Autódromo do Estoril
The Repsol Honda Team are ready to get back into action in Estoril after a three week break
The Repsol Honda Team returns to action this weekend in Portugal after a break of three weeks due to the postponement of the Grand Prix of Japan. The Estoril circuit hosts the third round of the MotoGP World Championship and activity on track will extend through to Monday for one day of testing, the first of the season.
Last week I had the stitches removed, so everything is still very fresh and I don’t know how I will feel in Estoril.
Dani Pedrosa, second in the Championship with 9 points behind the leader, Jorge Lorenzo will get back aboard his Honda RC212V after his surgery on March 6th. Last week, the Spaniard had the stitches removed from his left collarbone and despite not being a hundred percent physically, he will fight for another podium, as will team-mates Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso to get some points back after a hard race in Jerez.
The three Repsol Honda riders have all enjoyed podium finishes in Estoril: Andrea Dovizioso on four occasions, the most recently last season; and both Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner three times. Dani is missing the victory in Portugal but keeps the circuit record from 2009 (1´36.937), while Casey and Andrea have won once in 250cc.
“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”.
“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 4 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”.
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 Lorenzo as he has been the strongest there in the past 3 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”.