Toni Elias crowning as inaugural Moto2 World Champion in Malaysia may have ended the chase for the 2010 title, but the battle for runner-up spot is still very much alive with two rounds remaining.
This MotoGP weekend at the bwin Grande Premio de Portugal both Julian Simon and Andrea Iannone will be aiming to improve their individual chances of taking the honor with strong results.
Champion Elias has a solid record at Estoril having won three times previously there (250cc in 2003 and 2004 and MotoGP in 2006), but the focus will undoubtedly be on the two riders who sit further back in the standings.
Just two points separate Mapfre Aspar’s Simon and his Fimmco Speed Up rival Iannone in second and third position, with Swiss rider Thomas Luthi of the Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2 team also still holding a mathematical chance of ending the campaign in second as he sits 36 points off Iannone and in fourth.
Neither Simon or Iannone have scored a podium finish at Estoril before with the Spaniard’s fifth place in the 125cc class in 2006 his best result there to date. His Italian counterpart has not had a top-ten finish in four previous starts at the track, with 11th in 2008 his best result to date. Luthi meanwhile took a podium finish on his way to the 2005 125cc title and has finished fourth twice in the past three seasons in the former 250cc category.
Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2) is currently fifth in the Championship and enjoyed a dominant 125cc visit to Estoril in 2008 taking victory from pole, whilst his team-mate Alex de Angelis is fresh off the back of his first win in the Moto2 campaign having tasted success in Australia.
Another rider also in good form is young Brit Scott Redding who took his Suter Moto2 machine of the Marc VDS Racing Team to a season’s best finish of second at Phillip Island, and who has qualified on the front row for five of the last six races.
Joining the Moto2 field this weekend will be two wild card riders in Dani Rivas (Mr Griful) and Xavier Simeon (Holiday Gym Racing), whilst Turkish rider Kenan Sofuoglu begins his two-race partnership with the Technomag-CIP team, as does Spaniard Carmelo Morales with Racing Team Germany.
Moto2 Point Standings
|3.||Andrea IANNONE||Speed Up||ITA||179|
|7.||Gabor TALMACSI||Speed Up||HUN||95|
|8.||Yuki TAKAHASHI||Tech 3||JPN||86|
|14.||Alex DE ANGELIS||Motobi||RSM||69|
|17.||Sergio GADEA||Pons Kalex||SPA||59|
|19.||Mike DI MEGLIO||Suter||FRA||34|
|25.||Anthony WEST||MZ-RE Honda||AUS||17|
|28.||Damian CUDLIN||Pons Kalex||AUS||9|
|30.||Jason DI SALVO||FTR||USA||7|
|31.||Raffaele DE ROSA||Tech 3||ITA||5|
|33.||Axel PONS||Pons Kalex||SPA||4|