Preparing for Portugal

MotoGP heads to Estoril

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Apr. 11, 2008
The MotoGP series makes its way to the western end of the Iberian Peninsula with a stop this weekend at the Estoril circuit in Portugal.

Series leader Dani Pedrosa looks to continue his success from his victory in Spain at the Grand Prix of Portugal, but the Honda racer has a pair of Yamahas riding in his slipstream in rival Jorge Lorenzo and four-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi. Pedrosa has never won at Estoril.

“At Estoril you need a bike that performs well on the brakes and maintains optimum rear grip throughout the race. It’s a tough track from a riding point of view, because you need to be very strong to handle the braking and the bumps and you also need excellent physical endurance,” says Pedrosa, who races for Repsol Honda. “You need to be quite aggressive but at the same time you need to stay relaxed so you don’t get drained during the race.”

Lorenzo hopes to continue the success he displayed in his first two career MotoGP races. The rookie won the pole position in both Qatar and Spain on his way to earning a second and a third place finish, respectively. Like his countryman Pedrosa, Lorenzo has never won at Estoril.

“In Estoril last year I was third and very close to my second championship, so it was an exciting time for me,” says Lorenzo, who raced in the 250 cc class in 2007. “It’s actually not one of my best tracks however; I’ve never been better than third.”

His teammate with Fiat Yamaha, however, can’t say the same. Rossi is the most successful rider at Estoril, earning eight podiums including five victories at the Grand Prix of Portugal.

“Estoril last year was a great race; it was a fantastically close battle with Pedrosa and one of the high points of the season for us,” says Rossi. “It’s also the last time I won a race and I hope that this is something we can repeat again this time.”

MotoGP Top ten standings

Pos. Rider Team Points
1. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 41
2. Jorge Lorenzo FIAT Yamaha 36
3. Valentino Rossi FIAT Yamaha 31
4. Casey Stoner Ducati 30
5. Andrea Dovizioso JiR Scot Honda 21
6. James Toseland Tech 3 Yamaha 20
7. Nicky Hayden Repsol Honda 19
8. Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki 19
9. John Hopkins Kawasaki Racing 13
10. Shinya Nakano San Carlo Honda 10