Press release previews from the MotoGP teams for the upcoming Portuguese round at Estoril:
Repsol Honda Team targeting another strong result in Portugal
This week the MotoGP family head to Estoril for the last time after visiting the circuit since 2000. The Grand Prix of Portugal is the third race of the season and the Repsol Honda Team arrives there only four days after celebrating the victory of Casey Stoner and the third position finish of Dani Pedrosa in Jerez.
Casey and Dani, second and third respectively in the MotoGP World Championship standings, will be aiming for another strong result at the Portuguese track, always a challenge for its combination of long corners and heavy braking and an unpredictable weather, even more this year with the powerful 1000cc machines.
Stoner, who took his first ever GP victory at Jerez last week, will try to do the same now in Estoril, the only track on the calendar where victory eludes him in the premier class.
Dani was the last winner here having won in 2011 and holds the circuit record from 2009 with a lap time of 1'36.937. He has achieved 4 podiums out of 6 races in MotoGP class in Portugal, while Casey won in 250cc (2005) and has 3 podiums finishes in MotoGP.
CASEY STONER World Championship Position: 2nd with 41 points
"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!".
DANI PEDROSA World Championship Position: 3rd with 36 points
"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".
Yamaha Factory Racing Take Championship Lead to Estoril
Yamaha Factory Racing head to Estoril this weekend on the Atlantic coast in Portugal for the second European round of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship, the first back to back race weekend of the season. Jorge Lorenzo arrives in confident mood as the Championship leader having taken victory in Qatar and a well deserved second place finish in Jerez last weekend. Estoril is another favourite track for Lorenzo with four consecutive premier class pole position starts, three race wins and one second place finish. He has never finished higher than second in the premier class there. The Mallorcan will be looking to defend and extend his four point lead in the standings.
Team mate Ben Spies arrives in Portugal determined to get his 2012 Championship back on track after a frustrating start to the season. The Texan has yet to complete a MotoGP race at the Estoril circuit having suffered misfortune in both 2010 and 2011.
The Autodromo Fernanda Pires de Silva sits just seven kilometres from the Atlantic coast and as such is notorious for dramatic weather changes; riders can see conditions change in seconds from warm sunshine to high winds and gusts of rain. Estoril provides one of the most challenging circuits for set up, featuring one of the longest straights of the MotoGP calendar combined with the one of the slowest corners. Lorenzo and Spies will need all their rider skills to negotiate the slow twisty sections then hold their nerve for the high speed 200km/hr kink at turn five and the infamous final Parabolica corner leading to the finish line.
“We go to Estoril now, a track which has seen very good results for me. I have had some great victories here, and really enjoy the racing. I think we can be very strong in the race and as in Jerez I think the right tyres will be very important. We are leading the Championship but the competition is very tough so we must give everything to try and stay in front. We also will test on Monday which will be important to continue to make the 1000cc M1 even better.”
“It’s been a pretty rough start to the season so far, we’re going to Estoril determined to get our championship back on track and get back up there. I’ve been pretty unlucky in Portugal so it’s time to change that and deliver a good result. We will work hard from the first session to find a good set up that works and see what we can do on Sunday.”
“It’s been a very good season so far, now we arrive in Estoril, another favourite track for Jorge, with him leading the Championship again, as was the case last year. We are definitely more competitive this year so we hope to be able to keep pushing at the front in all sessions and at least retain if not grow our Championship lead.”
“We expect Jorge to continue at Estoril as he started the season. It’s a favourite circuit for him, so we are confident he will be at the front again. Ben has had a difficult start to however we know that he is capable of running with the front group. We are working hard to give him the feeling he needs with the bike and we are confident that he will give 100% as always over the sessions and race.”
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Race Preview - Round 3: Estoril, Portugal
1 May 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium; Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Following an exciting second race of the season at Jerez, MotoGP™ stays put on the Iberian Peninsula for this weekend as Portugal’s Circuito do Estoril hosts round three of the 2012 MotoGP™ World Championship.
With two of the eighteen rounds completed, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo leads the championship after victory at Qatar and a second place at Jerez, while Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner, fresh from a fantastic win at Jerez and teammate Dani Pedrosa are hot on his heels in the standings.
Estoril’s layout features a wide array of corners with both fast and slow sections that generate dissimilar loads on the left and right-hand shoulders of the tyres meaning asymmetric rear slicks are essential to ensure riders have consistent levels of grip and the necessary durability over race distance. The left shoulder of the rear tyre is subject to much lower loads and so needs to be softer to offer good warm-up performance and initial grip, whereas the higher temperatures generated in the right shoulder, particularly as riders open the throttle out of Parabólica and onto the main straight, require a harder compound rubber.
Traditionally, grip levels at Estoril are variable due to its proximity to the sea and susceptibility to unsettled weather and current long-term forecasts indicate that rain is a strong possibility over the race weekend.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“So far this season we’ve had two very good races and with Estoril giving us many memorable races in previous years, I believe this trend will continue this weekend. Jorge’s record at Estoril is very good but with so many riders in form I expect it to be another closely-fought contest. I also look forward to seeing how the battle between the CRT riders develops as the performance of the CRT machines at the last race was impressive.
“Having had its competitive debut at Jerez, our new specification front slick tyre will be available at Estoril in the harder compound and following the positive feedback it received from riders at Jerez, I anticipate that it will be widely utilised this weekend. The change in wet tyre allocation regulation that was introduced at Jerez also worked well, with riders taking advantage of the extra flexibility in tyre choice it offers. Rain is always a possibility at Estoril and though the main wet tyre we are offering is the softer compound, the hard compound wet tyre will be available to riders if required. On Monday there will be a post-race test and our engineers will be on-hand to assist teams with tyre choice and data analysis, so it will be a busy weekend for Bridgestone.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Estoril has quite a distinctive layout with an imbalance between right and left-hand corners and a combination of fast corners, such as the long, final corner that leads onto the main straight and very slow sections such as the chicane that makes up turns nine and ten.
“The track layout, combined with the generally low track temperatures encountered at Estoril requires softer tyre compounds – particularly at the front - to generate the necessary grip and warm-up performance, but for the rear tyre, the right shoulder of the rear tyre needs to be harder to cope with the high temperatures generated in the last corner. To address this performance requirement, Bridgestone will provide an asymmetric rear tyre at Estoril that features rubber on its right shoulder that is considerably harder than the rubber on the left shoulder for the optimum combination of grip and durability.”
MOTOGP SEASON GATHERS PACE WITH PORTUGUESE STOP
The MotoGP World Championship paddock makes the 600km trip directly from Jerez to Estoril this week as the season gathers pace with the third round of eighteen. For Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista the Grand Prix of Portugal provides another opportunity to build up his confidence on board the Honda RC213V at a circuit where he has won races in both the 125 and 250 classes, having struggled for dry track time at his home event last weekend. Likewise Michele Pirro will be hoping for better weather as he chases vital development time on board the team's CRT bike. If it weren't for bad luck and some teething problems with the bike the Italian rookie would have picked up his first premier-class points at Jerez and have been justifiably rewarded for the incredible hard work being put in by him and his crew.
Alvaro Bautista “It was a difficult weekend at Jerez because of the weather and my crash in practice but thankfully we found some confidence for the race and picked up a result that gives us a platform to build on in the next round. We need to build my confidence still further with this bike at a circuit that I don't particularly like even though I have three wins here, one in 125 and two in 250. It is a circuit with some hard braking and the grip levels aren't great but I have had luck there in the past so hopefully that will prove to be the case again. It is important for us to get through a whole weekend without problems so that I can build the confidence I need to push the bike as hard as I want to. ”
Michele Pirro “I was really hoping to score my first points for the team at Jerez but I couldn't manage it. They deserve that and more for the tireless job they are doing but unfortunately the dream was shattered just a few laps from the end because of an electronic problem. That was a shame but at Estoril we carry on with what is a difficult job but it's a job we all believe in and now we just need a bit of luck to go with that belief. I qualified on the second row for the Moto2 race here last year and I like the layout so I hope it suits our bike. Naturally we can't get too excited because our only goal right now is to make improvements from one race to the next. We have a long way to go but morale is high and we are determined to show our potential on track.”
Fausto Gresini “We don't have much time to sit down and reflect on the last race with the next one coming around so quickly but we are all keen to improve on the performance from Jerez. Alvaro has the potential to do that and by working with the team with the same amount of determination and calmness he can do that. A weekend of consistent weather and no crashes would certainly be a big help in terms of finding the confidence required to take another step forward. The main objective for Michele is to finish the race and get the data we need to work on the bike. The CRT project is a race against time but we are realising that every time we take to the track it improves so if we can continue like this we will be rewarded soon. The whole team believes in the project and personally I really appreciate the effort they are all making.”
Ducati Team returns to the track for Portuguese GP
The Ducati Team has transferred to Portugal for the third round of the MotoGP World Championship, which will take place on Sunday at Circuito Estoril, a track that, despite being notable for having the slowest average speed on the Grand Prix calendar, also includes some very fast sections like Turn 5, which is taken at approximately 200 Km/h (125 mph).
In twelve premier-class races at the circuit, Valentino Rossi has won five times and scored some additional podium finishes, while Nicky Hayden’s best finish there was a fourth place in 2007. The team will remain at the track on Monday for a post-race test.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“I like the Estoril track. It has some sections that are a bit tricky and the weather can be very unpredictable, but I like to race there. We had a decent race in Portugal last year with the Ducati, and we hope to do the same this Sunday. The plan is to start on Friday with the setting that we used in the race at Jerez, as I think it has some more potential for us to work toward. We’ll see if we can take a step forward and improve our result somewhat.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“There hasn’t been much time since Jerez, which is good, as I enjoy back-to-back races. I rode to Portugal in the motor home, and it was a really short, easy trip. I can’t say that I love or hate Estoril. It’s a tight track with a little bit of everything, and the wind can be challenging. My favourite part is the fast corner in the back, but the rest of it is pretty normal. I’m looking forward to Friday. We’ll see what the weather’s going to be like, as it’s pretty unpredictable here. What we don’t need is exactly what we had in Jerez: mostly wet sessions and then having to go into a dry race. It’s clear we need the whole weekend to try to sort some things out and put up a better fight on Sunday.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we find conditions in Portugal to be similar to those we left behind at Jerez, but although we went well in the rain there, we hope for a weekend with nice weather this time, which would allow us to take full advantage of all the available track time. The Estoril GP will be important for confirming that we’re on the right path in terms of the GP12’s setup, with both Vale and Nicky. Then on Monday we’ll have a day of post-race testing during which we can make some more checks as we continue our bike’s development.”
After a good Championship start, the Pramac Racing Team can’t wait to face a new challange, that will take place on Estoril Circuit, Portugal, next weekend.
This is the 13th edition of the Estoril GP, during which Hector won one race but made it the podium a lot.
The layout of the Autodromo Fernando Pires de Silva is contrasting, featuring one of the longest main straights in MotoGP and one of the slowest corners. Several other twisty sections cause the lowest average speed in the Championship but the 200km/h at the fifth turn and the final Parabolica corner are two of the toughest tests of any rider's skill and bravery.
Besides, the circuit of Estoril, is just seven kilometres from the Atlantic and it is notorious for fastest changes in weather, with spells of warm sunshine often interrupted by wild gusts of cold wind and rain.
In this circuit, Hèctor have had an ups and downs of strange emotions (thanks to several podiums and stirring races) and small disappointments.
Certainly, the Spanish rider likes Estoril and he hopes to continue to be in the top ten this season aboard of his Ducati GP12.
Hèctor Barberà – Rider Pramac Racing Team
“I like Estoril and on this track I have achieved great deal.
Physically I'm fine, and I know that the bike is ready for Estoril. I know that our Ducati can give us many satisfaction if we work well as we did.
In Jerez I wasn’t able to regain the confidence while I was riding my GP12, because of the tricky track conditions, even if the work of the team has been faultless.
But a new and unpredictable challenge is starting..”.
Francesco Guidotti – Team Manager Pramac Racing –
“Estoril is a difficult track, which combines slow sectors with other fast. The last corner is without a doubt the most difficult. The rain could shuffle the cards: It may rain for all three regions of free practice, qualifying and the race.
Despite that I’m confident with the team’s work and with Hèctor’s abilities, hope to achieve a good race result.
ASPAR POWER ELECTRONICS PAIR LOOK TO DOMINATE CRT'S AT ESTORIL
Aleix Espargaró leads CRT rider standings after Jerez win
The third round of the MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend at the Autodromo Fernanda Pires da Silva, a circuit more commonly known as Estoril. The Grand Prix of Portugal was one of the last to be confirmed on the 2012 calendar and its inclusion on next year's schedule remains uncertain. Another major unknown here is the weather, its location on the edge of the Atlantic ocean making it prone to heavy thunderstorms like in 2010, when practice was suspended in all three classes due to a torrential downpour.
The battle at the top of the MotoGP World Championship looks set to continue between Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa but interest in the battle for CRT supremacy is equally high, with POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR pair missing out on taking the top two positions in the new category with just two laps remaining at Jerez. Whilst Randy De Puniet was forced to retire, Aleix Espargaró celebrated his first 'victory' in parc fermé and the Spaniard is now the top ranked CRT rider in the championship standings. The team have no prior data to work from at this track but De Puniet has the experience of a sixth place MotoGP finish here and three podiums in the 250cc class.
Friday 4th May FP1 11:10-11:55 FP2 15:10-15:55
Saturday 5th May FP3 11:10-11:55 QP 14:55-15:55
Sunday 6th May WARM UP 10:30-10:50 RACE 14:00h (28 laps)
Aleix Espargaró: "Portugal could well be my least favourite track of the year, which makes this an even more interesting challenge. I had a terrible time there last year and I know we'll be struggling down the long straight this weekend. At Jerez I had the best top speed of all the CRT bikes but I was still 20km/h shy of the best MotoGP bike on a straight that is 350m shorter than this. But our job is to keep progressing and working twice as hard if we can, with the added confidence of a good result at Jerez behind us."
Randy de Puniet: "Estoril has never been a bad track for me in the past although I wouldn't say I particularly like it. That won't distract me from my main objective though, which is to be the best CRT bike out there on Sunday. The weather always plays an important role here and obviously we are going to be struggling down the long straight compared to the MotoGP bikes, so it is up to us to make the most of the bike's other strengths."
BRADL KEEN TO CONTEST THE PORTUGUESE ROUND
Estoril, 3 May: the MotoGP World Championship returns to action at Estoril (Portugal) this weekend following last weekend's round in Southern Spain where LCR racer Stefan Bradl gained an impressive 7th place at the Jerez race track. At this week’s event LCR Honda MotoGP Team is pleased to announce that Linear (one of the major Italian Online Insurance Companies) will act as the Title Sponsor branding the German talent RC213Vs.
The partnership between Linear and LCR Team started last season sharing the common will to sensitize public towards the road safety (not only to MotoGP fans): in fact the cooperation between the two societies do not include just the motorbikes fairings. Linear Assicurazioni skills and Lucio’s long-term experience will give birth to many yearly activities concerning the road safety which aim to reach the sensibility of this sport fans through the driving advices of a connoisseur.
Given his affinity for the track, and his continuing progress in his rookie year in the MotoGP class, Bradl believes he can improve on his seventh place finish in Jerez. German rookie already climbed the podium at Portuguese track winning 2010 and 2011 Moto2 races.
Bradl: “I am really looking forward to Estoril GP. I know it will be more difficult for me on a MotoGP bike because this track is very small for those kind of bikes. I won the last 2 years races in Moto2 which is a good sign for me: I like the circuit and I like the atmosphere so I presume this will be another exciting weekend for me and the squad”.
PETRUCCI OPENS THE GRAN PRIX OF PORTUGAL
The pre-event press conference opens the Portuguese Gran Prix with the Came Iodaracing team rider Danilo Petrucci that attends at this event with the World Champions Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Bradl. The young Italian rider has talked about his impressions about the Jerez result and what he will expects from the race on the Estoril Circuit, where he never races before.
In Moto3 Armando Pontone in this race will substitute Jonas Folger. Armando came from the experience of the last year in this class where he won the Moto3 Challenge at the Italian Championship, winning five race with the TR001.
"Last week we did a great job – Petrucci has declared – and the first points in the championship are the right prize for whom are working hard to develope the TR003. Now we are still working on the bike because we have less power than our competitors and for this reason I had to change my riding style braking hard and beeing fast in the corners. Racing against those champions for me is like a dream, but we are concentrated on our target that is getting points in every race”.
"I’m so excited to be there – Pontone has said – and that creates in me a big motivation. I’ll give my best to get a good result during this week end”.
Bel-Ray Press Release- Bel-Ray Weekend Racing Preview
Bel-Ray Racing-Weekend Racing Preview – May 4, 2012
For decades, professional racers have experienced the performance advantages that Bel-Ray powersports lubricants provide. This weekend, Bel-Ray’s professional racers will be competing around the world in various types of competition.
The Grand Prix of Portugal will take place this weekend at the famous Estoril circuit. Situated along the Atlantic coast of the country, the track is just 28km from the capital city of Lisbon. The long, high speed front straight could prove difficult for the Bel-Ray backed Power Electronics Aspar team of Aleix Espargaro and Randy De Puniet, as their CRT bike are slower than the factory backed MotoGP machines.
De Puniet is committed to giving it his all despite the handicap. "We are going to be struggling down the long straight compared to the MotoGP bikes, so it is up to us to make the most of the bike's other strengths."
Teammate Espargaro echoed his sentiment, “at Jerez, I had the best top speed of all the CRT bikes, but I was still 20km/h shy of the best MotoGP bike on a straight that is 350m shorter than this. But our job is to keep progressing and working twice as hard if we can, with the added confidence of a good result at Jerez behind us."
Coming into this weekend, Espargaro is ranked 12th and De Puniet 15th in the World Championship point standings.