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Estoril: MotoGP Pre Race Review

 

Sitting on the edge of the Atlantic is Portugal’s Estoril, the host to the 17th round and second to last of the MotoGP extravaganza! This notoriously slow and bumpy circuit is unusual in its layout, with one fast corner, a long straight and more right turns than left, makes it more about control than speed.

Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo is sitting comfortably coming into Portugal, with two past back to back victories at Estoril since 2008, and a chance to go for an eighth win further sealing his Championship for 2010. Lorenzo also holds fond memories of Estoril, landing his first podium victory in his first year in the premier class. It’s also a track where the Spaniard feels right at home.

To quote Jorge:

“We now have the last two races in a row, and they are two very special races. The first one is Estoril, where I’ve had some of my best moments in MotoGP in the last two seasons. I had never won there before in 125 or 250, but since 2008 I have had two victories! I like the Estoril track and I always seem to feel so good there.”

It also always seems a bit like another Spanish GP. Many people from home are coming and I am looking forward to feeling their support, because it’s the first time I’ve ridden so close to home since becoming World Champion.”

I am still on a high and I would like try to win again, like last year when the astronaut arrived!”

After missing 3 races due to a fractured collarbone, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa is confident he will be in top form with the extra two weeks in recovery time. Even though Pedrosa has never had a first place GP win at Estoril, he feels optimistic about this weekend’s race and holding on to his second place spot in the standings.

To quote Dani:

“The Estoril circuit is not as demanding as Phillip Island and this should help me to feel more comfortable on the bike. Plus I’ve had some more time to recover which should help too.”

“This kind of injury needs time to heal and with two more weeks having passed I’m really looking forward to seeing how much the shoulder has improved. I went to visit the doctor last Tuesday to have the stitches removed, and the scar is fine. I’ve been doing some more rehabilitation on the muscles and I have some more strength, but I will not be able to fully judge how much difference there is until I get on the bike on Friday morning. Also, I think it can be positive for me that there will be two practice sessions on Friday again, as we had in Aragón.”

“In terms of the track layout, Estoril has some hard braking areas and it’s bumpy, but the fact that it has more right hand corners than left can be good for us. So, I’m looking forward to getting there with my team and seeing how I feel,” he concluded.

Coming off another first place Victory on his home turf in Phillip Island, Australia, Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner is aiming to clinch a first ever podium win at this weekends Grande Premio de Portgual.

Winning three of the last four races has clearly put Stoner within arms reach of a second position in the Championship and placed added pressure on his closest contender, Dani Pedrosa.

With a history of mixed results at the Portuguese circuit, the Aussie and his team is focusing on his GP10 set up to successfully obtain a first win Victory in Estoril and pushing him closer to a second spot for 2010.

To Quote Casey:

“I have had a mixture of different results at Estoril – some good like my first 250cc win in 2005 and a podium in 2007, some not so good like when we had a problem with the on-board camera in 2008. Then we were back on the podium again in 2009. I was fast there last year but Jorge (Lorenzo) was a little faster. He is very strong at this circuit and I think we can expect him to be so again next Sunday.”

We just have to focus on the job of setting the bike up. We know that there are a lot of bumps here and our bike usually reacts quite aggressively over bumps, so we will have to see if we can adapt the set up. The GP10 has worked well in all kinds of conditions over the last few races so we’re pretty confident.”

With rumours flying about the evanescent Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi sitting out the last two races of the season with a reoccurring shoulder injury, the resilient Italian looks to be racing to hopefully improve his current fourth position for the Championship.

Rossi holds nine podium finishes at the seaside track, which includes five race wins.

To quote Valentino:

“The flyaways were very good for us, three podiums including one win – we were happy with how much we had improved the bike and also the level of my shoulder. Now we return to Europe and I feel very strongly that I want to enjoy these final two races and try to win again.

Estoril was not a good track for me last year, we had some problems and I couldn’t make it onto the podium so we will be trying to change that this year. After Phillip Island we hope the weather will be a bit warmer but Estoril can change very quickly so it could be a factor again.”

 

Another Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso will be attempting to stay afloat this weekend at Estroril. With a disappointing DFN at Phillip Island, the persistent Italian is keeping himself in contention for a third position in the overall standings with a set of second place finishes in Japan and Malaysia.

To quote Andrea:

“Estoril was not a good track for me last year, we had some problems and I couldn’t make it onto the podium so we will be trying to change that this year. After Phillip Island we hope the weather will be a bit warmer but Estoril can change very quickly so it could be a factor again.”
The circuit itself is quite difficult because the layout is slow and narrow, which makes controlling the power of a MotoGP machine a major challenge. This also means it’s really important to understand the track’s characteristics very well and to find a good compromise with the machine set up . We will make full use of the extra practice session on Friday morning and we’re looking forward to these last two races of the season.”

 

Footnotes:

Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi could have yet another discouraging blow in the possibility of another DFN for this weekend. The 37-year-old continues to deal with onset injuries caused by an accident at Phillip Island, damaging his Adductor muscle in his left thigh. This could mean the veteran rider will miss his third out of five races due to injuries.

WSBK Champion Carlos Checa is confirmed to replace Pramac’s Mika Kallio for the final two MotoGP races. He had been quoted in “setting his sights on getting some positive results.”

Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow has officially begun to prepare for his MotoGP debut on the M1 for Valencia. Cal will be moving over to the Monster Tech 3 team for 2011 after a very successful career with WSBK.

Schedule for this weekend at Estoril:

October 29, 2010 Friday:

1st Free Practice Round- 10:05am – 10:50am

2nd Free Practice Round- 2:05pm – 2:50am

October 30, 2010 Saturday:

3rd Free Practice Round- 10:05am – 10:50am

Qualifiying- 2:05pm- 2:50pm

October 31, 2010 Sunday: race day

Warm-up – 9:30am – 9:50am

Race – 1:00pm

Points in Standing:

POSITION RIDER TEAM POINTS
1 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 333
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 228
3 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 205
4 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 197
5 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 179
6 Ben Spies Monster Yamaha Tech 3 163
7 Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 152
8 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 102
9 Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 100
10 Marco Melandri San Carlo Honda Gresini 93
11 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 90
12 Hector Barbera Aspar Racing Team 76
13 Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 73
14 Alex Espargaro Pramac Racing Team 60
15 Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda MotoGP 47
16 Mika Kallio Pramac Racing Team 43
17 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 41
18 Alex de Angelis Interwetten Honda 11
19 Roger Lee Hayden LCR Honda 5
20 Kousuke Akiyoshi Interwetten Honda MotoGP 4
21 Wataru Yoshikawa Fiat Yamaha Team 1
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October 28, 2010 - Posted by | Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, Estoril, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi, Mika Kallio, Motegi, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, motorcycles, Nicky Hayden, phillip Island, Sepang, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha

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