Portuguese GP Repsol YPF Honda preview

PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX - ESTORIL ROUND 12: 1st to 3rd of September, 2000 As the 2000 motorcycle World Championship moves into it¹s final period, with only two European races left including this week-end¹s event at Estoril, the Repsol YPF Honda...

PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX - ESTORIL
ROUND 12: 1st to 3rd of September, 2000

As the 2000 motorcycle World Championship moves into it¹s final period, with only two European races left including this week-end¹s event at Estoril, the Repsol YPF Honda team is in a aggressive mood. Recent results in both private testing and the last Grand Prix, held at the Czech Republic¹s Brno circuit, have turned out to be pretty promising. In World Champion Alex Crivillé¹s case, it was Brno¹s official practice sessions that proved that he can be expected to add another win to his illustrious career anytime soon.

Crivillé qualified sixth for the Czech Republic Grand Prix and ran amongst the leaders all week-end, ending the race in seventh position. "The results we got at the Czech Republic Grand Prix may not have been exactly those we expected, but I felt comfortable on the bike and I was fighting at the front all week-end," Crivillé explains. "I was enjoying myself a lot more on the bike and I hope to continue doing so at Estoril."

Crivillé comes to Estoril ready to enjoy the benefit of a private test session carried out at the recently revamped circuit earlier this year. "This is a new track for all of us," he continues. "But we¹ve already tested there. Still, it¹s a bit of an unknown for both the teams and the riders. The layout of the track seems very interesting. It¹s twisty and technical, a kind of mix between Suzuka and Valencia. It¹s physically demanding because there¹s only one long straight to give the rider a break. Everywhere else is full of flowing corners or places where you need to brake hard. The heat might also be a factor like it was two weeks ago at Brno."

Sete Gibernau took Repsol YPF Honda¹s best result at Brno, with a sixth place that is also his best result of the year. After a very difficult season, Gibernau¹s Brno race has helped raise his spirits. "I feel better with every race," he beams. "At Brno, I consistently rode with the top group. That shows we¹re working in the right direction. The Estoril Grand Prix is going to be interesting because no-one¹s raced there before. I was very happy with the testing we did there in May. The circuit is small and tight and very technical. You have to work hard both physically and with the set-up of the bike and I like that. If it's hot, the race could be very similar to Brno. I hope that works in my favour because I¹m looking to finish the season on a high."

Tadayuki Okada came off the worst of the Repsol YPF Honda men at Brno, despite recording the fastest lap of his team during the race. Okada was understandably disappointed with his tenth place and has vowed to do better this week-end. "I couldn¹t steer the bike in the race at Brno," he explains. "I had little grip from the rear and an understeering front. We stayed on after the race to do some testing and that went well. Now I¹m hoping to carry that through to the Estoril race."

<pre> WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2000 Pos. Rider Points 1 K. Roberts 174 2 V. Rossi 132 3 C. Checa 128 4 L. Capirossi 123 5 N. Abe 106 6 A. Barros 104 7 A. Crivillé 97 8 M. Biaggi 89 9 N. Aoki 86 10 G. McCoy 84 11 T. Okada 71 12 R. Laconi 67 13 J. McWilliams 61 14 J. vd. Goorbergh 60 15 S. Gibernau 51 16 T. Harada 28

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Sete Gibernau
Teams Williams