Autódromo do Estoril
Ducati Marlboro Team Prepares For Estoril Battle
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.”