Gresini Racing Preview

Gresini Racing Preview
Mar 31, 2011, 11:48 AM

Spanish GP

Hiroshi Aoyama of San Carlo Honda Gresini
Hiroshi Aoyama of San Carlo Honda Gresini

Photo by: Hazrin Yeob Men Shah

Simoncelli Targets Podium And Aoyama Further Top Ten Progress

The MotoGP World Championship returns to Europe following a period of preseason testing in Malaysia and Qatar as well as the opening round of the campaign at the Losail circuit. As is tradition it is the Spanish circuit of Jerez that welcomes the teams and riders 'home' and it is a fitting venue as over 200,000 turn out to give their support over the course of the weekend. After an excellent performance in Qatar Marco Simoncelli wants to cose that ever-decreasing gap to the podium positions. The Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider struggled with his size at Losail, where it led to fuel consumption problems, but the team found a good solution for the race and he was able to put up a strong challenge at the front. The Italian described his performance in Qatar as his best as a MotoGP rider and it was confirmation that “Super Sic” is now a serious contender in the world's elite category. Aoyama, on the other hand, was disappointed with his showing in Qatar but satisfied with his weekend as a whole and confident he can use the experience to put up a stronger challenge at Jerez.

Marco Simoncelli “I was happy and satisfied with the race in Qatar. It was my best performance in MotoGP lbut more than that I was able to run with the best in the category and finish close to the podium positions. We have started out on the right foot and that should mean we can do even better at Jerez. We have put the little problems we had in Qatar behind us and we have all improved together as a team since last year but we can't think we have made it yet because it's a long season. We know what we have to do to be even more competitive and that is key to the results. Jerez is one of my favourite tracks and I took my first win there in the 125cc class in 2004 so I am confident we can have a good race this weekend.”

Hiroshi Aoyama “Tenth place in Qatar was not the result we were looking for but I was pleased with the work we did over the course of the weekend together with the team. We have gathered a lot of data that will be useful to us in the future, starting at Jerez. My feeling with the team is really good and that is the most positive thing we took from Qatar. I am sure that things will go much better in Spain this weekend. At Losail I didn't get a good start and I only found my pace in the second half of the race. Jerez will be another story because we have the potential now. Jerez is a difficult circuit but I like it a lot. My favourite memory there is my win in 2009, in 250, after a hard battle with Bautista and my current team-mate Simoncelli. That was really nice!”

Fausto Gresini “Qatar provided us with important confirmation that Simoncelli is already capable of fighting with the best riders in the world. Both he and the team have built on last year and together they can achieve great things. I am proud of all of them, for myself, for San Carlo and the other partners who have believed in this project. Honda have given us a competitive bike and the work we have done with it over the winter and during the Grand Prix of Qatar was splendid. Without the fuel problems related to his size Marco could have been even more incisive but overall we can't complain because we know what we are capable of and how much progress we have made already. Simoncelli is ready to be on the podium and I am sure his objective will be completed soon. I am also happy with the good feeling already established between Team San Carlo Honda Gresini and Hiroshi Aoyama because other than the result at Losail it was a positive weekend and Hiroshi has more belief than ever in the potential of this bike. I am sure that from Jerez Aoyama can make up positions and be running alongside the best too. Jerez is a track that our team love, we have had a lot of great moments there in the past and we hope for more this weekend.”

Past Results At Jerez
The Jerez circuit has traditionally been one of the most fruitful for Team Gresini, who have celebrated ten podium finishes there in a little over a decade. Loris Capirossi scored the first team’s first success at the Andalusian track with third place in the 250cc race in 1999. Daijiro Kato went one better to take second in the same event one year later before taking a sensational victory on his way to the quarter-litre title in 2001. The Japanese legend celebrated his first MotoGP podium at Jerez with second place on a memorable day for the team in 2002, when Roberto Rolfo and Emilio Alzamora made it a trio of podiums with second and third place respectively in the 250 race. However, the highlight for the team at the famous Spanish circuit came in 2004, when Sete Gibernau clinched an unforgettable home victory in the MotoGP race. The Spaniard followed up with second place in 2005, when he was joined on the podium by his team-mate Marco Melandri, whilst Toni Elias returned the team to the top step last year in Moto2.

The Track
Length: 4.423km, Width: 11m, Right corners: 8, Left corners: 5, Longest straight: 600m, Circuit Record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda, 2010) 1'39"731
, Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha, 2008)1'38"189
, Top speed: Marco Melandri (Honda-2005) 291.891 km/h, MotoGP Race: Sunday 3rd April, 14:00 (local time), 27 laps (119,421 Km)

-source: gresini racing

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