With less than four-days break, the 2014 MotoGP Championship headed from the states back to Europe for the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno. And round 11 officially got underway Thursday with the traditional pre-race press conference.
Six riders were present, including the man who remains undefeated this season, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, along with Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro and Karel Abraham.
The young sensation Marquez highlighted the Brno MotoGP conference. He has won the opening 10 rounds, including another stellar performance Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Repsol Honda RC213V pilot Marquez won at Brno last season, and had an excellent test there just over three weeks ago.
“I feel good after winning at Indianapolis. Here in Brno it is a completely different circuit to Indy but we did a test three weeks ago, so we should have a good set up,” Marquez says.
“Yamaha were close to us in Indy and I expect them to be strong again here, but I am feeling good and we’re ready to fight.”
Ready to fight back, though, is Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi. The nine-time World Champion has a strong record at Brno, which includes his first-ever GP win 18 years ago in the former 125cc class.
“I have great memories from this track especially my first victory in 1996. I remember it very well. It is one of my favorite circuits and it is fantastic to ride with a MotoGP bike. You can use the maximum potential of the bike here. My recent results here have not been great and last year I was too far from the top three,” Rossi says.
“So my target this weekend is to improve my lines, improve my riding, I need to do that if I want to be on the podium. I think the race from Indy was one of the best in the recent period. It was a great race.”
Rossi’s teammate Lorenzo, who took a podium at Brno last season and won there across all classes, was next to speak.
“I was really pleased with the second place at Indianapolis. We arrive here now at a track which theoretically is good for our bike and my riding style, with the chicanes and the importance of corner speed,” Lorenzo says.
“We’re very motivated this weekend and we will be aiming to repeat Indy. Brno is faster and wider than Indy and I have won here four times, so we need to do the job on the track.”
Another Yamaha pilot present was the rookie Pol Espargaro, who rides a Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1.
He said “It was a good result to finish fifth at Indy but we were too far from the front riders. We had a good race and a good weekend in general. We just have to keep improving. I am really happy with my first half of the year, so thanks to Yamaha and my team. I’m still young and I know I can do better. It’s just experience, race by race, I’m learning all the time with the bike.”
The only Ducati rider present was Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone. The Italian will join Andrea Dovizioso next season on the factory GP13, filling the vacancy left by Cal Crutchlow. He has mixed results at Brno.
P“Brno is a good track, I have some great memories from Moto2 and some good battles with Marc (Marquez), but he was always a little stronger than me! Indy was a strong weekend for me, I was fast throughout and we had a good feeling on the bike. But in the race we had lots of problems and it was impossible to finish.”
The last rider to speak was Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham – the only Czech rider currently competing in the premier class.
“I’m happy to be fit this time because last year I came here with a lot of pain in the shoulder and afterwards I had to go for an operation. So it feels good to be arriving here fit and ready,” Abraham says.
“It has not been a great season, but we have been consistent and even at the beginning of the season we were not sure how the shoulder would be, so it has been ok. It is big pressure for me riding here at Brno, but that’s just how it is,” said Abraham.
The opening two free practice sessions get underway Friday morning at Brno. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the round live with coverage beginning at 7 a.m. ET Sunday. Aug. 17. The broadcast will reply Indy MotoGP ahead of Brno.