2013 Valencia MotoGP Pre-Race Press ConferenceThe 2013 MotoGP Championship arrives at its conclusion this weekend. And all the action at Valencia began Thursday with the pre-race press conference.
Highlighting the conference were the only two riders who can become the 2013 MotoGP Champion – Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.This is the first time since 2006 that the championship came down to the wire; that year, then-Honda rider Nicky Hayden captured the title by four points from Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi.This year, Marquez enters the final round 13 points ahead of Lorenzo. If the 20-year-old RC213V pilot takes a fourth-place or better, he will become the first rookie to take a title since Freddie Spencer in 1983.Also at the race conference were Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa, Rossi, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith.Marquez opened up the conference, discussing the task at hand.Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “We need to finish in the top four and that is not easy with all of those guys in MotoGP. The mentality is the same as on other weekends: try to do my best Friday, Saturday in the Warm-Up and the race. We will see whether we can fight for the win, fight for the podium or just fight for some points.”Lorenzo also discussed his task, knowing home fans will be rooting for him and his fellow countryman Marquez.Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I am sure that, if he can, Valentino will help me, just as I would help him if he found himself in the same situation as me. The important thing is to be fast from Friday onwards and of course especially in the race.“I think Marc and myself should be very proud as two Spaniards fighting for the MotoGP world title. I think the best strategy is try to win the race. That’s it. That’s the only thing I can do. We are fighting with a lot of Honda riders and that’s the only thing we can do. Let’s see if it rains on Sunday, but in normal circumstances I think it is very difficult.”Pedrosa lost his title chances at Motegi, and immediately began discussing Honda Racing Corporation “Team Orders.”Dani Pedrosa (Respol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “HRC has no team orders as far as I know and I think he is still 13 points ahead and always on the podium, so I think he’s capable of doing it anyway, but sure I’ll try to do my best in the race. And winning it would be the best way of helping the team.”Rossi, who will try to run some defense for his teammate to collect another title for Yamaha, began discussing his split with long-time crew chief Jeremy Burgess.Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “The target is to fight with the top three each weekend. This season it has happened, but not so often. We have had some very good races, with some podiums, and especially one victory. For me, the best way to help Jorge is to try and be in front of Marc. I know it’s very difficult, but for sure I will try.“The rumors are true. Not that I am not happy with Jeremy, but I think next year Jeremy will not be my chief mechanic. It was a very difficult decision for me because I have a great history with him. He is not just my chief mechanic but part of my family and my father of racing. But I have decided that next year I need to change something to try and find new motivation to have a new boost to improve my level and my speed.”Hayden earned his only MotoGP title at Valencia in 2006. He splits with Ducati in 2014 MotoGP, and will pilot a Honda RCV1000R production racer for Aspar in 2014 MotoGP.He was asked if there were any similarities between his title fight with Rossi and the one with Lorenzo and Marquez.Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP13 MotoGP) says “Not really. Obviously it’s a lot better to be eight points down [as he was in 2006]. He has a bigger margin, so he needs more to happen. You have to think Marc is in a much better spot – I would much rather be in his spot than Jorge…actually, I would rather be in any of their spots! Marc is not exactly your typical rookie and you would think without any problems he should get it done, but you never know until the flag flies on Sunday.”Smith was the final rider to speak, and reflected on his rookie year with the satellite Yamaha team.Bradly Smith (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “We seem to have been ahead of our own personal targets and also what Yamaha expected of me, so that is really nice. I am pleased with the final outcome and also looking forward to the winter before coming back and having another go next year. I didn’t really have the best end to my Moto2 championship and didn’t come into this season with the highest confidence, so I think my jump was a bit more from what we’ll see from Scott and Pol.”For a preview of Valencia MotoGP, click here.
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!