Estoril MotoGP: Portugal Pre-Race Quotes
Portuguese MotoGP Racer Quotes
Located only a few miles from the Atlantic ocean, Estoril may present some challenges to the MotoGP grid this weekend due to drastic-weather changes. But even if the weather is not up to par for the world’s fastest motorcycle racers, Jorge Lorenzo doesn’t have to worry.
The Fiat Yamaha rider enters Portugal with not only the 2010 MotoGP title, but also first-place finishes in the last two meetings at Estoril. Lorenzo also took both races from the pole.
His main rival for most of the season, Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, returns this weekend after missing three consecutive MotoGP races (Motegi, Malaysia, Australia). Pedrosa has to fight hard to keep his second-place standing in the championship, considering the man in third is only 23 points behind, Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner.
But it isn’t only Stoner that’s threatening Pedrosa…nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi sits eight points behind Stoner, 30 behind Pedrosa. And Rossi has been on the podium nine out of 10 times there, making for even more of a threat.
Here’s what the riders are saying heading into this weekend’s MotoGP race at Estoril:
Jorge Lorenzo says: “We now have the last two races in a row, and they are two very special races. The first one is Estoril, where I’ve had some of my best moments in MotoGP in the last two seasons. I had never won there before in 125 or 250, but since 2008 I have had two victories. It’s the only one place where I’ve won twice in this category!”
“I like the Estoril track and I always seem to feel so good there. Also it always seems a bit like another Spanish GP. Many people from home are coming and I am looking forward to feeling their support, because it’s the first time I’ve ridden so close to home since becoming World Champion. I am still on a high and I would try to win again, like last year when the astronaut arrived!”
Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “The flyaways were very good for us, three podiums including one win – we were happy with how much we had improved the bike and also the level of my shoulder. Now we return to Europe and I feel very strongly that I want to enjoy these final two races and try to win again.”
“Estoril was not a good track for me last year, we had some problems and I couldn’t make it onto the podium so we will be trying to change that this year. After Phillip Island we hope the weather will be a bit warmer but Estoril can change very quickly so it could be a factor again.”
Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team GP10) says: “I have had a mixture of different results at Estoril – some good like my first 250cc win in 2005 and a podium in 2007, some not so good like when we had a problem with the on-board camera in 2008. Then we were back on the podium again in 2009… I was fast there last year but Jorge was a little faster.”
“He is very strong at this circuit and I think we can expect him to be so again next Sunday. We just have to focus on the job of setting the bike up. We know that there are a lot of bumps here and our bike usually reacts quite aggressively over bumps, so we will have to see if we can adapt the set up. The GP10 has worked well in all kinds of conditions over the last few races so we’re pretty confident.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team GP10) says: “The end of the season is on the horizon but we have two races left to do well in so it’s now or never as far as this season is concerned. Estoril is pretty normal, there’s nothing really special about the track apart from a very fast section onto the back straight and then towards the end of the lap there’s a chicane which I think is the slowest in MotoGP.”
“The track is very tight, which makes it demanding, and given that the circuit is close to the ocean, like Phillip Island, you usually get wind and changeable weather. In any case we are ready for any conditions and looking to finish the season in a positive way.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “We get back on track this weekend at Estoril and, in principle, the situation should be much better than it was for me in Australia. The Estoril circuit is not as demanding as Phillip Island and this should help me to feel more comfortable on the bike. Plus I’ve had some more time to recover which should help too. This kind of injury needs time to heal and with two more weeks having passed I’m really looking forward to seeing how much the shoulder has improved. I went to visit the doctor last Tuesday to have the stitches removed, and the scar is fine.”
“I’ve been doing some more rehabilitation on the muscles and I have some more strength, but I will not be able to fully judge how much difference there is until I get on the bike on Friday morning. Also, I think it can be positive for me that there will be two practice sessions on Friday again, as we had in Aragon. In te rms of the track layout, Estoril has some hard braking areas and it’s bumpy, but the fact that it has more right hand corners than left can be good for us. So, I’m looking forward to getting there with my team and seeing how I feel.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “We head into the Grand Prix of Portugal with a lot of confidence and I think we can get a good result at Estoril. We had two strong second place finishes in Japan and Malaysia, and we could have had another podium finish in Australia too, so there’s no reason to expect anything less this weekend. I know that we are competitive in Portugal and we are determined to have a good race and to fight for another top-three finish.”
“Estoril is a track where I have achieved some good results in the past and, even though I was seventh last year, this wasn’t indicative of our potential. The circuit itself is quite difficult because the layout is slow and narrow, which makes controlling the power of a MotoGP machine a major challenge. This also means it’s really important to understand the track’s characteristics very well and to find a good compromise with the machine set up . We will make full use of the extra practice session on Friday morning and we’re looking forward to these last two races of the season.”
Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki GSVR) says: “It was disappointing to find out I had got some small fractures in my foot, but it won’t stop me riding, because I was ok in Australia and it didn’t cause me too many problems there – in fact it is easier to ride the bike than it is to walk! I have had some intensive treatment on the thigh muscle and that is also a lot better.”
“I can’t wait to get back on my bike and give the guys something back for all their patience and hard-work over the season, especially after the tough three-week tour we had on the other side of the world which gave us nothing but pain and bike damage. Suzuki and the team have always been good to me and I want to show them that I am here to do my best and compete with the best riders.”
Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSVR) says: “I really like it at Estoril, I have had lots of success there and it is a track I like to race at – it is as close to my home town as some of the Spanish tracks so it feels like a ‘home’ GP to me, especially because I know many of my family, friends and fans will be there to support me.”
“I went there with the GSV-R last year so I will have a bit of an idea of the reference points on a MotoGP bike, similar to what I had at Sepang, so hopefully we can be as competitive right from the start in Portugal as we were there. We had a couple of problems at Phillip Island and they have all now been sorted and won’t happen again, so we will be able to go right from the start and try to get back into that top-six, where I know we are capable of being.”
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Gresini Honda RC212V) says: “I was really satisfied with the race at Phillip Island but I want to see my performances reflected in numbers. It was a nice race in Australia but it was still a sixth place in the end so I need to work on my consistency. It won’t be easy but that is what I will be trying to do alongside the team. After Phillip Island I had a ‘bonus trip’ to Japan for another visit to the wind tunnel. Honda are looking at using a new cowling so that I can tuck my oversize frame in. As soon as I got home to Italy I started thinking about Estoril, a circuit I like a lot. I won there last year and finished second in 2008 and it seems to be a place that suits my riding style so if we can find a good feeling with the bike I’m sure I can have another good race.”
Marco Melandri (San Carlo Gresini Honda RC212V) says: “At Phillip Island we were dancing to the same old tune. I can’t get a feel for the bike so it’s hard for me to ride. It is a tough situation but I have not lost hope and at Estoril I will try again although I think we need a miracle. We’ll see but I would love to finish the season with a good result.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda RC212V) says: “I hope we can improve in Estoril. I like the track, but it is so different to the last two racetracks. Estoril is similar to the Motegi circuit and I hope it suits my bike. My race in Malaysia was so good and I had a lot of confidence and in Australia it was not good and I lost the confidence again. You never know in advance what will happen on the racetrack until you are really on it, so it is not easy to predict what will happen in Estoril and Valencia. The conditions will be different and for sure the bike will react different, so we will see where we are on Sunday afternoon.”
Aleix Espargarò (Pramac Racing Team) says: “After the eighth position that I was able to conquer during last Grand Prix of Australia, I’ll try to confirm the top ten even for the last two Grand Prix of the season. Unfortunately for me it is the first time that I’ll be able to race a Grand Prix on this circuit with a MotoGP bike, my objective is to make as many lap as possible on this track so that I can be able to acquire more information and then try to have a better performance during qualifying session and the race. ”
Carlos Checa (Pramac Racing Team Ducati) says: “After three years of absence I’ll return to race in the MotoGP world with a Ducati. Of course the bike with the number 71 on the livery and the Pramac Racing Team colors, will be very different from the one I have been able to ride during this year, but I’ll do my best to repay the trust and the choice that the Italian Team has placed in me. I do not feel any pressure, I’ll just have to go on track and have fun to do my job. This will be a great adventure for me.”