DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM RETURN TO EUROPE FOR FINAL TWO ROUNDS After a positive weekend in Australia that saw a victory for Casey Stoner and a top performance from Nicky Hayden, the Ducati Marlboro Team is back in Europe ready to tackle the final...
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM RETURN TO EUROPE FOR FINAL TWO ROUNDS
After a positive weekend in Australia that saw a victory for Casey Stoner and a top performance from Nicky Hayden, the Ducati Marlboro Team is back in Europe ready to tackle the final two rounds of the season at Estoril, Portugal, this weekend and Valencia, Spain, seven days later. Both races will be preceded by four 45 minutes sessions starting on Friday morning.
After competitive recent displays at a variety of circuits both Stoner and Hayden are confident of finding a good set-up to get the best out of their GP10 machines at the Portuguese circuit, where weather conditions are always uncertain.
CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team
"I have had a mixture of different results at Estoril - some good like my first 250cc win in 2005 and a podium in 2007, some not so good like when we had a problem with the on-board camera in 2008. Then we were back on the podium again in 2009... I was fast there last year but Jorge was a little faster. He is very strong at this circuit and I think we can expect him to be so again next Sunday. We just have to focus on the job of setting the bike up. We know that there are a lot of bumps here and our bike usually reacts quite aggressively over bumps, so we will have to see if we can adapt the set up. The GP10 has worked well in all kinds of conditions over the last few races so we're pretty confident".
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team
"The end of the season is on the horizon but we have two races left to do well in so it's now or never as far as this season is concerned. Estoril is pretty normal, there's nothing really special about the track apart from a very fast section onto the back straight and then towards the end of the lap there's a chicane which I think is the slowest in MotoGP. The track is very tight, which makes it demanding, and given that the circuit is close to the ocean, like Phillip Island, you usually get wind and changeable weather. In any case we are ready for any conditions and looking to finish the season in a positive way."
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
"We are back in Europe after a series of positive results overseas, and in Portugal at a circuit that perhaps isn't one of our best, but still had some good podiums there. Even though he has not won here yet in MotoGP Casey has always been fast here and he returned after three months out to take an excellent second place last year. Both he and Nicky have found a set-up they feel comfortable with in all conditions and we will also try to adapt it to this circuit. We know it won't be easy because Estoril is a demanding circuit with an irregular and slippery track surface but we are ready to give our best as always."
Estoril is a circuit of huge contrasts. The main straight is one of the longest in MotoGP, allowing for speeds in excess of 300km/h, whilst the chicane is one of the slowest and alongside the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca one of the most difficult. The average speed of the circuit is the lowest of the entire MotoGP calendar and the contrast between the fast and slow sections requires a tricky compromise in the set-up of the chassis. The same can be said for the engine, which needs to provide good top speed as well as sweet performance in low revs. However, perhaps the most important variable for the riders is the circuit's close proximity to the Atlantic ocean, which can create strong winds that unbalance the riders and leave dirt on the track surface, reducing grip levels, The circuit plays host to the Grand Prix of Portugal for the eleventh time this year, with the race having previously been held in 1987 and 1988 in Spain, before Estoril met with the safety requirements.