Following a two-week break after Silverstone MotoGP, the 2014 championship continues this weekend at the San Marino Circuit Marco Simoncelli.
At Silverstone, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez returned to the top of the podium following his only loss of 2014 at Brno. The reigning MotoGP Champion was the immediate focus of Thursday’s traditional pre-race press conference at San Marino.
Marquez, who was joined at the conference by Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci, knows many challenges lay ahead at San Marino.
“It will be tough here, especially with Valentino at home. Jorge is getting stronger every time and he has been very strong here. Dani (Pedrosa) also, he’s second in the championship, so I have to manage the gap over him. If we can fight for the victory it’s what we’ll do,” Marquez says.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Rossi will seek his first win of 2014 MotoGP at San Marino, where his home in Tavullia is only a few miles away. Rossi has finished on the podium in eight out of 12 races, including third at the past-three consecutive races.
“I’m happy about the start of the second half of the season. Jorge and Marc are very strong and Jorge is coming back very strong. They had a bit more in Silverstone than us so the target is to start strong from Friday. It’s the home GP so there are great emotions as it is very close to my house. It’s a good track for me and Yamaha. Jorge won the last three years so we know we can be there,” Rossi says.
Rossi presents a major threat to Marquez, and so does the nine-time World Champion’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo. The two-time MotoGP Champion has won at San Marino for the past three years.
“The past doesn’t give you any advantage for this year, so we all start from zero. I don’t why it works well for us, maybe the chicanes or the fast corners. Hopefully we can keep the tradition alive,” Lorenzo says.
Many eyes will also be on Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso as the Italian/Italian combo has many fans.
“In Silverstone we were very close to the podium so we have to start aggressively here from FP1. With the hard spec tire we made a test here before Silverstone and our pace was great,” Dovi says.
For MotoGP rookie Redding of the GO&FUN Honda Gresini team it is another chance to ride for the first time at the circuit on a premier class machine. The Open Honda equipped Englishman said, “I thought Silverstone would be really hard but it was ok. Hopefully here will be good, we should be able to make up a bit with the soft tyre. The limit in MotoGP is crazy, there is no limit. I’m still building and building. You think you’re there for a minute then someone catches you and you have to push more.”
The third Italian rider to speak in the press conference was Octo IodaRacing Team’s Petrucci, who says “It’s my third year in MotoGP. I made a step from the first to the second year, but I stepped backwards this year! It’s very difficult this year and we started at the first race with a lot of problems. The bike is really new. Then I broke my wrist and I still have to go to the Clinica after every session. It’s tough.”
On Wednesday evening many of the World Championship’s riders battled on four wheels in the annual “Spurtlèda58” karting contest, helping to boost the Marco Simoncelli foundation ONLUS. Rossi was the winner of the event, joined on the podium by Marquez and Dovizioso, MotoGP reports.
Free Practice begins Friday for Sunday’s Grand Prix of San Marino. Fox Sports 1 will provide live coverage of the round beginning at 7 a.m. ET Sunday, September 14. The coverage includes a reply of Silverstone MotoGP.