Press releases from Dunlop and the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's Portuguese round at Estoril:
Dunlop heads to the many surfaces of Estoril
Dunlop’s Moto2 tyres have the multi-surface Portuguese circuit of Estoril to put them through their paces for the third round of the Moto2 World Championship - the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril - on May 4-6.
Circuit surface variety and weather variability are the two foremost challenges of the 4.18km Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva - Autódromo do Estoril – with its nine right hand and four left hand turns. Its location near to the sea means the weather can frequently change rather rapidly, whilst the different surface types over the course of a lap mean riders are continually relying on the feedback from their tyres to judge the grip available.
This will be the second race using Dunlop’s new slimline front Moto2 tyre which debuted successfully last weekend at Jerez. The tyre allocation for Estoril is the same as that used in Jerez.
The Estoril Experience
With more than double the amount of right handed turns than there are left handed means that the tyre needs to be able to give instant grip even from the less used, and cooler side of the tyre. This gives Dunlop’s tyre engineers the challenge of determining whether a dual or single compound tyre should be used.
Such is the warm-up capability of the compounds in combination with the latest constructions that single compound tyres are allocated for this round. As well as the circuit layout, the circuit surface – made up of different types of asphalt – gives another tyre challenge as the rubber utilises its mechanical and chemical grip to pull, tear and stick to the road.
Dunlop will bring the tyres from the Group B ‘Abrasion Defenders’ range, the 3854 soft and 4886 medium rear compounds. The 3854 is more suited to higher temperatures and the 4886 more suited to cooler temperatures. These rear tyres are allied to the 717 and 302 fronts, resplendent in their latest profile.
Dunlop’s Moto2 Operations Manager, Clinton Howe:
“Estoril is always a difficult circuit to determine tyre choice. The track is made up of three different surfaces making it one of the most punishing because the tyres have to interact in different ways with surfaces ranging from smooth to abrasive.
“The temperature range at the track also can make things difficult. If it’s cool you need a strong compound as there is a lot of abrasion on the right hand side of the tyre, but this becomes less important when the track surface is warmer, and a softer compound can be used.
“The wind can be quite problematic, especially given its location near the coast as this can mean sand and dust gets blown on to the racing line, especially from the run off areas. The Atlantic seaboard means that the weather is quite quick to change and the weather we have experienced in the past has been very variable, making it difficult to come to solid conclusions for which compounds work best at this track with the current Moto2 bikes.
“In Jerez we saw that both allocated rear compounds worked well in the cool, damp conditions which we experienced. It’s the same two rear compounds for Estoril so teams and riders should be well prepared if we see similar weather again. The front compounds are the same – as they are for all races this year. The new profile received positive feedback from its use in race conditions.
In Moto3 at Jerez we saw significant usage of the wet tyres for the first time and they showed very good strength and performance from the tyre, even when used on a drying circuit. Riders will benefit from this information next time we see wet conditions.”
Moto2: Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol, Suter:
“Estoril as a circuit is a little bit difficult as there is a lot of braking over a lap; it’s very much a stop and go circuit. You need to have good confidence in the front of the bike, especially the front tyre, but also you need to be confident in the rear tyre under acceleration. If you have good confidence in both these areas you can improve your lap time a lot. There are many right hand corners so when you do turn to the left you need to be confident that the tyres have grip and are not too cold. The Dunlop tyres have been good this year, with a lot of grip in the first laps. For me, they feel like they have improved a lot since last year, they slide less now and they feel very safe to ride giving me a lot of confidence.”
Moto3: Sandro Cortese, Red Bull KTM Ajo, KTM:
“Estoril is a special track, where you have to be precise to get the most from the bike and the tyres. There’s a long fast straight, and then a good variety of difficult corners, which means you have to be very careful about maximising the tyre life over the race. To get the best from the tyres over the race you need to ride very smoothly, especially with the Moto3 bikes. The weather can be variable too, but the Jerez weekend showed how well the Dunlop wet tyres perform on the Moto3 bikes, so whatever the weather in Estoril I am confident that Dunlop’s tyres are suited to the challenge.”
Moto2 Tyre Allocation Estoril
Front Moto2 slicks per rider
4 x 302
4 x 717
Rear Moto2 slicks per rider
5 x 3854
4 x 4886
Wet Moto2 tyres per rider
3 x Front 125/80R17 KR191 414 (4 tyres allocated if all practice sessions are wet).
3 x Rear 190/55R17 KR393 414 (4 tyres allocated if all practices are wet).
Jerez gave a thorough workout to Dunlop’s wet weather Moto3 tyres, as well as testing the extremes of performance on a mixed dry with wet patches circuit in the race. Estoril presents a similar challenge to Jerez in terms of the demands on a Moto3 bike and tyre.
Estoril: It’s all about the weather
For Estoril the following Moto3 tyres will be allocated:
Front Moto3 slicks per rider
5 x Medium
3 x Hard
Rear Moto3 slicks per rider
5 x Medium
4 x Soft
Wet Moto3 tyres per rider
3 x 95/70R17 KR189 WB
3 x 115/70R17 KR389 WB
World Championship moves straight to Portugal
Repsol riders look to repeat success of previous years at Portuguese Grand Prix.
Dani Pedrosa has the 100 World Championship podium milestone within reach
Alex Rins and Alex Márquez Estoril for the first time
Casey Stoner has spent a year without finishing outside the podium places
Repsol Media Service Jerez Circuit Tuesday 01/05/2012
Fresh from competing this past weekend in the Spanish Grand Prix, the paddock moves on at full speed to Estoril, for this Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix. The Portuguese track will welcome the Repsol riders from all three categories for their latest challenge, with Casey Stoner's victory & Dani Pedrosa's podium in MotoGP, plus Marc Márquez' Moto2 rostrum, great results from the second round of the series at Jerez to take into the weekend. This is a Grand Prix with plenty of good memories for the Repsol riders, who have had excellent results in Estoril.
Two Repsol Honda Team riders were on the podium at the 4.128km Estoril circuit last year. Dani Pedrosa won the MotoGP race, whilst Casey Stoner placed third in an fine podium double that they hope to repeat this year. If they manage to do so, it would be their third rostrum finish in a row this season –of special note for being Pedrosa's 100th top three finish in the World Championship. A Stoner win would be the Australian's first in Portugal in the premier class.
Marc Márquez has experienced some of his finest moments in Portuguese GPs past. He debuted there in the 2008 World Championship, whilst in 2010 he produced one of the most spectacular comebacks of all time. He won there in the 125cc class on the latter occasion and will attempt to repeat the feat in Moto2, in order to continue an excellent start to the season. He is currently four points ahead in the overall standings.
Despite finishing off the podium at last weekend's race at Jerez, the Repsol Moto3 riders arrive in Portugal with high hopes. Maverick Viñales will attempt to fight for the win at a track where he was only just off the podium last season, likely to face stiff competition from Miguel Oliveira and Álex Rins. Oliveira is riding in his home race, where last year he claimed his best result of the campaign with 7th place. Rins placed fourth at the most recent round at Jerez after claiming pole position. He will be competing at Estoril for the first time, just like fellow rookie Álex Márquez –invited to participate as a wild card for the second consecutive Grand Prix.
"I'm happy with our performance in the first two races, the results were good, but still not perfect. So, I will try to do the extra push in Estoril, where we achieved the first victory of the season last year after a very good weekend. It will be important to set up the bike well in a tricky circuit like this, with long corners and hard braking.
It is the first time we go there with the 1000cc RC213V and a good position on the grid is always crucial in Estoril. We have to keep working hard like we did in Qatar and Jerez. Hopefully we can have good weather and the grandstands are full of Spanish fans as we had in Jerez on Sunday, especially being the last season we race in Estoril."
"A flying visit back home to Switzerland and now we have the Grand Prix of Portugal this weekend. After our win in Jerez, I'm looking forward to going to Estoril and hopefully we can maintain the form we've had in the past two races as we've shown good pace. However, we do need to fix the arm pump issue as it's held us back a little and it's disappointing we weren't able to fix it before Jerez.
We've had some really good results at Estoril in the past, I got my first 250cc win there so I'll be aiming for another good result but it would be really nice if we can have some better weather for the weekend!."
"We are highly motivated heading to Portugal, after the win in Qatar and second place at Jerez. We are in really good shape right now, as we were only in action at Jerez a few days ago. We will be very focused, because it is a tricky track. We had a very positive test last year there and there will be some useful reference points to help me for the race. I am really looking forward to getting back on the bike."
"Estoril is a track that I like. We had a great result there last year and this time around we have to be at 100% to give our best. Leaving Jerez with a sixth place means that we have to change our mentality and maintain our motivation. The good thing about having two races back-to-back is that we can quickly forget about Jerez and a difficult race, moving onto the Portuguese round with much excitement."
"We have to forget about last weekend's race and reflect on things. Moving forward is the aim now. Estoril is my home round and I will have plenty of fans in attendance, whilst my goal there will be to enjoy myself. We will work to be one of the frontrunners. It is a difficult, technical circuit, but also a lot of fun. Riding at my home Grand Prix makes it an extra special occasion."
"Estoril is a circuit where I have ridden just the once, but I felt good there. We have to continue working in the same way with the bike, whilst also looking for a little more power in order to keep up with the KTM riders. I am very happy with the fourth place at Jerez –it serves as a boost for the Portuguese GP. Heavy rain is expected there, but it will be the same for everyone and we will all have to adapt to the conditions."
"Estoril is a new track for me and I don't have any reference points. We will try and work like we did in Jerez in order to continue to get good results. I will do everything that I can to get to know track and continue my adaptation to the Suter. We will continue to work with the team to learn and to earn the best result possible."
Redding and Kallio aiming for the podium in Estoril
Estoril, Portugal - 02 May 2012: Marc VDS Racing Team riders, Scott Redding and Mika Kallio, head for this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril with a podium firmly in their sights, after an encouraging performance in Jerez.
Redding finished an impressive fourth in Jerez, after coming through the field from 12th position on the grid to lead the race for six of the 17 laps. The result means the 19-year-old Briton now lies fourth in the championship standings, a position he is keen to improve upon this weekend.
A near highside late in the Jerez race robbed Kallio of any chance of a top five finish, but his seventh place finish means the 29-year-old Finn is now sixth in the championship standings and just eight points behind his Marc VDS teammate.
Neither of the Marc VDS riders count Estoril amongst their favourite circuits, but Redding took a hard fought fourth place in the Moto2 race in 2010, while Kallio secured his first ever Grand Prix win at the circuit with victory in the 2005 125cc race.
Just like in Jerez, the weather could play a big part this weekend in Portugal. Rain is forecast for all three days, at a track that saw qualifying for all three classes cancelled two years ago due to flooding.
Estoril is one of the slowest tracks on the Moto2 calendar but it nonetheless represents a huge challenge to the riders as it snakes its way through 13 corners, including numerous hairpins and a technically demanding chicane.
Livio Loi will join the Marc VDS Racing Team once again at Estoril, where the 15-year-old Belgian rider will contest rounds three and four of the MotoGP Rookies Cup. Loi currently lies ninth in the championship standings, after 13th and eighth place finishes in the opening two rounds at Jerez.
Scott Redding #45:
"I head to Portugal this time off the back of a good result in Jerez, where I proved I had the pace to challenge at the front of the race, so I'm pretty confident going into this weekend. I know if everything goes our way in practice and qualifying at Estoril then I can challenge for the podium in the race. The Estoril circuit is quite technical with a lot of heavy braking areas and the forecast for this weekend is for rain, again. Hopefully it won't be like 2010 when it was so heavy they had to cancel qualifying!"
Mika Kallio #36:
"For me Estoril is a bit of a Mickey Mouse track, very stop and go, with a lot of slow corners. I don't like it so much but, for some reason, I've had good results there in the past, including my first ever Grand Prix win. Anyway, we head to Portugal looking for a podium finish and, after battling my way up to the leading group in Jerez, I don't think that's an unrealistic goal this weekend."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"Scott and Mika's performance in Jerez was very encouraging; it was good to see both of them on the pace and involved in the battle for the race lead. I hope we will see the same again this weekend in Estoril, where I'm confident a podium finish is well within their capabilities. The weather for this weekend looks to be decidedly wet, but having experienced almost every type of weather other than snow in Jerez, I think we should have a workable set-up whatever the conditions in Estoril."
REA TAKES POINTS PLATFORM TO ESTORIL
Gino Rea heads for the third round of the Moto2 World Championship at this weekend Estoril having boosted his confidence with a first point of the season last Sunday at Jerez. The British rider made small but important steps forward with the set-up of his Moriwaki in Spain and is now hoping to make significantly more progress in Portugal.
Gino Rea “It's another new track for me to learn so I'll be playing the Playstation as much as possible over the next couple of days! In Jerez we made some progress with the new bike so I'm looking forward to trying it out at a different circuit. It will be another difficult weekend to try and learn the track layout whilst also working on improving the machine but this is the challenge we have signed up for and we are highly determined and motivated to do the job well. I have a great team around me, they are working well and hopefully we can leave Portugal with another solid race behind us like we did at Jerez.”
Fausto Gresini “We took a small step forward at Jerez but it's pretty clear all the Moriwaki riders are struggling at the moment and we have higher hopes than this. Estoril is around the corner and we don't have much time to prepare but we'll be working hard anyway to give Gino the best possible feeling with his bike and try to be more competitive than Jerez.”
WILAIROT LOOKS TO MAKE UP FOR JEREZ DISAPPOINTMENT AT ESTORIL
Team Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2 rider Ratthapark Wilairot has been sleeping uneasily since Sunday night, counting down the hours to get back on track and make up for his disappointment at Jerez. “Feem” has struggled to get confident with the Moriwaki over the opening two races of the season so his clear objective for round three is to improve his form and feeling for the Japanese machine from the moment he takes to the Estoril circuit on Friday morning.
Ratthapark Wilairot “This is a difficult moment for me in my career and I am disappointed to be struggling so much for feeling with this bike. The team and I are working to our limit but we still haven't found the right way forward yet. We'll try again at Estoril and try to find the confidence we have been lacking so far."
Fausto Gresini “I feel sorry for “Feem” because I know his potential is much higher than he has been able to show so far and the team are doing everything they can at the moment without finding the right way forward. Unfortunately at the moment this is about the limit of every Moriwaki rider on track so the goal at Estoril is try again to give Ratthapark a machine he can utilise his potential on!”
ANTONELLI READY TO BUILD ON POINTS TALLY AT ESTORIL
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini Moto3 youngster Niccolo Antonelli makes his third appearance in the Moto3 World Championship this weekend on the back of a positive outing at Jerez, where he debuted an FTR chassis in his Honda NSF250R and picked up his first points. A rookie mistake in qualifying meant that the teenager was forced to battle back for positions in the race from fifth on the grid, leaving him with the bittersweet feeling that his eighth place finish could have been even better. Now he will look to put that disappointment behind him with an improved showing at Estoril.
Niccolo’ Antonelli “If it wasn't for my mistake in qualifying I could have had a better grid position and a better race as a result so I am annoyed about that but happy with my performance level and potential. I am happy to be heading back on to the track so soon and I hope I can learn Estoril quickly, having only seen it previously on the television, so that we can work on the set-up of the bike. I need a bit more confidence but I am sure with the help of the team we can find that in Portugal. It would be nice for me to be up there fighting with my friend Fenati, who has made incredible progress, and I hope I can prove Dani Pedrosa right after the kind comments he made about me in the press.”
Fausto Gresini “Niccolò had a good race at Jerez and rode sensibly in difficult conditions to pick up some important first points. It was the first time he was using the new chassis and apart from the qualifying mistake when he should have come in to change his wet tyres for slicks I thought it was a positive weekend. He was still annoyed with himself at the end of the race and I understand why but he has huge potential to improve and the objective is to do that from race to race. At Estoril we want to do better than Jerez and it will be an important experience for him to gather more kilometres and get more comfortable on the bike. ”
MotoGP Moto3: Team Italia heads to Portugal to dream on
Without the time to celebrate Fenati's maiden success, Team Italia is already back on track. After Jerez, Moto3 heads to Estoril for the third GP of the season.
The memory of Fenati's brilliant race on the Spanish track is still alive in the minds of spectators, as it brought Italy back on the top step of the podium in the smallest MotoGP category for the first time since 2009 (Iannone) and gave Team Italia a triumph that was missing since 1989 (Gresini). Jerez also saw Alessandro Tonucci score his first points after an unlucky start to his season.
But it's time to move on, with eyes on Friday's first free practice session.
The two Team Italia riders approach the next race with similar motivation: 'Fenny' wants to keep open his positive streak begun with the 2nd place in his Qatar debut, 'Tonu' aims to do better and close the gap with the front.
"The Team has the right experience to live this moment without being too enthusiastic but using it as a stimulus to keep up the effort – said Team manager Massimo Vergini – The championship is a long marathon and we have to take one step at a time. We surely started the season well, but we have a long way to go. Romano enjoys his time on the bike, and we'll try to protect him without making him feel the pressure of being the championship leader. As for Tonucci, he is also strong and we hope that Fenati's results will push him to climb the standings starting at Estoril."
By tomorrow morning, the whole team and the riders will be in Portugal, ready to face a new challenge.