Jorge Lorenzo: #1 Portugal MotoGP Threat
An extended break between rounds 2 and 3 gave the reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo a bit of extra time to prep for the Portuguese GP, but due to the Spaniard’s record there, extra prep seems futile.
The Yamaha Factory Racing rider Lorenzo has won from the pole position at Estoril for the past three MotoGP seasons. Lorenzo has this stat against the remaining 16-rider grid, along with the points lead and the fact that he has finished in the top four for the past 22 races.
And Lorenzo’s usual biggest threat, Valentino Rossi, has not been a threat at all so far in the 2011 MotoGP Championship since joining the Ducati Team.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1) says: “This week we will be in Portugal, a country where I’ve had nice moments! In Estoril I got my first victory in the MotoGP class in 2008 which I repeated over the last two seasons.
“The track has turned into a talisman for me and it is the place where the astronaut always comes back. We have been training for a month, and I hope that this makes us fit for a good race.
“We are in front of the standings, but it is very early and it is just the beginning. This week will also be important since we are testing on Monday and we will certainly be able to check a lot of things for the future set-up.”
As for the man who replaced Rossi as Lorenzo’s teammate, Ben Spies, the American doesn’t have much luck at Estoril; the Texan crashed out last year during the sighting lap for the 2010 Portugal GP while competing on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team.
But Spies, who took the 2010 MotoGP Rookie of the Year award, has much determination, considering he crashed out of Jerez whil battling for the final podium spot.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1) says: “Although I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to head home and get some chill out time in Texas this break has been way to long for me. The team worked really hard over the weekend in Jerez and by race day had delivered a competitive set-up that meant we could fight for the podium.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I really enjoyed the first practice sessions here last year and was frustrated to have not made the race, I can’t wait to get started on Friday morning and see what we can do.”
This will be the 14th consecutive MotoGP event held at Estoril, where the bwin Grande Prémio de Portugal hosts Round 3 of 18 in the 2011 season. Going into Estoril, Lorenzo leads the points standings with 45 points, nine over fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda). Spies is currently in 12th with 10 points.
After the racing is over, the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will remain in Portugal, and will get some track time on the prototypes that will be used in the 2012 season; in 2012, MotoGP will allow teams to have a 1000cc engine capacity.