Second Home Race For Rossi, Team The Fiat Yamaha Team contest their second 'home' race of the season this weekend, with the San Marino Grand Prix taking place on Italian soil at the Misano circuit on the Adriatic coast. The trip is a short one...
Second Home Race For Rossi, Team
The Fiat Yamaha Team contest their second 'home' race of the season this weekend, with the San Marino Grand Prix taking place on Italian soil at the Misano circuit on the Adriatic coast. The trip is a short one for the team, whose base is just 300km away in Milan, but even shorter for Valentino Rossi, with his hometown of Tavullia located a mere 15km down the road.
The multi-World Champion heads to the thirteenth round of the current MotoGP series with his sights firmly set on a sixth premier-class title after extending his advantage over Casey Stoner to 50 points in the last round at Brno. Having missed out on the title for the past two seasons following a five-year winning streak, Rossi's improvement is outlined by the fact that a fifth-place finish this Sunday will see him outscore his tally for either of those campaigns.
The 29-year-old's army of local supporters are sure to be in party mood at the lively seaside resort as he looks to make up for the disappointment of a mechanical breakdown in this race last year and score three consecutive wins for the second time this season. Also within Rossi's range is the all-time record for premier-class victories, set at 68 by Giacomo Agostini back in 1976.
Jorge Lorenzo continues his Grand Prix education at full fitness after a troublesome period of injury and tyre woes. The rookie from Mallorca won the 250cc race at Misano last year after having qualified on pole and he will be looking to support Rossi in the quest to improve on Yamaha's total of 283 points in last year's Constructors' World Championship, which will be secured if any of the factory's riders finish in the top two.
"OUT TO MAKE UP FOR LAST YEAR"
"I'm really excited to be going to Misano in such good shape and leading the championship. Last year the race was a huge disappointment for us, a very low point of the season and especially sad because it happened in front of my home fans. But this time things are very different; we've had two fantastic races in a row and we are feeling very strong and very confident. We are out to make up for 2007! Misano is so close to my home town of Tavullia that I know there will be an army of Italian fans there, and I hope it's going to be a great party for all of them. Last year there was some terrible weather before the race as well so I really hope that this year we have sunshine and we can enjoy a fantastic race by the sea!"
"After the disaster of Brno I'm going to Misano with the belief and the will that everything goes much better and that we're able to score a positive result in my team's second home Grand Prix. I'm riding well at the moment and in the post-race test in the Czech Republic we were able to shave off a few tenths that will be vital for the next GP. Misano is a small track for MotoGP but it is safe. Last year I won in 250cc so my only memories of it are good ones!"
"TARGETS ARE THE SAME"
"Last year we arrived in Misano with a 60-point disadvantage to Stoner and now we are 50 ahead so the situation is completely reversed and obviously that's great for us. Having said that, we still have six difficult races left and there are circuits coming up where we know our rivals will be very strong. Misano is one of the places where last year we were not so bad so it could be one of the places we can fight. It is difficult to overtake but I expect and hope for another good show. Valentino's targets haven't changed since the start of the season -- the first priority is to be on the podium, which is even more crucial at this stage, and when possible fight to win. Those objectives remains the same regardless of the points situation."
"MISANO IS ANOTHER STORY"
"We go to Misano in good spirits but knowing that we can't afford a repeat of the last two races, where our performance has been completely dictated by the tyres -- especially Brno. Hopefully Misano will be another story because it's a completely different kind of circuit. It is not as fast, it is flat, and last year Michelin were competitive there. We did a lot of work on the tyres in the test at Brno and found something with durability on the front and a solution for the rear that helps under acceleration. Hopefully we can carry those improvements through to this weekend because Jorge is riding well, this is a circuit he likes and we saw earlier in the season what he is capable of if he has the necessary tools."