The always enthusiastic Spanish crowd will be looking to either Jorge Lorenzo or Dani Pedrosa to give them a home win to celebrate this weekend, as the all-new Motorland Aragón circuit hosts a MotoGP round for the first time.
Lorenzo, who currently leads the World Championship by 63 points from compatriot Pedrosa, tested at the Aragón circuit on a road bike last month. The Mallorcan said during today’s pre-event press conference that he was looking forward to the weekend ahead, on a track that excited him.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “I did some laps here on a Yamaha R1 and was very excited to try the new track. Seems a lot of fun, with a lot of interesting corners and a long straight. It will be interesting to see how everyone adapts; it will be very different riding a real bike here like the M1.”
Lorenzo remains the only MotoGP rider to have scored points in every round so far this season, having also finished on the podium in every race. It’s this consistency that has been key to his championship campaign and the Fiat Yamaha rider is keen to add another podium finish to his tally here at Aragón this weekend.
With six rounds of the season remaining what had seemed to be a straight run for Lorenzo to a first premier class title now appears to be a little more complicated thanks to the efforts of Pedrosa, who has reduced the points deficit by 14 points in just two races with his back-to-back wins at Indianapolis and Misano.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “Nobody said it was going to be easy. You have to fight for a championship, against some real fighters, if you want to win. My aim here is to get on the podium again and to push as hard as I can.”
Pedrosa finished second to Lorenzo at Jerez and Catalunya, but arrives at Aragón with renewed confidence after his recent victories and keen to take his fifth win of the season.
Dani Pedrosa says: “In the last races we did good races and I’m happy with the results. This track is impressive; it has a different layout and you can have some fun here. Some corners will be difficult to figure out braking points for, especially the blind corners, and we might have rain to contend with tomorrow as well.”
Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi is still suffering the effects of the shoulder injury he sustained in a motocross accident earlier in the season.
The Fiat Yamaha rider has taken two podium finishes since his return from injury, the last coming at Misano two weeks ago, but admitted during the pre-event press conference that he still has some pain in his damaged shoulder.
Valentino Rossi says: “After the race in Misano I had pain in my shoulder for two or three days and it looks like I will need surgery at the end of the season now. My target this weekend is to stay with Jorge and Dani who, at all tracks and in all conditions, are doing a great job.”
“Spain is a great place to race with motorcycles. I tried this track with a Yamaha R1 last week and it was very, very funny. I say maybe I do 15 or 20 laps to get a feel for the track, but I enjoyed it so much I ended up pushing to improve my lap time and ended up doing 50 laps!”
Alvaro Bautista will be the sole Rizla Suzuki rider on track at Aragón, as Loris Capirossi has been forced to sit out this race due to the hand injury sustained in his opening lap crash at Misano. Bautista secured his best result of the season so far the last time he raced in Spain, taking fifth place at the Grand Prix of Catalunya, a performance he is keen to repeat this weekend at Aragón.
Alvaro Bautista says: “I hope we can continue the improvements we’ve made with the bike and close the gap on the fastest riders. I like the Aragón track; some different corners, uphill, downhill some hard braking areas and a very fast straight. I’m looking forward to riding the Suzuki GSV-R here this weekend.”
Joining the MotoGP riders at the pre-event press conference was current Moto2 Championship leader, Toni Elias. The Spaniard has an 83-point lead at the top of the standings going into the Aragón weekend, courtesy of six wins in the hotly contested new four-stroke formula. The Gresini rider has won the last four races aboard his Moriwaki Moto2 machine, despite suffering with a virus since Indianapolis.
Toni Elias says: “In Indy I was with a lot of fever and in Misano I still wasn’t fit. Even now I’m not 100 percent but I’m certainly much better than I was at Misano. But I won the last two races, so it’s not such a big problem and I’m happy. With the Moriwaki I have a good bike and this has helped when I’ve not been completely fit.”
Elias then went on to explain his thoughts on honouring Shoya Tomizawa, who tragically lost his life at Misano two weeks ago.
Toni Elias says: “As you know, every year in the 125cc and 250cc the Michel Metraux award was given to the best private rider. As this year in Moto2 all the riders are from independent teams, it was decided at the beginning of the year that all Moto2 riders would vote for who they think has made best achievements during the season.”
“And I would like to ask to all my fellow riders to vote for Shoya and dedicate this award to him.”