The Repsol Honda Team jumps from Germany to the UK this week in readiness for the final British Grand Prix to be held at Donington Park before the event switches to Silverstone from 2010. The factory Honda squad will be looking to bid farewell to...
The Repsol Honda Team jumps from Germany to the UK this week in readiness for the final British Grand Prix to be held at Donington Park before the event switches to Silverstone from 2010. The factory Honda squad will be looking to bid farewell to the popular circuit with strong performances from riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso aboard their ever-improving RC212Vs race machines.
Pedrosa will be satisfied with nothing less than victory at a circuit he likes and is sad to see dropped from the MotoGP calendar. His recent form - a podium in Germany, where he came within three seconds of victory, and a win at the previous race in the US - indicates that his aspirations are not misplaced. The Spaniard won at Donington in his MotoGP debut year in 2006, and before that took victory in 2004 on his way to back-to-back 250cc world championships. Underlining his affinity with the track, Pedrosa's race and qualifying lap records at Donington, set on the 990cc Honda RC211V in 2006, still stand.
Dovizioso also has winning form at Donington with a victory there during his 2004 world championship year in the 125 class, and a win again for Honda in the 250 class in 2007. The Italian comes into 2009 British Grand Prix looking to put a three-race run of bad luck behind him and carve out the kind of result his undoubted talent and pace deserve. Using the Honda RC212V's recently updated chassis and new-spec engine to maximum effect, Dovizioso had front-running pace in the German Grand Prix last weekend before grip issues forced him to drop back through the field. Though disappointed with his recent results, the Italian is a fan of Donington Park and his motivation for the next race is as high as ever.
As it enters its second half, the 2009 season has already seen its fair share of what many in the MotoGP paddock refer to as "British weather". The Qatar Grand Prix was postponed by a day, qualifying in Japan was cancelled altogether and there have been two flag-to-flag races caused by ill-timed rain. Donington Park, 10 miles from Nottingham in the heart of England, also offers few guarantees of unbroken sunshine and so the Repsol Honda Team and riders will be fully prepared to tailor the RC212V for a wide range of track conditions this weekend.
Weather aside, Donington is a popular challenge with the riders, featuring the fast and flowing Craner Curves, elevation changes, and the stop-start Melbourne Loop at the end of the lap. Repsol Honda is determined to leave Donington on a high after Sunday's 30-lap race, which begins at 15.30.
DANI PEDROSA -- World championship position: 4th, 108 points
"We've built some momentum with our good results in the last two races and we'll be looking to take that to Donington this weekend. It's a circuit I like and I've had some good results there so I'm confident we can have a strong weekend. To be honest, while the podium in Germany wasn't a bad finish and we weren't far behind the winners, we thought another win was possible last weekend. So our motivation is high to fight hard for that in Britain before the summer break. Naturally, the weather is always a consideration at Donington so we need to be prepared for anything. We gained some valuable experience on the Bridgestones in the wet in Germany so we'll be working to make maximum use of the practice sessions, whatever the conditions. It'll be sad to see the back of Donington because the track itself is very good to ride and one I like. I hope I can sign off there with a good result."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- World championship position: 7th, 69 points
"Unfortunately this year will be the last time that we race at Donington Park and it's a pity because the circuit is fascinating to ride. I like it, in particular the first section which is very fast, and of course the Craner Curves which plunge down hill and take your breath away every time your ride them. Last year I had a good race at Donington and I have always liked this track. We arrive this time after two difficult races where I had the pace to fight with the leaders but for different reasons, we didn't get the results. But our motivation is high and everybody in the team is working hard. Honda is working hard too and we've had machine updates recently which are moving us in the right direction. So I arrive in Britain determined to get a good result at out last visit to Donington and to prove our real potential."