Team San Carlo Honda Gresini ready to start European adventure After the groundbreaking Grand Prix of Qatar under the floodlights of the Losail circuit, the MotoGP World Championship returns this weekend (28th-30th March) for the second round of...
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini ready to start European adventure
After the groundbreaking Grand Prix of Qatar under the floodlights of the Losail circuit, the MotoGP World Championship returns this weekend (28th-30th March) for the second round of the season, the Grand Prix of Spain at Jerez de la Frontera.
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini cannot wait to get back on track in what is the first European event of the season; their objective to reproduce in the race the potential shown in practice in Qatar by both Alex De Angelis and Shinya Nakano.
A crash in his debut premier-class Grand Prix has done nothing to damage the confidence of San Marino's De Angelis. The rookie has the potential to match the performances of his fellow debutantes in Qatar and in Jerez he aims to show just that.
The same applies to Nakano, who picks up the points quest at a technical circuit where he has enjoyed success in the past. The Japanese star has used the extra weekend off to move to Romagna, close to the team's base, where he was able to visit for the first time.
#15 ALEX DE ANGELIS
"We'll be able to work calmly during practice at Jerez to try and prepare as well as possible for the race, because during the IRTA test we were able to gather a lot of data. We also start the weekend knowing how the bike and tyres will perform, so I'm sure we'll be able to work well, as we did in Qatar. I like the track a lot -- a few of us rode here a few days ago on road bikes at the presentation of a new Bridgestone tyre. It was a nice experience and for the first time I was really able to appreciate how our MotoGP bikes have evolved compared to street bikes, which are still great. As far as my crash in the first Grand Prix is concerned, it was obviously a bit disappointing but it would have been much worse if we hadn't shown that we can go fast. In Qatar, during the test and the weekend of the race, I was always just outside the top five and that's important. The crash is behind me now."
#56 SHINYA NAKANO
"In a way you could say that my 2008 season starts properly at the Grand Prix of Spain! Racing at night in Qatar was enjoyable but it was a special Grand Prix, difficult to really understand. The track conditions were very different to normal and my feeling with the bike wasn't 100%, which was also partly to do with the crash in practice. Thirteenth place wasn't the result we were expecting but Jerez will be another story: I like the circuit because it is so technical and in the past I have performed well in qualifying and in the races. I won't deny it, my objective is to finish in the top six. Since Qatar I've spent my first days in Italy in an apartment the team have made available to me -- it's close to the team, the Misano circuit and the beach: in a word it's perfect! I've also visited the team's racing department and I was really impressed -- I understand even more now that Gresini Racing really is a big family."
FAUSTO GRESINI -- TEAM MANAGER
"Without doubt the results in the opening Grand Prix of 2008 did not reflect our true potential: Shinya didn't get much out of it and Alex, starting from the back, paid for a little nervousness when he couldn't get past some slower riders in front of him. In any case it's all part of the game and I'm sure the experience will help him improve. The IRTA test at Jerez in February went well so hopefully we should get more out of this weekend. Alex definitely has the talent to fight with the front guys and I'm sure that we'll soon see him as a protagonist like the other MotoGP rookies. Last week Shinya moved to Italy, close to the team: he's really happy, he feels comfortable and he's really looking forward to the next race. In general, though, I think we'll see the real World Championship get underway at the Grand Prix of Portugal, on the 13th April. Estoril will be the first track where nobody has tested, so we'll really get to see what everybody has to offer."
Spain is the only country hosting three MotoGP races. Jerez de la Frontera plays host to the Grand Prix of Spain, whilst Montmelo and Valencia host the Catalan and Valencian Community rounds respectively. During the history of the World Championship the Spanish round has also been held at Montjuich, near Barcelona, and Jarama in Madrid. This season will be the 20th time that the venue for the Grand Prix of Spain is Jerez. The legendary circuit holds the record for the biggest ever weekend capacity for a Grand Prix: in 2007 some 240,000 fans turned out to see the event.