The following is from Yamaha…Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo make the short hop across the channel this week for the British Grand Prix, the final race before the MotoGP summer break. Fresh from their one-two finish in Germany on Sunday, the Fiat Yamaha pair is on top of the world and looking forward to a special farewell race at Donington Park.There has been Grand Prix racing at the East Midlands track for the last 22 years and Valentino Rossi remains the most successful rider in history there, holding the records for the most wins in all classes and the most premier class wins. The eight-time World Champion took his first ever 500cc win there in 2000 and the track holds a special affinity for him as he lived in London for several years and was adopted as an honorary Brit by the local fans. The Italian has seven wins to his name there but is without a victory since 2005, something he will be looking to rectify this weekend as he arrives on top form following his fourth win of the season.Last year Lorenzo arrived at Donington in poor shape, having missed the previous race due to injuries. The irrepressible youngster put on a brilliant display however and finished 6th having qualified in 16th, earning himself plenty of fans in the process. He won there from pole in the 250cc class in 2006 and is eager to add to his win tally this weekend, following his agonisingly close defeat at the hands of his team-mate last time out. The 22-year-old Mallorcan is not yet at full fitness following the injuries he picked up in Laguna Seca but he is growing stronger every day and will be determined to close the gap to Rossi this weekend.Donington Park sits inside an amphitheatre style setting, although building works this year in preparation for the arrival of Formula One next year means that much of the infield will be closed to spectators this time. The prevalent off-camber nature of the circuit is one of the main factors at play, with a large tendency for the front tyre to push, making the right, left, right flick down the Craner Curves a critical but rewarding section of track. The stop-and-go nature of the final section, which features three hard braking zones, means the bike also has to be good under braking and makes set-up a quest for compromise between agility and stability.Valentino Rossi – “Hoping to extend our lead”
“Last year I had a good race at Donington to finish second, but this year I really want to win! I’ve always said that Donington is one of my favourite tracks in the world – it’s fast and flowing but also technical – and also the UK is a very special place for me because for a long time it was my home. This is the last year we are going to race there which I am really sad about, but that makes me even more determined to try to win there, for me and for the fans who have always treated me like one of their own. I haven’t won there since 2005, which is too long and I would like to say ‘goodbye’ to the track in the best way. Last year we couldn’t take the fight to Stoner but this year our bike is extremely competitive and we’re arriving leading in the championship so we’re in a very strong position. We don’t have much time to rest after Sachsenring but we have a good break after this race to look forward. Let’s hope we can extend our lead even more before then.”Jorge Lorenzo – “Let’s reverse the results!”
“Of course I am disappointed about the result in Germany but considering my physical condition I have to be happy about such a close second place. It’s a pity we don’t have a week off now so I have more time to recover, but I will try to relax for a few days at least and build my strength some more. I like Donington a lot and this is the last year there so I would like to try and leave with a good result. I expect that all the British fans are hoping for another race like in Sachsenring, so we will see what we can do but of course I hope the result is reversed this time! The weather in Donington can be bad so my biggest wish is that it stays dry, we had enough rain in Sachsenring! However if it does rain the that’s not the end of the world either because we showed on Saturday that we are very strong also in the wet.”Davide Brivio – “Looking forward to the next battle”
“So, our last trip to Donington! Valentino loves the track but he’s had some misfortune in the past few years so we will be looking to rectify that this weekend and leave it in the best possible way. We’re in very good shape after our latest win and everyone is looking forward to another great battle. Let’s hope we can show the British fans another brilliant MotoGP display! The championship remains very close but we’re enjoying the competition and will keep trying the maximum to win.”Daniele Romagnoli – “Hoping it’s our turn!”
“Last year Jorge rode a brilliant race after a bad race the week before, so we know that he likes the track. He has been so strong at the last few races and on Sunday he came tantalisingly close to another win, so we’re hoping that it’s just around the corner for us. He is riding very well and package is good so we know we have the potential. Let’s hope it’s our turn this weekend!”
The following is from Repsol Honda…The Repsol Honda Team jumps from Germany to the UK this week in readiness for the final British Grand Prix to be held at Donington Park before the event switches to Silverstone from 2010. The factory Honda squad will be looking to bid farewell to the popular circuit with strong performances from riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso aboard their ever-improving RC212Vs race machines.Pedrosa will be satisfied with nothing less than victory at a circuit he likes and is sad to see dropped from the MotoGP calendar. His recent form – a podium in Germany, where he came within three seconds of victory, and a win at the previous race in the US – indicates that his aspirations are not misplaced. The Spaniard won at Donington in his MotoGP debut year in 2006, and before that took victory in 2004 on his way to back-to-back 250cc world championships. Underlining his affinity with the track, Pedrosa’s race and qualifying lap records at Donington, set on the 990cc Honda RC211V in 2006, still stand.
Dovizioso also has winning form at Donington with a victory there during his 2004 world championship year in the 125 class, and a win again for Honda in the 250 class in 2007. The Italian comes into 2009 British Grand Prix looking to put a three-race run of bad luck behind him and carve out the kind of result his undoubted talent and pace deserve. Using the Honda RC212V’s recently updated chassis and new-spec engine to maximum effect, Dovizioso had front-running pace in the German Grand Prix last weekend before grip issues forced him to drop back through the field. Though disappointed with his recent results, the Italian is a fan of Donington Park and his motivation for the next race is as high as ever.As it enters its second half, the 2009 season has already seen its fair share of what many in the MotoGP paddock refer to as “British weather”. The Qatar Grand Prix was postponed by a day, qualifying in Japan was cancelled altogether and there have been two flag-to-flag races caused by ill-timed rain. Donington Park, 10 miles from Nottingham in the heart of England, also offers few guarantees of unbroken sunshine and so the Repsol Honda Team and riders will be fully prepared to tailor the RC212V for a wide range of track conditions this weekend.Weather aside, Donington is a popular challenge with the riders, featuring the fast and flowing Craner Curves, elevation changes, and the stop-start Melbourne Loop at the end of the lap. Repsol Honda is determined to leave Donington on a high after Sunday’s 30-lap race, which begins at 15.30.DANI PEDROSA – World championship position: 4th, 108 points
“We’ve built some momentum with our good results in the last two races and we’ll be looking to take that to Donington this weekend. It’s a circuit I like and I’ve had some good results there so I’m confident we can have a strong weekend. To be honest, while the podium in Germany wasn’t a bad finish and we weren’t far behind the winners, we thought another win was possible last weekend. So our motivation is high to fight hard for that in Britain before the summer break. Naturally, the weather is always a consideration at Donington so we need to be prepared for anything. We gained some valuable experience on the Bridgestones in the wet in Germany so we’ll be working to make maximum use of the practice sessions, whatever the conditions. It’ll be sad to see the back of Donington because the track itself is very good to ride and one I li ke. I hope I can sign off there with a good result.”ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World championship position: 7th, 69 points
“Unfortunately this year will be the last time that we race at Donington Park and it’s a pity because the circuit is fascinating to ride. I like it, in particular the first section which is very fast, and of course the Craner Curves which plunge down hill and take your breath away every time your ride them. Last year I had a good race at Donington and I have always liked this track. We arrive this time after two difficult races where I had the pace to fight with the leaders but for different reasons, we didn’t get the results. But our motivation is high and everybody in the team is working hard. Honda is working hard too and we’ve had machine updates recently which are moving us in the right direction. So I arrive in Britain determined to get a good result at out last visit to Donington and to prove our real potential.”The following is from Honda…This weekend’s British Grand Prix is a historic event both for Honda and for MotoGP. It was 50 years ago this summer that Honda made its World Championship debut in the British round of the 1959 world series and it was in Britain 60 years ago that the first-ever World Championship event was staged.Both those events were held over the notorious Isle of Man TT circuit, which was finally deemed too dangerous for World Championship competition in the mid-1970s. The British round moved to Silverstone in 1977 and then to Donington Park in 1987. Next year MotoGP moves back to Silverstone, swapping venues with the Formula 1 car series.Honda has enjoyed victories at all three British World Championship venues and this weekend – the fourth MotoGP round in just five weeks – the company’s MotoGP riders and engineers will focus on more success at Donington, round ten of this year’s 17-round MotoGP series. Honda has won ten premier-class races at the Midlands venue over the past two decades.Repsol Honda ace Dani Pedrosa has high hopes for Donington, where he scored a runaway victory in his maiden MotoGP season in 2006. The Spaniard was a much-deserved winner of the US GP earlier this month and scored a close-run third-place finish in Germany last Sunday so he’s got every reason to be in with a chance of more success this weekend. The factory Repsol Honda team has benefitted from engine and chassis upgrades in recent weeks that have helped Pedrosa regain his strong early season form.Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) has had a more difficult last few races, but until last month’s Dutch TT the Italian had been on an excellent run of results, always getting closer to scoring his first podium finish of the year. Dovi goes well at Donington and has won two GPs there – the 2004 125 race and the 2007 250 race. His intelligent riding style suits the complex layout, so he’ll be aiming to get back on track during MotoGP’s final visit to the track.Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) won the 2005 British 250 GP at Donington but, unlike Dovizioso the Frenchman isn’t a fan of the circuit. That won’t hamper him this weekend, however. De Puniet obviously knows the fast way around Donington and that’s all that matters. Last weekend in Germany he looked all set for another great result on his non-factory RC212V until a high-speed fall put him out of the race.Team-mates Alex De Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) cross the English Channel in high spirits following their rousing fifth- and sixth-place finish at the Sachsenring. That result went some way to repaying Fausto Gresini’s squad for all the hard work they’ve put in so far this year, but Germany could so easily have been better because Elias had to start from 17th on the grid after a tumble in qualifying. Elias and De Angelis have both stood on the 250 podium at Donington and if they have a good two days of practice there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be in with a chance of a top-three result on Sunday.Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) continues his baptism-by-fire MotoGP apprenticeship at Donington. The former 125 World Champion graduated to the elite class at last month’s Catalan GP and has the huge task of learning to ride a 200-plus horsepower RC212V during official MotoGP practice sessions. Last Sunday Talmacsi recorded his first MotoGP points, this weekend he will continue improving step by step.250 World Championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Honda) finished off the podium last Sunday after a thrilling battle with title-rival Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) in the restarted 250 German GP. The pair will resume their title duel at Donington, a circuit Aoyama claims as his favourite; the Japanese ace is also convinced that his rider-friendly RS250RW will be perfect for the British track’s challenging curves. Aoyama made the 250 British GP podium in 2006 and 2007 and knows that every point from now on will be vital.Hector Faubel (Valencia CF-Honda SAG) is also looking forward to using his sweet-handling Honda this weekend. The Spaniard has shown impressive speed in the last few races after making major advances on chassis set-up. Team-mate Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT-SAG) had a painful fall at the first turn of the German 250 GP but believes he will be fully fit for this weekend’s action.Shoya Tomizawa (Team CIP Honda) scored his first points in a while in Germany despite tricky conditions following the rain shower that brought out the red flags and forced a restart. Swiss rider Bastien Chesaux (Racing Team Germany Honda) scored the first GP points of his career in the same race, which has only made him hungry for more.Donington Park has hosted Britain’s motorcycling GP very year since 1987. Honda riders have won ten of those 22 premier-class races: Wayne Gardner (Rothmans Honda NSR500) was Honda’s first Donington winner in 1992, then fellow Aussie Mick Doohan (Repsol Honda NSR500) won a hat-trick of victories between 1995 and 1997. Valentino Rossi (Nastro Azzurro Honda NSR500/Repsol Honda RC211V) won the last two British 500 GPs in 2000 and 2001 and then the track’s first MotoGP event in 2002. The following year it was Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) who was declared the winner. Honda’s most recent Donington success came in 2006 when Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC211V) took a dominant victory. Honda has also won eight Donington 250 GPs, the most recent with Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW) in 2007, and nine Donington 125 GPs.Donington is one of Britain’s oldest race circuits. The first event at the venue was staged over a gravel course around the estate of the Donington Park stately home in 1931. The track was closed down during World War Two and only reopened in the late 1970s. Donington has two very contrasting sections. The first, from Redgate to Coppice, is fast and flowing. The second, from Foggy’s Esses to the final Goddard’s Hairpin (added in 1986 to bring the track up to minimum GP length), is tight and slow. These two sections demand larger-than-usual compromises in machine set-up and riding style, requiring engineers and riders to work hard to link the whole lap together.This year’s British GP completes MotoGP’s busiest period of four races over five weekends – in the Netherlands, the USA, Germany and Britain. The GP circus now enjoys a two-weekend break before reconvening at Brno for the Czech GP on August 16. Donington is round ten of this year’s MotoGP World Championship which climaxes at Valencia in Spain on November 8.HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) says: “We’ve built some momentum with our good results in the last two races and we’ll be looking to take that to Donington this weekend. It’s a circuit I like and I’ve had some good results there so I’m confident we can have a strong weekend. To be honest, while the podium in Germany wasn’t a bad finish and we weren’t far behind the winners, we thought another win was possible last weekend. So our motivation is high to fight hard for that in Britain before the summer break. Naturally, the weather is always a consideration at Donington so we need to be prepared for anything. We gained some valuable experience on the Bridgestones in the wet in Germany so we’ll be working to make maximum use of the practice sessions, whatever the conditions. It’ll be sad to see the back of Donington because the track itself is very good to ride and one I like. I hope I can sign off there with a good result.”Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) says:
“Unfortunately this year will be the last time that we race at Donington Park and it’s a pity because the circuit is fascinating to ride. I like it, in particular the first section which is very fast, and of course the Craner Curves which plunge down hill and take your breath away every time your ride them. Last year I had a good race at Donington and I have always liked this track.
We arrive this time after two difficult races where I had the pace to fight with the leaders but for different reasons, we didn’t get the results. But our motivation is high and everybody in the team is working hard. Honda is working hard too and we’ve had machine updates recently which are moving us in the right direction. So I arrive in Britain determined to get a good result at out last visit to Donington and to prove our real potential.”Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) says: “I had a positive week end in Germany until the first lap of the race and my machine was almost perfect so I just want to forget that ‘zero’ and start again in Donington. I think that the English track is very interesting and very technical: we could win some tenths as the straight (564m) isn’t very long. My overall package is getting better race by race but honestly I do not like the layout of Donington Park very much. Last year I got 12th place there, this weekend I hope for a top-ten finish.”Alex De Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) says:
“I’m really pleased that after the progress we have been making during practice in recent weeks I was finally able to back it up with a result at Sachsenring and the target for Donington is a repeat performance on every level. It was important that we showed our pace in both wet and dry conditions in Germany because that gives us confidence going into a Grand Prix where the weather is similarly unpredictable. Donington is a circuit I like a lot so it is a shame this time is the last for MotoGP. I have always gone well there, up until my crash last year, so we have nothing to fear and I’m confident and excited about this weekend.”Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) says: “The performance and result were good at Sachsenring but we want more. If it wasn’t for my crash in qualifying we would have started from a position that would have allowed us to get to a better finish in the race so that is the objective from Donington onwards. We need to look at how we can qualify better and that way target even better results than sixth place. The track surface at Donington can be very slippery – especially if the temperatures are low – so it will be crucial for us to find good grip from day one and progress from there. Hopefully the weather is kind to us!”Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) says: “I travelled to Donington Park straight from the Sachsenring without going home to Budapest. The team did the same – driving direct to the UK from Germany. We have had a technical meeting to discuss how to approach this next race and we will see how things go on Friday. In the past I’ve never really had too much luck at Donington Park. On this visit the crux of the matter is to find a good feeling with the bike and to take another step forward.”