Repsol Honda MotoGP
After a string of six rounds in eight weeks, MotoGP the grid got a much-needed three-week break before returning for Round 11 this weekend at Brno in the Czech Republic.
This gave the Repsol Honda team of Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso additional time to concentrate on the second half of the season, which is crucial to all three RC212V MotoGP pilots. The Repsol Honda boys hold three of the top four positions in the 2011 MotoGP Championship with eight rounds remaining.
During his debut year on the Repsol Honda, Casey Stoner has did nothing but impressed. The Australian was on the podium in all but one race, winning five of those. His only trouble came in Jerez – a DNF after the controversial crash involving Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi.
Last season Stoner took third at Brno, but he also won there in 2007, en-route to his only MotoGP Championship while competing on the Ducati. He currently leads the 2011 MotoGP Championship by 20 points over last year’s Brno winner, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP says: “I’ve really enjoyed this summer break. After a great race in Laguna, we decided to stay in California and visit some friends and enjoy some down time, mixed in with some training.
“Now I feel relaxed and ready for the second half of the season. I’m looking forward to going to Brno, it’s a circuit I’ve always enjoyed and I believe with the results we’ve had in the past years we can expect to have a good race there.
“I’ve seen that the Honda can be very competitive at all circuits this year so I’m sure we will also be strong in Brno. The fact that it’s very fast and flowing has helped the Yamaha’s in the past seasons and I think Jorge [Lorenzo] will be strong there, so I will be watching for him.
“We’ll be working on overcoming some of the issues we’ve had in the fast corners at circuits this year and we will certainly be looking for the win, or at the very least some more important Championship points.”
Although Pedrosa missed three races due to injury (Catalunya, Silverstone, Assen), he had five podiums, including two wins that helped him achieve fourth in the 2011 MotoGP Championship with 110 points. Pedrosa has two victories at Brno in the 125cc and 250cc classes, and finished on the podium there the last two seasons.
The summer break allowed Pedrosa to regain additional strenght in his right shoulder, which he injured during yet another controversial crash with Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “These two and a half weeks have flown by for me, but I really enjoyed this break. The truth is that I needed it, first of all to rest after the last few races that were physically hard for me but also to disconnect a little and to train, to get back my physical strength and be fit again. My holidays have been a combination of all.
“When I got back from Laguna I spent some days doing nothing just to relax the whole area of the neck, arms and back. After this I’ve been combining physical training with relaxation exercises to avoid over stressing the area. Now I’m looking forward to competing again and enjoying the races until the end of the season. The bike is working very well this year so I hope we can get good results and win races in this second half of the Championship.
“Brno is a track I like, I’ve won there in 125 and 250, and I’ve had some podiums also in MotoGP so to fight for the victory is a challenge for me and I’m very motivated. I’m also looking forward to the test at Brno with the 1000cc bike. I missed the first one in Jerez due to the injury and I’m exciting to see to see how the new bike works.”
Dovizioso sits in third in the MotoGP Championship, 33 points ahead of Pedrosa and 40 behind teammate Stoner. Dovi garnered points at every race, and finished on the podium four times in eight races. Dovi’s best at Brno was a pair of seconds in the 250cc class; last year in MotoGP he suffered a DNF.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “I spent the summer break with my family and friends at the seaside in Sardinia. Early in the morning I was training, then I could play with Sara, my little daughter. It was a new experience for me that I really enjoyed. It was a perfect time to relax and switch off and now I’m ready for the second part of the season.
“We arrive in Brno very motivated as we want to redeem the disappointing result of Laguna. Brno is a fast track, the curves have a long range so the speed in the mid corner is high. I’m confident that we can be competitive there, the Honda machine is working very well and the characteristics of the track suit my riding style too.
“It’s similar to Mugello and we look for a good result. Casey [Stoner], Dani [Pedrosa] and Jorge [Lorenzo] will be strong rivals, but I’m confident that we will be able to fight with them. We are determined to return on the podium. This is our target.”
The Repsol Honda MotoGP riders will be on the Brno track Friday for the first of three practices for Sunday’s Czech Republic Grand Prix.