MotoGP™ stars resume title hunt at Silverstone2012-06-14 14:59
MotoGP™ championship leader Jorge Lorenzo was joined by reigning World Champion Casey Stoner, Héctor Barberá and local riders Cal Crutchlow and James Ellison at the press conference on Thursday marking the sixth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship at the Hertz British Grand Prix.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, who two days ago confirmed he had renewed his contract with the manufacturer until the end of the 2014 season, will be looking to extend his 20-point lead at the top of the table. Speculation had been rife over a potential move to the Repsol Honda Team, with Lorenzo admitting in the press conference that he did in fact reject an offer for Stoner’s vacant seat before re-signing for Yamaha. And despite crashing out of last year’s wet race, the Spaniard has tasted success at the track before, having won in 2010.
“As you know I have signed for two more years with Yamaha and I’m really happy to stay with this brand. It was a difficult decision this time, as I had another offer from another brand, from Honda, and the decision was very tough, but finally I listened to my heart, and my heart said Yamaha”, said the Spaniard, before joking: “I waited that he [Stoner] might change his opinion and came back to Honda for another year. So I left the place open to Casey.”
With regards to the race and preceding tests he stated: “In 2010 I enjoyed riding here a lot. I felt very comfortable from the beginning. This track gives me the best facility to go fast. But the opposite happened last year when I crashed trying to catch Casey in the rain. For the moment we are going to ride with the same bike as we did in Montmeló. We didn’t find anything new yet, but the engineers are working on it.”
Repsol Honda Team’s Stoner, who won last year’s race with a spectacular wet-weather master-class, will be looking to claw back points on Lorenzo, as he bids to retain his title in his ultimate year in the championship. Commenting on the race and his team’s testing efforts, he said: “Our whole objective in the test was just to reduce rear chatter and we think we’ve reduced it quite substantially. With the improvement we did make, we understand a little bit more the direction, and I’m pretty sure we can reduce almost all of it this weekend. It’s [Silverstone] been one of my favourite tracks since I’ve raced here in the British championship. Unfortunately we don’t go through the old section of the track. It was one of my favourite corners in the world. But I’m looking forward to getting back out there again.”
With wet weather predicted once again for the British round, Stoner is not quite as optimistic about another run-away victory this year: “We’ve struggled more this year with the 1000cc [in the wet]. We can’t get the bike to give us quite enough front feeling in the wet, mainly on corner entry. On the exit everything seems quite good.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who missed last year’s race due to injury, is looking to continue the great start he has had this season, and to put on a show for his home fans: “It’s nice to come here in not so bad form. The worst finish we’ve had this year is an eighth in Le Man after crashing. Last year I would have bought an eighth place, so we’re not coming into this too bad. We’ve been battling near the podium, albeit not so close to the front all the time. It’s nice to come back to the British Grand Prix, and hopefully I’ll make the grid this time.”
The Brit has also recovered from a heavy crash in the Barcelona test: “I’m a little bit sore still. I struggled to breathe the week after; I think it was just the bruising and a bit of swelling. I have resumed training as usual, and I should be alright.”
Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, who has shown promise this season after some fierce battles with Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, is seeking a positive race at Silverstone, after struggling at his home round in Catalunya.
“This year I have a very good bike; it’s better than last year’s. I have confidence in my team. It’s difficult because Ducati at the moment is not the best bike, but my team works very hard and I can get the same results as the official Ducati Team. I’m happy, but maybe it will be possible to get further up the front.”
Rounding out the pack is other local rider, Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison, who hopes to once again finish as top CRT rider, as he did in a very wet Le Mans.
“We knew this season was going to be difficult for us. Obviously the Aprilia ART is a brand new bike, so all four riders are developing it as the season goes on. We missed out on a lot of testing at the start, so our testing is literally every race. At every race weekend we’ve improved, and Le Mans was obviously a good result for us, and we backed that up in Barcelona as well with our best dry result, so at every race meeting we’re getting better. And now we’re coming to the home race, so hopefully it can improve again. The target is to be the top CRT.”
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