The Repsol Honda Team arrives back in Europe this week and moves directly to the Misano circuit on the east coast of Italy to begin immediate preparations for Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix. With more than two thirds of the season now complete,...
The Repsol Honda Team arrives back in Europe this week and moves directly to the Misano circuit on the east coast of Italy to begin immediate preparations for Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix. With more than two thirds of the season now complete, the factory Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso both have extra motivation to achieve strong results this weekend as the 2009 MotoGP world championship enters its final phase.
For Dovizioso, Misano will represent the second 'home' race of the season and the fervent Italian crowd is sure to give the former 125cc World Champion an extra boost. Having come within half a second of a podium finish in the Indianapolis Grand Prix last weekend and with the crowd behind him at a circuit which is just 65km (40 miles) from his home town of Forli, Dovizioso will be going all out for a top-three finish this time. Fourth place at Indianapolis has edged Dovi two points closer to Colin Edwards, who finished fifth, in the world championship standings. With Edwards on 123 points and Dovizioso on 120, another strong finish for the Italian looks likely to promote him to fifth spot in the title race.
Pedrosa's extra motivation at Misano comes courtesy of his exceptional pace in Indianapolis which saw the 23-year-old Spaniard dominate practice, set a new pole position lap record and lead the early stages of the race. The fact that he was unfortunate to fall from the lead - remounting to take a creditable tenth place - will simply spur on the three-time World Champion to take his second win of the season this weekend. Sixth place or higher at Misano would be enough for Pedrosa to overtake Casey Stoner for third place in the points table before the Australian's planned return at the subsequent race at Estoril, Portugal.
Practice for the San Marino Grand Prix begins at 13.55 on Friday. The 28-lap race around the 4.226km (2.626 miles) circuit, which has run in the clockwise direction since its reappearance on the MotoGP calendar in 2007, begins on Sunday at 14.00 (GMT +2 hours).
DANI PEDROSA -- World championship position: 4th, 141 points
"It's really good that I'll get an immediate chance to make up for the disappointment of the Indianapolis race result. Although that was obviously a big let down and you never want to crash, the pace we set over the whole weekend was very encouraging and the fact that I could finish the race riding very fast again means that I've already been able to put the fall behind me and we can concentrate on being quick from the start of first practice on Friday. Misano always has a great atmosphere because there are so many passionate fans. Even though most of them are supporting the Italian riders, it's still a special feeling for everyone at this circuit. To be quick you need to ride quite aggressively there, and machine stability on the brakes and powering out of the corners is very important. I'm confident that we can be up front and fight for the win again this weekend."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- World championship position: 6th, 120 points
"I love the atmosphere at Misano and this will be a special weekend for me. It's my home Grand Prix and this is the track where I started my motorsport adventure so I'm really looking forward to riding here for the factory Honda team - that's a dream come true. I used to race at Misano while I was racing in the Italian Championship so it's great to return and ride in such familiar surroundings as a MotoGP rider. I think we can have a strong race here, especially after the good job we did on the machine at Indianapolis. We will start this weekend with the new set-up that we used for the Indianapolis race because my crew came up with some very useful adjustments to the machine which allowed me to get a better feeling and move forward in the race. All in all, I'm confident for Misano and I can't wait to get back out on track."
-credit: repsol honda