San Marino GP: Honda preview

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) goes into this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix aiming to maintain his momentum following a brilliant victory in Sunday's Indianapolis GP. The Spaniard's impressively dominant ride underlined ongoing improvements...

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) goes into this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix aiming to maintain his momentum following a brilliant victory in Sunday's Indianapolis GP. The Spaniard's impressively dominant ride underlined ongoing improvements with the Repsol Honda Team's factory RC212V machines.

The victory also strengthened Pedrosa's second place in the 2010 MotoGP World Championship and moved him nine points closer to series leader Jorge Lorenzo who finished the race in third place behind fellow Yamaha rider Ben Spies. Of course, the title is still a very long shot for Pedrosa, who now sits 68 points behind Lorenzo with seven races remaining.

Nonetheless, Pedrosa's third victory of the season makes this his most successful campaign since he graduated to the premier class back in 2006. Over the past four years the 24-year-old has always scored two wins per season.

Pedrosa, who finished last year's San Marino Grand Prix in third place, has high hopes of another good result at Misano and will be working closely with his crew to continue improving his RC212V.

Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) regained third place in the World Championship at Indy despite an altogether tougher race day. The Italian was confident of a strong ride after qualifying a close fourth fastest, but in the race he struggled to maintain his pace and finished in fifth place. Dovizioso will be doing everything he can to regroup and score his fifth podium of the year at his home GP track. The Italian -- who was 125 World Champion in 2004 -- made his debut on a real race bike at Misano almost exactly ten years ago.

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) also had a gruelling time at Indianapolis. The Indy race was only his second race since his comeback from a broken left leg, which kept him out of action for just four weeks. The Frenchman, who had impressed the paddock with some remarkable performances earlier in the season, suffered the injury when he fell and was run over by another rider at the German GP on July 18. De Puniet therefore knows that he is still building both strength and speed. He also knows that Misano will be another challenging weekend.

Team-mates Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) will be hoping to score their squad's best result of the year at their local track, less than an hour's drive away from the team headquarters in Faenza. Simoncelli comes to Misano on the back of a strong ride to seventh place at Indy, following an entertaining duel with former 250 rival Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki). The Italian is one of many GP riders from the Misano area, but few are as local as Simoncelli, who was born in Cattolica, just six kilometres from the track!

Melandri will also be anxious to show his speed this weekend in what will be his 201st Grand Prix after his hopes of a great result at Indy were dashed by a fall in the race -- the former 250 World Champion was one of many riders who were brought to ground by the track's treacherous surface. Melandri had been riding well until the fall and is determined to bounce back with a good result at Misano, even though he is still struggling to get the very best out of his machinery.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) made his return to racing at Indianapolis, ten weeks after crashing and breaking a vertebra at Silverstone. The Japanese rode a hero's race to 12th place at Indy, wearing a special back brace inside his leathers. Aware that he will still be in recovery mode at Misano, Aoyama will be working to further improve his feeling with his RC212V and bring home another good points haul.

Moto2 leader and Indianapolis hero Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) will be hoping that the illness that plagued him last weekend will have passed by the time practice gets underway at Misano. Elias suffered at Indy with a vicious fever, but somehow he found the strength to run at the front of the Moto2 race and finally beat early leader Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter).

It was a superhuman effort from the tough little Spaniard who has won the last three Moto2 races, taking his season tally to five wins. Elias, like MotoGP team-mates Simoncelli and Melandri, rides for Fausto Gresini's locally based squad, so he would like nothing more than to give the team a fourth straight win at Misano. Elias currently leads Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) by 67 points with seven races remaining.

Iannone will be hoping to chase down Elias' points lead by repeating his Italian Grand Prix victory at Misano, the second race of the year on Italian tarmac. Iannone scored his first Moto2 win at Mugello, dominating the race in a style that no one else has managed in the ultra-close Honda-powered series. He has since scored another win and two further podiums, and he would surely have been in the hunt for more success at Indy if he hadn't started from 26th on the grid after a spill in practice. Incredibly, he came through from that to finish fourth. Last year at Misano, Iannone starred in a tough battle for the 125 win before he collided with leader Pol Espargaro (Derbi) at the final turn.

Following a run of below-par results, Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki) hopes to regain the form that gave him a hat-trick of podium results in June and early July. Luthi, who finished seventh at Indy, currently lies third in the Moto2 championship standings, equal with Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter) who scored his fourth podium result last Sunday, just ahead of Moto2 podium first-timer Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team, Suter).

Marcel Schrotter (Interwetten Honda 125) survived a torrid race at Indy. Following a slow start he mounted a strong fight back through the field but he high-sided the RS125R late in the race leaving Indy pointless. The young German is in his first full season of 125cc GP racing and has many new tracks to learn but Misano will present Schrotter few problems as he won an Italian Championship race at the venue last season.

Misano hosted its first Grand Prix event in 1980 and staged the Italian world round (then called the Grand Prix of Nations) on and off throughout the decade. In 2008 the circuit returned to the World Championship calendar after an absence of 14 years, having undergone major changes, most importantly a change of direction that transformed the circuit from anti-clockwise to clockwise. Misano, situated just inland from Italy's Adriatic holiday coast, is mostly dominated by tight, slow-speed turns that give MotoGP riders a tough time on their 220 horsepower machines. User-friendly power delivery and excellent braking stability are important at a circuit which features four hairpin bends. Honda has won three premier-class GP victories at the seaside venue, with Mick Doohan in 1991, Pier-Francesco Chili in 1989 and Freddie Spencer in 1984.

HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says: "We are at a very competitive moment right now and three wins so far this year has taken me past my total my the previous MotoGP seasons. It's a nice milestone to pass and so I'm feeling very confident for the next races. Indianapolis was great and it was very satisfying to win such a physically demanding race, however, we don't have so much time to recover before Misano this weekend. Having said that, we'll be ready. The team is in a good mood and we have proved that we can be competitive for many races in a row, so we want to continue this form. Misano has been a difficult circuit for Honda in the last few years but this time we will try to do the best possible job and be right at the front once again. It's a track with many linked slow corners where you need a very agile bike and also a smooth power delivery, whereas our engine is very strong but can also be quite aggressive which causes the bike to slide. So we'll have to do a very good job to find the right setting and get good traction -- as we did in Indianapolis. It's not so much a power circuit as one which requires good driveability from the engine. The gap in the championship to Lorenzo is still very big and he has been very consistent, so our goal for the rest of the season is simply to continue being competitive at every GP and give ourselves the chance to win races, starting with another one this weekend."

Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso says: "We arrive in Misano in very determined mood; our target is the podium. In Indianapolis we were fast during the race weekend but we couldn't maintain consistent speed for the whole race distance and this is something we must work on and improve. Now we need to score some strong results. The Misano track is short and twisty and there are a lot of bumps, but after Indianapolis we are certainly used to bumps and I'm look forward to race there. I'm confident. Misano is a special track for me, not only because it's my home GP -- in fact I live only 70kms away -- but because I raced my first "real" race bike there in 2000. It was my debut on a proper race machine -- it was 125cc -- after having raced pocket bikes up to that point. I remember that it was an incredible experience, and at that moment I had the feeling that something big and special was happening. In last year's MotoGP weekend here I raced for the first time with Ohlins suspension and I came home fourth, which was a respectable result. So I'm feeling very positive about this GP because compared to last year we have progressed a lot."

LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet says: "Last weekend's race at Indy was really tough, even tougher than Brno where I made my comeback a couple of weeks earlier. The layout of the Indianapolis track made things very difficult for me, so I hope that Misano will be a little bit less punishing for me. Of course, we've only had a few days since Indy, so no real time for rest or physio, so I don't expect my injury to be much better, but I like the track and I will be doing everything I can to get some good points and keep my position in the points standings."

San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli says: "I was satisfied at the end of the race at Indianapolis but to be honest I would have preferred a top five finish. We'll try for it at Misano! To be honest the Misano circuit itself isn't one of my favourites but the support from the fans makes up for that and should be a big help this weekend. I have never had great results at my home race so hopefully we can turn that record around this weekend. Since Brno we have taken another step forward and I hope things can improve still further this weekend. I have had a lot of support from Honda and the team and that is crucial to my progress."

San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri says: "The crash at Indianapolis wasn't what we needed. I am disappointed with the way the season is going -- I'm struggling and can't find a way to improve my feeling with the bike and adapt it to my style of riding. Hopefully the fact this is a home race for us can help. I want to make up for time lost over the last couple of races and find a way to ride the RC212V to the limit. I really want to show my true potential again and we'll be working hard with the team at Misano on this very objective."

Interwetten Honda MotoGP rider Hiroshi Aoyama says: "It is only one week until we race in Misano. For sure I will not make big steps forward in recovery from my injury in just five days, but step by step I am feeling better and better and I hope my condition will be better also in Misano. Last year in the 250cc race at Misano I was fighting for the podium there and I also had pole position, so I am looking forward to this circuit."

Moto2 RIDER QUOTES Gresini Racing Moto2 rider Toni Elias says: "Last weekend was very, very difficult for me. I was ill the whole time I was at Indy, so I didn't enjoy myself very much, until I won the race! But I have to say another big thanks to the team and the Clinica Mobile for getting me through the weekend. I am sure I will be in much better shape at Misano where we will try to continue the good work of recent races, especially because it would be great to get another strong result at the team's home event. Moto2 is a tough class, there are so many riders going fast that you can never relax, not even for one moment, so we have to keep focused and keep fighting because there are still a lot of races to go."

Fimmco Speed Up Moto2 rider Andrea Iannone says: "It will be great to be racing in Italy again -- obviously I have great memories of my win at Mugello and I will do everything I can to give the Italian fans another victory. Like always in Moto2, it will be tough. I know I can count on my team and myself to give our best at Misano, the team's commitment is always fantastic and this is always a big boost for me. After my crash in practice at Indy, I should be in better shape than I was for the Indy race and I know that the Clinica Mobile staff will be helping me to do my best like they always do."

Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2 rider Tom Luthi says: "In Misano we will get a new engine and I am so much looking forward to that. I think the whole team is. And we hope that it will get us back to the top again. I quite like the track there. I did not have bad results here in the past. Now I go home for a little break, will try to use it to relax and prepare mentally for Misano and then I will try to attack the front group again there."

HONDA 125 RIDER QUOTES Interwetten Honda 125 Team rider Marcel Schrotter says: "Misano is a great track. Last year I rode there before the start of the season as a test in the Italian championship and despite some strong competition, I won it. I am looking forward to Misano as once again it is a track that I know and that I like. The target this time is points again."

-source: honda

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Randy de Puniet , Mick Doohan , Marco Melandri , Alvaro Bautista , Andrea Dovizioso , Marco Simoncelli , Toni Elias , Thomas Luthi , Freddie Spencer , Julian Simon , Hiroshi Aoyama , Scott Redding , Dani Pedrosa , Pol Espargaro , Andrea Iannone , Marcel Schrötter
Teams Repsol Honda Team , Marc VDS Racing