Before round five of the 2012 MotoGP Championship gets underway at Catalunya in Spain Sunday, a few stars of the series were at the traditional pre-race press conference Thursday.
At Catalunya, five riders were present – the Spaniards Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team MotoGP), Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) and Yonny Hernandez (Avintia Blusens).
Following is MotoGP’s report of the press conference:
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, fresh from a dominant victory in the wet at Le Mans, leads the championship standings by eight points over Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner.
The Catalunya circuit has yielded success for the Spaniard in the past, where he has recorded one win and two second-place finishes in the last three years.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m arriving in a good state. I’m very happy, very motivated. It’s my home race. I’m from Mallorca, but have lived in Barcelona for a long time. It’s also a track where I’ve had great results in the past. I think for the 1000cc Yamaha it could be a good track. I hope we have a weekend with good conditions, but if it rains we’ll be ok as well.
“It’s [the season] been very tough with a lot of competition, especially in the front group with Casey [Stoner] and Dani. The races have a very high pace and are physically demanding. To be at the front you can’t stop concentrating, you have to be at the limit all the time, and of course not crash. To do this is always difficult, but I’m a little bit older and more experienced than the pervious years, so this can make it a bit easier.”
Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, who missed last year’s round with a broken collarbone, will be looking to close the gap to his teammate Casey Stoner and Lorenzo with a victory in front of his home crowd.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I’m happy to be here. It’s been a great start to the season, although last race wasn’t so good. Last year I missed this one and had to watch it on the TV, which is not the greatest feeling. I have won here in the three classes and I aim to get a good result this time. It’s a hard track, especially for the bike and the tyres; you have to have a good set-up on the bike here. As Jorge says, it’s important to keep the pace up and be on the limit all the time.”
Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, fresh from a private test at Mugello, stated that finding pace in the dry was the main aim for the Italian outfit this weekend.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP12 MotoGP) says: “We were in Mugello last week and we were lucky with the weather. We could try some new stuff to try to improve our speed and performance in the dry. We tried a different swingarm and some improvements in the electronic system under acceleration. To understand if we have made a step we will have to wait until tomorrow. We know that in the rain we’re fast, but our target is to be faster in the dry. It’s [Catalunya] one of my three favorite tracks of the season. I love to race here and I love the atmosphere with the fans.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who recorded his best result in fifth last time out is looking to not get carried away this weekend and keep progressing as he has been.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) says: “When we come to a track where we haven’t tested, Friday is always really tough for me because I only have the reference from last year in Moto2. I need to adapt little things and try and get it together, but this track I really like. It’s a really good one for a MotoGP bike. We hope to have some good weather this weekend.”
Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez, who is the first ever Columbian rider to record points in the MotoGP class, is aiming to put in a solid performance on his team’s home ground.
Yonny Hernandez (Avintia Blusens CRT MotoGP) says: “For me it is like home because my team is from here. I feel very good on this track and I expect to have a good race and get a good result for me, my team and for my family. I’ll try to do my best. To share the track with Valentino, Lorenzo and Pedrosa is like a dream for me.”
Towards the end of the press conference, when both Lorenzo and Pedrosa were prompted about their now seemingly friendly relationship, which was far from that in the past, Lorenzo joked, “In 2003 we were enemies, in 2005 more, and then in 2008 even more. Now we can have a hug [after Qatar race]….maybe in three years we can get married.”