good traction – as we did in Indianapolis. It’s not so much a power circuit as one which requires good drivability from the engine. The gap in the championship to Lorenzo is still very big and he has been very consistent, so our goal for the rest of the season is simply to continue being competitive at every GP and give ourselves the chance to win races, starting with another one this weekend.”
Andrea Dovizioso says: “We arrive in Misano in very determined mood; our target is the podium. In Indianapolis we were fast during the race weekend but we couldn’t maintain consistent speed for the whole race distance and this is something we must work on and improve. Now we need to score some strong results. The Misano track is short and twisty and there are a lot of bumps, but after Indianapolis we are certainly used to bumps and I’m look forward to race there. I’m confident. Misano is a special track for me, not only because it’s my home GP – in fact I live only 70kms away – but because I raced my first ‘real’ race bike there in 2000.”
“It was my debut on a proper race machine – it was 125cc – after having raced pocket bikes up to that point. I remember that it was an incredible experience, and at that moment I had the feeling that something big and special was happening. In last year’s MotoGP weekend here I raced for the first time with Ohlins suspension and I came home fourth, which was a respectable result. So I’m feeling very positive about this GP because compared to last year we have progressed a lot”.
Marco Simoncelli says: “I was satisfied at the end of the race at Indianapolis but to be honest I would have preferred a top five finish. We’ll try for it at Misano! To be honest the Misano circuit itself isn’t one of my favorites but the support from the fans makes up for that and should be a big help this weekend. I have never had great results at my home race so hopefully we can turn that record around this weekend. Since Brno we have taken another step forward and I hope things can improve still further this weekend. I have had a lot of support from Honda and the team and that is crucial to my progress.”
Marco Melandri says: “The crash at Indianapolis wasn’t what we needed. I am disappointed with the way the season is going – I’m struggling and can’t find a way to improve my feeling with the bike and adapt it to my style of riding. Hopefully the fact this is a home race for us can help. I want to make up for time lost over the last couple of races and find a way to ride the RC212V to the limit. I really want to show my true potential again and we’ll be working hard with the team at Misano on this very objective.”
Aleix Espargarò says: “The last laps in Indianapolis were very difficult for me, between the air heat and the heat produced by my bike was difficult to keep on pushing. Too bad because I could have fought with Simoncelli and Bautista for the seventh and eighth position, however the important thing is to have finished the race in the better way as possible. I’m in perfect shape now and is good for me to get in these physical conditions to the Misano’s appointment that is one of my favorite tracks. Here I have got my best starting position on the starting grid, the third position in 2008 when I was racing in the 250cc. Last year was not so bad despite the fifteenth starting position, it was my second Grand Prix in the MotoGP category and I was aiming to conquer a good position. The eleventh final position has partially repaid the work done by my technicians throughout the weekend. This year’s goal is to significantly improve my starting position and then my final race position.”
Mika Kallio says: “I hope that the bad luck that has conditioned some of my races of this season is over with the fall of Indianapolis Grand Prix. I was trying to maintain the contact with the riders ahead of me but I could not avoid the hole in the asphalt. Too bad because I could finish the race among the top ten of the ranking. My attention is now moving to Misano, which is one of my favorite tracks. Here I have got a good seventh place last year as Stoner substitute. I started the race in eleventh position and lap after lap I managed to overtake my rivals and obtain the seventh position that was for me the best result of my rookie year of MotoGP races. With a little bit of luck this year I’ll point to improve my last year position.”
Loris Capirossi says: “It is always good to race at home and Misano is the closest track to where I am from. I am determined to put on a good performance there, because we have been working very hard all season and not getting the rewards that I think we deserve – so Misano will be the ideal place to start that happening and turn our season around. We still need to find the right solution to give us the best feeling from the GSV-R so will be trying to be as competitive as possible from the first day. We have to keep a strong mentality, we have seven more races to go this year and we have to keep fighting to get to the top.”
Álvaro Bautista says: “I have more confidence in myself and the bike after last weekend, so I will be trying as hard as I can right from the beginning at Misano to improve my performance on the bike. It was really important for me to finish the race at Indianapolis – as it seemed like a long time since that had happened. I still believe that we can fight with the top guys, so we need to make that the next target and keep improving for the rest of the season.”