2014 Indy MotoGP Press Conference
The second half of the 2014 MotoGP Championship officially got underway Thursday with the traditional pre-race press conference.
Seven riders were present, including the young sensation Marc Marquez, along with nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro, Cal Crutchlow, and the American Nicky Hayden,
Highlights of the conference included Indy’s updated layout, along with the news that Lorenzo had extended his contract for two years with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP.
“I am very proud to have reached this agreement with Yamaha because it was always my priority and I want to end my career with them, Lorenzo says. “I had a lot of problems in the first half of the year but I think that we can learn from this and come back stronger. I’m really fit and I’ve been training a lot over the summer, I’m fit, slim and motivated.”
All focus then switched to Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who has won the opening nine rounds of 2014 MotoGP. He begins the second half of the season at Indy with a 77-point lead over teammate Dani Pedrosa.
“We’ve had some rest over the holidays, one week more or less but now we are ready to go again. We are excited to ride again, to look at the new layout and the new surface here at Indy.”
Lorenzo’s teammate Rossi then discussed his season so far, and the new layout of Indy.
“For me the start of the season was very good. We had some good races, but unfortunately I was not able to win though our results were very consistent. We’ll keep working to improve the results,” Rossi says.
On the new layout: “I think that the improvements are quite big, a lot of the bumps seem to be gone and the new surface looks a lot better.”
Next was the top Ducati rider so far this season – Ducati Team’s Dovizioso. Dovi also extended his contract with Ducati through 2016.
“We made a new contract for two more years, next year is looking very promising. Indy is quite a strange track, but the changes they’ve made will hopefully make the track more fun and I can’t wait to race it. We have a new engine that should help with the main straight,” Dovizioso says.
As for NGM Forward Racing’s Espargaro, he is currently in contract negotiations with hopes of riding for the returning Suzuki team. Taking his seat on the NGM Forward Racing machine will be current LCR Honda pilot Stefan Bradl.
“We are looking at 2015, my priority is to join Suzuki, but we’re still working on that. Our main goal this season is to finish in the top six and maybe overtake Dovizioso in the championship,” Espargaro says.
Drive M7 Aspar’s Hayden was present, though he is not competing this weekend. Hayden recently underwent surgery for a wrist injury that’s plagued him since 2011.
“You hate to miss your home race, but this is the situation. The surgery went well according to the doctor and we’re hopeful that the wrist will be much better. I’m already in less pain. I’m not sure about when I’ll be riding again, but I will be back this season for sure,” Hayden says.
Dovizioso’s teammate Crutchlow also spoke of his decision to terminate his contract with Ducati following 2014 MotoGP. Next year, he joins the LCR Honda team.
“Of course I’m going to give 100 percent for the rest of this season to Ducati. The deal with LCR Honda happened very quickly but this is racing. I’m happy with the decision I have made.”
Like Hayden, Crutchlow also recently underwent surgery, but his was for arm pump.
“I don’t do things by halves, so I got the operation on both my arms. It was hard for a few days, but it healed very quickly. There was some fluid and scar tissue to clean up.”
For a preview of round 10, including full point standings, visit 2014 Indy MotoGP Preview.
Photos by Ara Ashjian