More MotoGP press release previews, this time from the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, Bridgestone on tires, and Repsol Honda:
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow return to action after a long break this weekend when the 2011 MotoGP World Championship resumes at the Estoril track in Portugal.
This weekend's race presents American Edwards with a chance to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on a podium finish in an enthralling Spanish Grand Prix at the Jerez circuit earlier this month. Poised to secure his first rostrum since 2009, Edwards was cruelly denied by a small technical failure on the final lap of a dramatic rain-hit race, but the 36-year-old is determined to impress again on Yamaha's YZR-M1 machine in Estoril.
Edwards has twice finished fourth at the Estoril circuit in 2006 and 2008 and only once in his nine-year MotoGP career has he failed to finish inside the top ten.
The Portuguese Grand Prix will provide impressive rookie Crutchlow with another steep learning curve. The British rider has never raced on the 2.599 miles circuit before but he has already demonstrated his ability to learn new tracks quickly by challenging for a podium with an inspired performance on his debut at the Jerez track recently.
The three-week break gave Crutchlow the chance to undergo surgery on his right arm to solve a persistent numbness issue and he's confident he will be at 100 per cent fitness for Sunday's 28-lap race.
The recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan saw last weekend's Twin Ring Motegi race postponed, meaning the Eatoril encounter is the third round of this season's MotoGP campaign. Despite featuring a straight measuring nearly 1000 metres in length, Esto ril is the slowest circuit on the calendar. And the circuit is notorious for rapidly changing weather conditions, owing to its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
Cal Crutchlow, 9th - 13 points:
"I am looking forward to Portugal. This is a new circuit for me and it will be difficult once again as the others know this track already and have a lot more experience on it than me. I hope I can learn this circuit as fast as Jerez where I was quickly up to speed and I qualified inside the top ten. My arm is getting better and better after the surgery that was done to get rid of the numbness I felt during Qatar and Jerez. The stitches are out already, but I haven't tried to ride a bike yet, so I'll understand more on Friday when practice starts."
Colin Edwards, 13th - 8 points:
"A few years ago I was in the group fighting for the win and I like the Estoril track. I always seem to do pretty well there and it will be good to get back on the bike after a long break. The track seems to suit my riding style and with the extra performance we've got with the 2011 Yamaha YZR-M1, I'm confident we can have a strong weekend. The Yamaha has always works good in Estoril and had a good balance there, so there is no reason why I can't go there and think about challenging for at least a top six."
Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 3: Portugal, Estoril
Tuesday 26 April 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
The third round of the MotoGP World Championship takes the teams to the Estoril circuit for the Portuguese Grand Prix on 1 May. This year the date of the race has been brought forward from the October slot it has inhabited for the last two years and the teams and riders will be hoping for better weather after last year was hit heavily by rain.
The Grand Prix marks the first use this season of Bridgestone's asymmetric rear slick tyres, which have been selected because of the imbalanced demands of the circuit. There are nine right-handed corners and only four lefts, and generally the right-handers are faster and generate higher loads, resulting in markedly higher tyre temperatures in the right shoulders of the tyres, especially the rears.
Estoril is a very varied circuit, mixing a top speed of over 325km/h along the main straight with heavy braking for the first corner, the very slow first gear chicane of turns nine and ten, and the long and fast final corner, Parabólica.
Owing to this variation in corner speeds and types, asymmetric rear slicks are essential in providing the riders with consistent levels of grip throughout a lap. The left shoulder of the rear tyres is subject to much lower loads and temperature so needs to be softer to offer good warm-up performance and grip from cold, whereas the right shoulder experiences high temperatures, especially as riders open the throttle out of Parabólica and onto the main straight, so is a harder compound rubber.
The softer option rear slicks use Bridgestone's extra soft compound in the left shoulder and medium compound rubber in the right, and the harder option rears feature soft compound rubber in the left shoulder and the hard compound in the right. The temperature is expected to be higher than experienced in Estoril's October date, but not significantly so as to make a difference to tyre selection. Exactly the same compound specifications have been chosen by Bridgestone as last year.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"It's been four weeks since the Spanish GP because of the postponement of the Japanese GP from last weekend so everyone will be keen to go racing again. The disastrous events in Japan have not affected our MotoGP tyre supply though so there will be no problems in Portugal. This year the Portuguese GP has been moved from October but this change doesn't make a significant difference from a tyre perspective, other than hopefully meaning less chance of rain! The conditions last year at Estoril were very difficult for the riders as the race was the first dry session of the whole weekend, almost exactly the inverse of the conditions we saw last time out at Jerez. Jorge has won this Grand Prix for the last three years so will be a strong force again this season, but after the action-packed last race in Spain there will be many riders looking to make amends and get more points under their belts. Our tyre compounds in Portugal are exactly the same as we selected for the race last year when feedback of our extra soft compound was very positive, so I am looking forward to another exciting race followed by a valuable post-race test on Monday."
Hirohide Hamashima – Director, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development
"Estoril features one of the highest top speeds of the season although has nearly the slowest average speed and its main challenge comes from the varied nature of the corners and the imbalance between right- and left-handers. The nature of the track changes from one corner to the next, and the tyres also have to contend with a surface change during the lap after partial resurfacing work conducted in 2006. The combination of fast and slow corners including the fast, long final corner and the very slow chicane demand the use of asymmetric rear slick tyres to balance the tyre temperature in each shoulder and provide consistent grip throughout the lap.
"It's a slippery circuit so this demands softer compounds to generate grip and good warm-up performance in the left side of the tyres, but the fast and long right-hand corners necessitate harder compounds in the right shoulder of the rear slicks to cope with the increased temperature. The heavy braking points, especially into turn one, require a strong front tyre so we have to achieve a balance with our tyre selection."
The Repsol Honda Team are ready to get back into action in Estoril after a three week break
The Repsol Honda Team returns to action this weekend in Portugal after a break of three weeks due to the postponement of the Grand Prix of Japan. The Estoril circuit hosts the third round of the MotoGP World Championship and activity on track will extend through to Monday for one day of testing, the first of the season.
Dani Pedrosa, second in the Championship with 9 points behind the leader, Jorge Lorenzo will get back aboard his Honda RC212V after his surgery on March 6th. Last week, the Spaniard had the stitches removed from his left collarbone and despite not being a hundred percent physically, he will fight for another podium, as will team-mates Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso to get some points back after a hard race in Jerez.
The three Repsol Honda riders have all enjoyed podium finishes in Estoril: Andrea Dovizioso on four occasions, the most recently last season; and both Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner three times. Dani is missing the victory in Portugal but keeps the circuit record from 2009 (1´36.937), while Casey and Andrea have won once in 250cc.
"I did what I had to do in these three weeks off and I look forward to get back on the bike after this period which has been good for me to undergo surgery and start rehabilitation. Last week I had the stitches removed, so everything is still very fresh and I don't know how I will feel in Estoril, but I'm excited to see if everything went well and if I can put the issues aside once on the bike. It would be very good because we had a good start to the season and I wish to compete in the best conditions. I want to make the most of the four practice sessions to prepare for the race. It would help if we have good weather, as this year we race in April, but you can never trust the weather there having the Atlantic Ocean so close. With regards to the circuit, Estoril has heavy braking zones and it will be important to find traction to take advantage of the good acceleration we have".
"I am looking forward to the race in Estoril, it's a track where I have had very good results in my career. I arrive motivated, and want to get back to form after the Jerez weekend with a good race and to show the results of all the positive work done with the team. I think that we will be competitive at Estoril. The circuit is very slow and it's not the best to ride with a MotoGP machine, in fact, one of the more difficult tasks is to manage the power of the RC212V on this slow track. We will have 4 practice sessions to work on the set up and it's important to start well from the first day. After this long break, I'm happy to return on track. I have enjoyed this period at home with my family, having time to relax but also time to dedicate to training and to do the preparation of the coming races. Now it's time to jump on the bike".
"I had a good rest in Switzerland and I feel very good at the moment. I'm looking forward to Portugal after a difficult last race in Jerez, we were looking for a good result in Spain after positive practice sessions and qualifying so we are happy to get back on track. Estoril is not one of my favourite tracks but we have had good success there in the past. We will be looking to get back some points against Lorenzo as he has been the strongest there in the past 3 years. I think our bike should work quite well at this circuit as it has some tight turns with exits onto big straights so I hope to find some good traction in these points and be competitive from the first day".