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Archive for April, 2011

MotoGP: Factory Ducati Riders in Rows 3 and 5 for Estoril

30 Apr

With conditions more variable than they had been on Friday, the two Ducati Marlboro Team riders struggled more than expected to find the best setup during qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The third free-practice session, which took place on a mostly wet track, was positive for both riders, with Hayden third and Rossi fourth, while the afternoon session, which was dry but with a slightly dirty track, saw the Italian finish ninth and the American thirteenth.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 9th, 1:38.271

“I’m a little disappointed with my performance today because I expected to get the fifth- or sixth-best time and be on the second row; that was the target. Unfortunately, though, it was a little more difficult than expected, and I wasn’t able to ride like I could yesterday since I didn’t have as much feeling. I couldn’t fight for a position that we would have been happier with. I struggled a little with the track conditions, as I didn’t have enough grip, especially on the front, and we’re trying to understand why. For tomorrow, we have to try to improve something with the front setup in order to still have a good race. I think the best pace will be around 1:37.5, and I’d be very happy to get in the high 1:37s, but we’ll have to find something in order to do that. I’m not hoping for a wet race, because although it’s true that we might be able to have more fun, racing in the dry makes it possible to understand more. Really, both options are fine.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 13th, 1:38.922

“I really thought we had made some good progress yesterday, and I’m certainly not thrilled about qualifying thirteenth, especially when we were third this morning—I liked the sound of that a lot better. This morning we went out on the slicks and had a pretty decent feeling for a patchy track. In the afternoon, the track was pretty dry apart from a few patches, but it was definitely cooler and dirty, which didn’t help with the tires. I just wasn’t able to get enough grip, especially in the front and over the bumps. I had one front tire that we couldn’t get to come in for some reason, and between losing those laps and coming back in to change it, we lost some time there. We also made a change with the rear to try to get it to turn better, and maybe we went too far and got it a bit wrong. Anyway, that clearly wasn’t good enough, but we’ll give it our best tomorrow.”

 
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MotoGP: Lorenzo Snatches Pole Position at Estoril

30 Apr

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) took his first pole position of the season for the bwin Grande Prémio de Portugal after Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) had looked the likely pole sitter until a late crash. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa took the last spot on the front row.

With dark clouds looming over the circuit, it was race winner from Jerez, Lorenzo who claimed his 17th MotoGP pole and the 43rd in his career. The Yamaha rider’s win in Spain was the 15th time he had stood on the top step on the podium, matched Alex Criville’s record of the most wins by a Spanish rider in the premier class. This is a circuit where the Mallorcan has won the last three races from pole position.

The pole position lap time of 1’37.161 was just over one tenth faster than his nearest challenger Simoncelli. After dominating both Friday practices, the Italian rider had continued to lead the timing screens throughout the qualifying hour until he was pipped by the reigning World Champion in the final five minutes. Simoncelli then was on a lap which was a third of a second up on the Yamaha when he crashed into turn 7 which ruled out the possibility of the 24 year old fighting to regain top spot.

The top four riders were separated between 0.223s, with the Repsol Honda duo of Pedrosa and Casey Stoner in third and fourth. The Spaniard’s second place in Jerez was the 90th time he has stood on the rostrum in Grand Prix racing where as Stoner was victim to a much publicised crash at the previous race. The Australian crashed out of this race last season whilst hunting down the leading pack and will be looking to get back into contention for this year’s title in the race tomorrow.

Lorenzo’s Yamaha Factory Racing team mate Ben Spies was fifth fastest, ahead of the third Repsol Honda rider, Andrea Dovizioso on the second row. The Italian won here in 2006 in the 250cc category and was on the rostrum here last season.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow were seventh and eighth respectively on the third row. The American was seventh in Portugal last year, but less than four seconds away from a spot on the rostrum. Crutchlow was only a tenth off his team mate on his first appearance at the Estoril circuit in his debut MotoGP season.

The highest placed Ducati was the rider with the best record at the circuit. Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team), who has had ten podium finishes here, was ninth quickest and just edged out the second Ducati of Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar Team). The top ten riders were within 1.202s of each other. Rossi’s team mate Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was in 13th, rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing)  continued his form from the weekend to qualify in 12th.

Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) made improvements after his return to the bike this weekend after his broken femur. The Spaniard finished in 15th, just over two seconds off Lorenzo’s pole lap.

Photos: Dorna Communications Ltd (Lorenzo) and Ducati Corse (Rossi)

 
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MotoGP Riders’ Quotes After FP1 and FP2 Sessions for Estoril

29 Apr

San Carlo Honda Gresini Team

After the disappointment of crashing whilst leading the race in Jerez, the 24 year old dominated both first and second practice, to finish ahead of fellow Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner. Simoncelli was consistently quick on a circuit where he has enjoyed good results in the past. His best result of his debut season was here at Estoril with a fourth place. The rider from Cattolica was happy with his set-up after improvements were made from earlier in the day and is confident of continuing enhancements throughout the weekend.

Marco Simoncelli

”Yes today is a great day of course for me because I started the morning very fast. We continued this into the afternoon. We did some work on our set-up and made some modifications to the chassis and everything is working good. We still need to improve the grip in the first corner for the maximum angle, this is the main problem. This morning we had some problems with the brakes but we solved the issue, not completely but a very good step forward. I’m happy and confident with the set-up of my bike.”

Yamaha Factory Racing

current championship leader Lorenzo, was fourth fastest in the morning session and progressed to second in the afternoon, just 0.061s off Marco Simoncelli’s fastest lap. The Mallorcan was able to split the Honda’s of Simoncelli and Dani Pedrosa and set consistently quick laps throughout both sessions on day one. After winning in Jerez, the 23 year old is hoping for a dry race this weekend and to improve the braking on his Yamaha ahead of qualifying tomorrow.Spies came off his bike in first practice and finished in eighth place in both sessions. The 26 year old believes the performance is there within the bike, but more work is required on the set-up to try and compete at the front in the race, whether it be wet or dry.

Jorge Lorenzo

”My feeling is good because we have always been in the first positions. In the morning we finished fourth, in the afternoon second. We are close to the first rider. We have to improve a little with our bike, especially with the braking and in particular the first sector of the track. If we can improve this, maybe we can be closer to the top. I hope the weather stays dry but we are prepared for anything. Obviously we prefer the dry then the wet conditions. To be honest, the pole position is not my goal. My aim is to finish the race on the podium. If we can’t, then we will just to try to finish. The important thing is not to crash and to get some points.”

Ben Spies

”It hasn’t been a perfect day, we have struggled a little bit. We went out this afternoon to try and get a feel for the harder tyre. We don’t think that’s the way for the race tyre. We never got the chance to put the soft tyre back on as we were trying different settings. We’re not close to the front but we’re going to find our way back up there and get faster. I’m pretty confident that me and my guys can step up for sure. We just had two off sessions. I think it’s going to be the same for everybody if it rains. I don’t think it will change much as the fast guys will still be fast in the rain and in the dry. Rain or shine, I’m really not too worried about it. I’ve had some seat time on the bike in the wet, but we would always rather ride in the dry because it’s a little bit safer, but for me it doesn’t make too much of a difference. To be in the top two rows for the start is where we need to be. The guys are looking at all the data and are seeing what they can do to make the bike better.”

Team Repsol Honda

The Repsol Honda riders’ had mixed performances after the two Friday practice sessions for the bwin Grande Prémio de Portugal. Dani Pedrosa finished third quickest, with Casey Stoner in fifth and Andrea Dovizioso in 12th.

Casey Stoner

“To be honest I’m not very happy with how the day has gone. We had a few small issues with the bike that took quite a lot of time out of our sessions today. We could have had a much more productive day than we did, as we didn’t really find any improvements. We have to wait for tomorrow and hope for some dry weather, because at this moment we’re not too happy with the setting of the bike. We need to improve it a little under the braking point and in the middle of the corner, where we seem to be struggling to get the bike to turn, so if there is some good weather tomorrow, we should be able to improve the situation and not be so far off”.

Dani Pedrosa

“I think the first day of practice has been positive, it’s the first race after a major operation, so it’s only logical that I feel sore and I understand that with a little more time and treatment this will disappear. The pain I feel are some cramps which are caused by tension I have in the shoulder area. The last round of laps this afternoon, I wanted to extend a little longer to see how I felt, but I made seven laps in a row, which would be about 15 minutes. This is not enough to make a definitive judgement. If it rains tomorrow, it will be important to have a positive practice to get a good position on the grid”.

Andrea Dovizioso

“Today I had two difficult practice sessions and I can’t be happy. I had no feeling with the front so we made several runs to test the modifications, but the situation in general didn’t improve in the afternoon. I struggled to make lap times. Today was dry and I hope that tomorrow we can continue to work in the same conditions. According to the weather forecast, it should rain and this would complicate the situation”.

Team Marlboro Ducati
Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden start well in Portugal The rain that was forecast for the first day of practice at the Estoril Grand Prix arrived, but fortunately for the MotoGP riders, both sessions took place in dry conditions. After a nighttime shower, the weather granted a respite until shortly after the finish of the premier class’ 45 minute second free-practice session of the top class.

It was a good day for both Ducati Team riders, with Valentino Rossi fourth and Nicky Hayden ninth, making progressive improvement from the morning to the afternoon. The Italian rider improved his time by approximately five tenths, while the American actually dropped a second and a half from his earlier time.

Valentino Rossi:

“I’m pretty satisfied with how the day went. Let’s start with my physical condition, which I’m very happy with: I was obviously aware of being a little better when I arrived here, but I wanted to wait until I tested my shoulder on the track, which confirmed that I’m able to ride well and have fun. It still hurts a little, and I’m missing a little strength, but the difference compared to my left shoulder is less. I can concentrate on riding the bike, and when watching myself on television, I can see that my style is starting to be a little more normal. Naturally, we’re also working on the bike. Today we used a different weight distribution and some changes to the electronics that worked well. For the first time, we went faster in the afternoon session than in the morning. We dropped almost half a second, getting us closer to the top. I still have some problems with rear grip, so tomorrow we have to do better, but I’m happy for now.”

Nicky Hayden:

“This morning was not a good session at all, but the afternoon was a lot better. We had a problem with one bike in FP1. I’m not sure what happened, but we’ll send the engine back to Bologna to check it out. I went back out at the end, but we used hard tyres because I didn’t want to waste another soft tyre, since it looks like it will be a soft-tyre race this weekend. Also, I had just gone out with a new setting, and since I only did about four corners, we got no information on that. We lost some valuable time, but this afternoon went better—not spectacular, but pretty steady. I was in the top ten for most of the session, and I had a decent feeling with the bike—I would say better than what the lap time shows. I’m sure everybody thinks they can do better tomorrow, but I feel like we can do a good job and try to get in a good lap in qualifying, which is going to be really important.”

Álvaro Bautista had no ill-effects from the serious injury he suffered last month and will rest his leg this evening after receiving some physiotherapy from the Clinica Mobile. He is eager to make sure that he is a fit as possible for tomorrow’s final free practice in the morning and the afternoon’s qualifying session and is in a good condition for Sunday.

Álvaro Bautista:

“I am very happy because I think that nobody expected that after little more than one month I would be able to jump on the bike and ride! When I broke my femur my target was to ride here and I worked very hard to make it happen. I did many kilometers every day between Talavera and Madrid, for my visits to the hyperbaric chamber and for the physiotherapy that I needed – now I can say that I am here and I am riding because of that! I am still not 100%, because I need some more power in my leg, but to be able to ride and get a feeling for the bike and the reference points around the track in my mind to be a MotoGP rider, I am certainly fit enough. I went one second faster this afternoon than I did this morning and my feeling on the bike was very similar, I was just a bit more confident so I could push more. I didn’t want to risk anything today, it was all about riding and getting a feeling – I didn’t want to push too hard to find that fast lap-time. I am improving every time I get on the bike so that makes things look good for the rest of the weekend. My leg is a bit stiff now so I will need to recover and get a bit of work on it this evening, but it recovered quickly after this morning’s session, so I don’t think that will be a problem. I think my body is also remembering how to ride a MotoGP bike as well as my mind is, so that is a very positive thing.”

“I want to say a big thank-you to all the team for all the confidence they have shown in me. They all know that it is difficult for me to get to my maximum level, but they have given me their full support – so thanks to all of them for that.”

FP2 Practise Results for Estoril MotoGP 2011

1 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda RC212V 1:37.663
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1 1:37.724
3 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Honda RC212V 1:37.727
4 Valentino Rossi Ducati Marlboro Ducati GP11 1:38.102
5 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Honda RC212V 1:38.102
6 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1 1:38.203
7 Karel Abraham Cardion AB MotoRacing Ducati GP11 1:38.473
8 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha M1 1:38.563
9 Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Ducati GP11 1:38.596
10 Hector Barbera Aspar Team Ducati GP11 1:38.611
11 Hiroshi Aoyama San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda RC212V 1:38.645
12 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Honda RC212V 1:38.658
13 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha M1 1:38.760
14 Toni Elias LCR Honda Honda RC212V 1:38.912
15 Loris Capirossi Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 1:39.021
16 Randy De Puniet Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 1:39.137
17 Alvara Bautista Rizla Suzuki Suzuki GSV-R 1:40.173
 
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Advanced Photographer #5 now available in Malaysia

29 Apr

UK’s Advanced Photographer #5 coverdated April 2011 is now available in Malaysia from major bookstores like Borders and Times as well as newsagents like Selvam News Agency, Yakin Enterprise and Pustaka Bangsar. Being an imported magazine, the availability is approximately 4-6 weeks later than its release in the UK. This edition was released in UK almost 5 weeks ago, and marks the first time it has been released in Malaysia in the same month as its coverdate.

 
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Boon Siew Honda Launches Honda Wave Dash 110cc

28 Apr

Boon Siew Honda Sdn Bhd  has introduced a new sporty ride, the Honda Wave Dash, as it continues to captivate bike lovers who prioritise advanced performance, comfort, safety and design in a motorcycle.

The Honda Wave Dash is the second product in the “All Mode Mighty Series” and enhances Boon Siew Honda’s product offerings in the 110cc to 115cc market segment, consolidating Honda’s leadership position in the cub segment.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Boon Siew Honda, Satoshi Okada said, “The mid size cub market is expected to increase drastically as more new models enter the market, providing more choices to riders. The competitively lower prices of the bikes in this segment are now accompanied by sleek exterior designs and enhanced features. This aptly describes the new Honda Wave Dash as we seek to enhance the joy of riding for our customers”.

He said, “We are pleased to introduce the new Honda Wave Dash that meets the expectations of riders who want a sporty motorcycle that gives the thrill of speed, and offers excellent fuel efficiency while remaining affordable. We will continuously enhance our products to offer both advanced technology and innovative design as desired in a motorcycle. The Honda Wave Dash is the ideal motorcycle with a stylish exterior and advanced performance, which also features Honda’s essence of reliability and durability.”

“The Honda Wave Dash shares the main components with Honda Wave 110. This new model incorporates a balance of performance, design and functionality. The new Honda Wave Dash captivates with its new value added features while still offering high performance, comfort and a superb riding experience,” Okada added.

The market for the mid size cub segment (110cc-115cc) in 2010 was 110,000 units. With the introduction of Wave Dash, Boon Siew Honda set an optimistic target to capture 50% market share of the mid size cub segment in 2011.

The new Honda Wave Dash is available in 2 models: the RSR Model (with Electric Starter) and the RS Model (with Kick Starter). The bikes are available in 5 stylish colours – Vivacity Red and Luminous Orange for the RSR while the RS comes in Vivacity Red, Mariana Purple and Vital Blue Metallic. Priced at RM4,998 (RS) and RM5,268 (RSR).

 
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Honda MotoGP Riders Ready For Estoril Action in Portugal

28 Apr

The Honda MotoGP riders are ready to return to racing after the unexpected hiatus caused by the postponement of the April 17 Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi. The Japanese round of the MotoGP World Championship was put on hold following the devastating tsunami and earthquake that hit the Sendai region of Japan. The race has been provisionally rescheduled for October.

Four weeks after the rain-plagued Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez de la Frontera the MotoGP World Championship resumes on the Estoril Circuit not far from the Atlantic coast northwest of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, historically a setting of changing weather conditions. The postponement had the unintended consequence of allowing Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) to have further surgery on the left collarbone that was damaged during practice for last October’s Japanese Grand Prix. Pedrosa was operated on soon after a gutsy second place finish in difficult conditions in the first of his four home races at Jerez de la Frontera. With the operation more than three weeks ago, Pedrosa has been able to both rest and then begin the recovery process in advance of this weekend’s race in Estoril.

Second in the MotoGP World Championship, Pedrosa heads to Estoril ready to race on a track where he’s been on the podium two of the last three years. Though one of the slowest tracks on the calendar, the track presents a challenge to riders, with slow and fast corners, which require physical strength to negotiate. The race will certainly put Pedrosa’s arm to the test.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) is anxious to get back to racing after beating knocked down while running second to Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) on the eighth of 27 laps in Jerez. Stoner was on the move when Valentino Rossi (Ducati) slid off in the first turn, taking Stoner with him. Stoner tried to re-join the race, but wasn’t able to get his Honda RC212V fired. It was the lone black mark on what has been an impressive start to the season for Stoner, who began the year by dominating testing and followed it up with a brilliant victory in the season-opener under the lights in Qatar.

The third member of the Repsol Honda team, Andrea Dovizioso, would also like to forget about his Jerez weekend, when tyre and traction control problems ruined his race, and think about the future. The past has been good to Dovizioso in Portugal, with a win a two seconds in the 250cc class. Last year he won a tense battle for third to take his seventh podium of the 2010 season.

The rider Dovizioso narrowly defeated in last year’s race in Estoril was Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V). Simoncelli made steady progress through his rookie MotoGP season, culminating in a fourth place-the gap to Dovi was .059s-in Estoril, his best finish of the season. Simoncelli continued the steep learning curve this year and was leading his first MotoGP race in Jerez when he crashed out of the lead on the 12th lap. The disappointment of the crash was tempered by the progress he and the team have made, and they want to continue that in Estoril, where “Super Sic” won the 250cc race in 2009.

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) came within less than half a second of his first MotoGP podium in Jerez. The top Japanese rider proved his ability to negotiate difficult conditions while others fell by the wayside. Had the race run for one more lap, or even a few more corners, he certainly would have joined Pedrosa on the podium.

Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP) returns to the scene of his greatest triumph. Elias made the 2006 MotoGP race an instant classic by holding off world champion Valentino Rossi by .002s, with former world champion Kenny Roberts Jr. a close third. The fourth rider on the lead second was two-time World Superbike champion Colin Edwards. If there’s a track where Elias hopes to regain that magic, this is it.

With Elias vacating his Moto2 World Championship, a few riders have been quick to fill the void. Andrea Iannone (Speed Master, Suter) hasn’t let downfield qualifying efforts spoil his races. Sixteenth on the grid in Qatar, he finished second. Eleventh in Spain, he won the race.

Two other Moto2 riders have challenged Iannone’s for the top spot in the class. Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing, Kalex) had a shocking runaway win in the season-opener in Qatar. He followed it up with a fifth in Spain. Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2, Suter) has been a consistent third and second in the first two races, having qualified third in both Qatar and Jerez.

Estoril is a track of 4182m with 13 corners, nine rights and four lefts, with the longest straight of just under a kilometre. One of the slowest tracks of the year, the technical track demands compromises in chassis set-up, with a mix of fast and slow corners, which have different demands and makes the track less than an ideal circuit for MotoGP. The heavy acceleration out of the slow corners favors the Honda RC212V, but it also puts pressure on fuel consumption, though that hasn’t been an issue with the Honda riders. The track also has one of the best approaches to the finish line on the calendar. The looping Parabolica turn 13 right hander feeds onto the front straight, with the finish line far enough down the track to give riders a chance to make a dramatic draft-pass at the stripe.

Set near the Atlantic coast of Portugal, and only 28kms from Lisbon, the track suffers from the unpredictability of the weather and high winds that blow dust onto the track. It’s a certainty that at some point wind and rain will sweep in off the ocean, but the uncertainty of the weather is what keeps the racing interesting and challenging and rewards the best prepared.

The first MotoGP race was held at Estoril in 2000, with this being the 12th running. Unlike some races, which are fixtures on the calendar, Estoril hasn’t found a consistent date and runs in either the spring or fall. Last year’s race was run on the final day of October. The year before it was early in October. In 2008 it was on April 13. Where it ends up in the future is anyone’s guess.

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa:

“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.”

Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner:

“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 (Jorge) Lorenzo as he has been the strongest there in the past three 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.”

Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso:

“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 four 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”.

San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli:

“I still have a bitter taste in my mouth from Jerez. I was having a great race and the crash obviously wasn’t what I wanted, it was a real shame. I know I will have the chance to make up for it though, because I know I am fast and have a good feeling with a competitive bike. I have made progress and so has the team. We are getting on better and better and I am sure we will soon be celebrating together because everything is in place. It has been a long break and I have had time to go with my friends and ‘finish off the ski season’ before getting into some serious training ahead of Estoril. I had my best result of last season in Portugal and just missed out on the podium so this time I want to be on it. I like the track a lot; I won there in 250cc in 2009 and was on the podium the previous season. I am confident we can have a good weekend.”

San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Hiroshi Aoyama:

“The result at Jerez was an important confidence boost for me. The conditions were particularly difficult, but I managed to keep things under control from lap to lap. My only regret is that I was a little too careful with my overtaking in the early stages of the race, otherwise I could have been on the podium, but overall I am happy. Apart from a crash in the dry we established a good feeling with the bike and that gives me high hopes for Estoril. I have stayed in Europe over the break and just trained hard for the next race. Estoril is not an easy circuit because of the unpredictable weather conditions. The wind is a real problem and unexpected rain showers can make things really difficult. Hopefully this weekend it stays nice.”

LCR Honda MotoGP rider Toni Elias:

“Well, this break was a bit long and I am happy to be back on track, especially on this circuit where I have experienced an unforgettable victory in 2006. We had plenty of time to check the data and I am hoping to find a better set up in Portugal because I am eager to bounce back after a difficult beginning. I am bit worried about the weather. I would prefer a dry race, but the proximity to the ocean is always a gamble.”

 
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Yamaha Factory Racing Prepares for MotoGP @ Estoril in Portugal

28 Apr

The MotoGP paddock sets up at the Estoril circuit on the Atlantic coast in Portugal this weekend for round three of the World Championship after an extended break. The recent disaster in Japan and subsequent postponement of the Motegi round has resulted in a four week gap between races for Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.

Reigning MotoGP World Champion and current Championship leader Lorenzo returns to Estoril looking to extend a perfect score sheet from the Portuguese circuit. So far the young Mallorcan has three consecutive pole position starts, race wins and fastest laps, taking nothing less than victory from every Estoril race of his MotoGP career. The later scheduling of the Portuguese race in last year’s calendar meant Lorenzo raced at Estoril in 2010 having already been crowned World Champion. He went on to deliver Yamaha’s third consecutive Triple Crown that weekend with the help of his then team mate. A flawless performance under treacherous conditions in Jerez last month delivered Lorenzo’s first race win of the season, the incident filled first Spanish round leaving most of the competition struggling to stay upright and reach the chequered flag. He arrives at Estoril nine points clear of his closest rival at the top of the Championship standings.

Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies heads back from his four week break in the USA preparing for his first Estoril MotoGP race. The 2010 round which saw Monsoon weather disrupt qualifying had initially looked positive for the then satellite Texan rider, combined practice times giving him a second row start for the race. An unfortunate high side on the second of two sighting laps however resulted in a dislocated ankle meaning Spies has yet to complete a MotoGP race here and has yet to turn a wheel on a dry Estoril track. The 2010 rookie of the year had been on track for his first podium of the year at Jerez last month. He had been running in second behind his team mate until he joined the many riders to crash out as the changeable track surface took its toll on the worn out rain tyres. Spies arrives in Estoril sitting in 12th in the Championship with ten points.

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.

Jorge Lorenzo

“This week we will be in Portugal, a country where I’ve had nice moments! In Estoril I got my first victory in the MotoGP class in 2008 which I repeated over the last two seasons. The track has turned into a talisman for me and it is the place where the astronaut always comes back. We have been training for a month, and I hope that this makes us fit for a good race. We are in front of the standings, but it is very early and it is just the beginning. This week will also be important since we are testing on Monday and we will certainly be able to check a lot of things for the future set-up”.

Ben Spies

“Although I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to head home and get some chill out time in Texas this break has been way to long for me. The team worked really hard over the weekend in Jerez and by race day had delivered a competitive set up that meant we could fight for the podium. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I really enjoyed the first practice sessions here last year and was frustrated to have not made the race, I can’t wait to get started on Friday morning and see what we can do.”

Wilco Zeelenberg

“It seems like Jerez was last year, not the last round! It’s a bit strange to have such a long time away from the track during the season but of course we all know the reason. We are really looking forward to Estoril, with the position we have and knowing Jorge is strong here we think he can do a good job and compete for the podium again. It’s early in the season and our competitors have made big advances from last year but we are again fighting for the championship.”

Massimo Meregalli

“Estoril is a good circuit for Yamaha, it’s one of the favourite tracks for Jorge and he always gets good results here, as have other Yamaha Factory riders in the past. Despite not finishing the race at Jerez Ben showed he had the potential to finish on the podium so comes here looking to step forward again. Estoril has extra significance as we secured our Triple Crown for the third consecutive time here last year. We are confident that in the 50th year of Yamaha’s involvement in Grand Prix racing we can continue our tradition of success in Portugal.”

 
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Ducati Malboro Team Prepares for Estoril Action

28 Apr

Following the longest break of the entire season, brought about by the postponement of the Motegi GP, the MotoGP series returns to action for the Grand Prix of Portugal. The Ducati Marlboro Team is prepared for a weekend at a track that is at once demanding and full of contrasts. Despite its having the lowest average speed of the series, the Estoril circuit also includes very fast sections, including one of the longest straightaways of the year and Turn 5, which is taken at approximately 200 km/h (124 mph).

The circuit, which winds through the hills seven kilometers from the Atlantic coast, is also known for its variable weather, which often makes track conditions different from one turn to the next.

Valentino Rossi has won five times in his eleven premier-class visits to the track, and he has finished on the podium on other five occasions, while the best result of his teammate Nicky Hayden is a fourth place in 2007.

Valentino Rossi, Ducati Marlboro Team

“With the postponement of the Japanese GP, we’ve had three weekends without a race, so I was able to ‘unplug’ for a while following the GP12 test at Jerez, although I continued training to help my physical recovery. Now we go to Estoril, a track I quite like, where we’ll continue working on the GP11’s setup, particularly during the test on Monday. The conditions are often unpredictable at Estoril because the area is very windy and close to the ocean, making for variable weather, especially in the spring. Anyway, although we saw at Jerez that we’re already competitive in the wet, we’re hoping for sun in Portugal so that we can make the most of our time on the track. We still have to understand the bike better, and to work on the setup with the goal of being faster in the dry in time for the most intense phase of the season, when we’ll have six races in eight weeks starting in June.”

Nicky Hayden, Ducati Marlboro Team

“On to Portugal! We’ve had three weeks off, which seems like a long time, so I’m looking forward to getting back with the team. Estoril has some pretty tight, narrow places, but I’d say my favorite part is the fast kink on the back straightaway. Actually, we were just there in the fall, but the weekend was completely wet until the race. Hopefully it’s a little bit different this year, because it would be nice to get some dry time in as well. Now the season really gets rolling as we head into summer. I know the team’s been working hard, and I’m also looking forward to the test that we have on Monday after the race. I can’t wait to get back to the track and back on the bike. Hopefully we can go and get a good result.”

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

“We’re back on the track after a long break, and with the post-race test, it will be a long weekend. For now, the weather forecast isn’t good, but we’ll see, because the conditions there change quickly. We hope for at least fair conditions throughout the weekend. We got a podium with Nicky at our last race, and we hope the result will help him find the feeling that he had last year when he had many nice races, including here at Estoril when he led for a while before a couple of small mistakes held him to fifth. Vale was fast and very competitive in Spain, especially considering that he hadn’t ever ridden the GP11 in the wet. Now the goal is to enable our riders to ride at a similar level in the dry.”

 
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Karel Abraham is hoping for sunny weather at Estoril

28 Apr

Following the longest break of the entire season, the MotoGP series returns to action for the Grand Prix of Portugal. The Cardion AB Motoracing team is well prepared for another race weekend as well as the Czech motorcycle rider Karel Abraham, who wants to score another points for his championship campaign.

“I completed some good but also bad races at Estoril in the past, so we will see how it will be this time,” said Karel Abraham.

With a length 4 182 m, the Estoril circuit includes both fast and slow sections and is very demanding for the rider’s body.

“The Estoril circuit is very demanding, especially in the final Parabolica corner,” continued Karel Abraham. Like other riders from MotoGP, also the Czech motorcycle rider would like to race under dry conditions. Riding in the wet is always risky. That’s why I prefer dry track and sunny weather.”

Although Karel Abraham already completed two races on board his Ducati Desmosedici GP11 and finished 13th and 7th respectively, he still does not want to make any predictions.

“I don’t want to make any predictions before the race weekend, because I am still learning,” added.

 
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Dorna Sports appoints Hiroshi Yasukawa as CEO advisor

28 Apr

Hiroshi Yasukawa has been appointed by Dorna Sports as an advisor to company CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta. Yasukawa will bring a wealth of motorsport experience to the MotoGP rights holder and will provide his insight on the further development of the sport. A Bridgestone stalwart with a career that has already spanned four decades in motorsport, Yasukawa has most recently been the Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, a post he held from 1997 to 2011 and one in which he oversaw the worldwide racing activities of the Japanese tyre manufacturer.

Hiroshi Yasukawa:

“It’s a great honour to continue my career in this fantastic environment thanks to Dorna. Our relationship was always great throughout the time that I was working with Bridgestone, and I think I can help the continued development of the Championship. MotoGP has great potential lying ahead, and in the coming years we’ll have to tackle new challenges and bring into existence the most appropriate changes to make the MotoGP World Championship even more thrilling and spectacular”.

Carmelo Ezpeleta:

“I’m very proud that we can now count on the experience of Hiroshi Yasukawa who has had close ties with the sport for many years. He is an important and respected man who can bring a lot to the FIM MotoGP World Championship as we continue looking for ways to improve it. We’re pleased with the fact that MotoGP will continue to benefit from his knowledge”.

 
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