The following release is from Honda Motor Company…This weekend the motorcycling World Championship gets to experience its only all-new race circuit of 2010 as the MotoGP circus returns to Spain for the first Aragon Grand Prix at the newly built MotorLand Aragon circuit. The step into the unknown comes at a tense moment in the 2010 World Championship with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda
RC212V) very much in the ascendance.The Spaniard is currently second in the points standing following his first back-to-back victories in the premier class at Brno and Misano, and although he is still a long way behind series leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), any further successes will exert some pressure on his compatriot. Pedrosa attributes his recent speed to a programme of steady improvements to his RC212V. The new parts and ideas received from HRC earlier in the season have now been blended together to give Pedrosa exactly what he needs – a very fast motorcycle which allows him to be unerringly consistent from the start of a race, all the way to the finish.Some weeks ago, Pedrosa got his first taste of Aragon aboard a Honda CBR1000RR street bike.
MotoGP regulations forbid riders from testing aboard their MotoGP bikes outside of official tests, so most of the MotoGP grid has already visited the new venue on street bikes, to get a feel for the challenging, undulating layout.The fact that Aragon – which replaces the cancelled Hungarian GP – is a new circuit on the calendar adds an extra twist to the tension, because no one knows who’s likely to be strongest during the weekend. Although Pedrosa and other riders in all three classes have already tested at the track – there was an official Aragon Moto2 and 125 test during July – we will have to wait to find out whom suits this circuit the best. To allow everyone to fully adapt to the new venue, this weekend’s programme reverts to a four-session format, with four 45 minute outings for each class, two on Friday, another on Saturday morning and then qualifying on Saturday afternoon.Like Pedrosa, team-mate Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) recently evaluated the circuit riding a Fireblade. The Italian likes the track and will be aiming to build on his best race in a while at Misano two weeks ago. Dovizioso came through from a third-row start to challenge Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) for a podium result at his home race. In the end Dovi got fourth, but he was delighted with his race because he had made some useful advances in riding technique and bike set-up.Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) continues to chase his goal of completing this season as the top non-factory rider in motorcycling’s biggest race series. The Frenchman is still on course to achieve his target despite breaking a leg at July’s French GP. Remarkably, de Puniet was back in action just four weeks later at Brno and scoring a top-ten finish. His last two races have been more difficult affairs – a sign that his rapid recovery has taken its toll – though at Misano he did prove that his speed is undiminished with a heroic qualifying performance that put him on the second row of the grid.Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) will be aiming to make further progress at Aragon after a steady run of results at the past few MotoGP rounds. The Italian has finished inside the top seven at three of the last four races (he slid off at the other, at Indianapolis), but is determined to up his game for the final six races of the season and improve his feeling with his RC212V.Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) is battling to be this year’s second fastest MotoGP rookie. Although Ben Spies (Yamaha) is currently the top-scoring rookie, Simoncelli has impressed with his commitment, aggression and spectacular riding style. The lanky Italian was on course for his second top six result of the year at Misano until he made a mistake which dropped him to the back of the pack. At Aragon he will be working hard to make amends for that error.Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) is looking forward to Aragon as much as anyone.
The Japanese ace returned to action at last month’s Indianapolis Grand Prix following the back injury he sustained at June’s British GP. He is still working at regaining full strength, though he believes he will be in better shape than he was at Misano. Aoyama is also happy that Aragon is a new track for everyone; as a rookie that gives him a better chance against his more established MotoGP rivals.The majority of the Moto2 grid experienced Aragon for the first time in early July, during a two-day test session that was topped by Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) and Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter). Moto2 World Championship leader Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) was also among the fastest riders during the outing.This weekend MotoGP will still be in mourning following the tragic events of Misano, where Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter) died after an accident during the Moto2 race. Tomizawa’s friends and fellow Moto2 riders have all spoken of the young Japanese rider’s infectious enthusiasm and his love for the sport. He will be deeply missed by everyone.At Misano, World Championship leader Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) was as lost for words as anyone, saying only that Tomizawa “has left an indelible mark on my life”. With Tomizawa very much in his memory, Elias will be working towards a fifth successive Moto2 win at Aragon to further stretch his series lead over his biggest rivals, Simon and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki). If he is able to win again, Elias wants to dedicate his victory to his late friend and rival.Although Simon and Luthi are both on great form – the pair joined Elias on the Misano podium with their second and third place finishes – they know that Elias’ recent form has given them a mountain to climb with only six races remaining. While Simon was a promising second quickest at Aragon in July, Elias was less than three-tenths slower, so the points leader will be hard to beat, especially since this is another race on home tarmac. Elias won the first Spanish Moto2 round at Jerez in May, but he’s not unbeatable at home; in July he could only manage fifth place at Catalunya.MotorLand Aragon – situated 200km south west of Barcelona – is an exciting new venue designed to be much more than just another racetrack. Built with local government backing, Aragon is a multifunctional complex devoted to technology, sport, leisure and culture.The Aragon circuit was created with the help of some big hitters in their respective disciplines – the track layout was designed by German architect Herman Tilke (creator also of the Sepang, Istanbul, Shanghai and Bahrain racetracks), while the infrastructure is the work of globally renowned British architect Sir Norman Foster. Foster’s work includes the pit complex, a hotel and residence, a technology park, a business area and a sports complex.The anti-clockwise circuit meanders across the undulating landscape with an interesting combination of 17 corners within the 5.077km layout. There’s a great variety of fast and slow corners, with elevation changes and several blind corner entries adding to the challenge.Aragon is the 13th event of this year’s 18-race MotoGP season. It also the final European round before MotoGP embarks upon its Asian odyssey which takes the paddock from Motegi in Japan to Sepang in Malaysia to Phillip Island in Australia on consecutive weekends in early October. The action then returns to Europe for the final two races of the year in Portugal and Valencia.HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says: “I’m looking forward to arriving at MotorLand Aragon and trying the new track on the RC212V. I did some laps in July with a Honda CBR1000RR street bike and I really enjoyed the layout – I loved the circuit. It’s very different to the ones we are used to racing at in the MotoGP championship, and so it will be really interesting this weekend. The circuit combines fast and slow corners which are quite technical, and the last straight and finish line section is going to be amazing. There are also some blind turns where you need to look for references outside the track. The facilities are very high spec and it looks like the fans are in for a treat at this race. It’s always very nice to race in Spain and I can imagine that the atmosphere will be incredible; I’m looking forward to meeting the Spanish fans again. Me and the team also arrive in a very good mood thanks to the great job we have been doing and our good results in the last races. It will be a challenge for everybody this weekend and we need to make the most of the practice sessions – in this area we have improved a lot in the second part of the season. Our bike has been working well at very different circuits, so I hope we can also do a good job in Aragon.
I’m really looking forward to this Grand Prix.”Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso says: “I always enjoy the challenge of racing on a new track where no one has prior knowledge and we can all start from zero, so I’m especially looking forward to this race weekend. I had the chance to do some laps on a CBR1000RR last week which was good fun and let me learn the basic layout and get some ideas on how to start the machine set-up for the RC212V on Friday. It was actually the first time for me riding on a track with a street bike, and I enjoyed it. The Aragon track is really nice, it has a lot of elevation changes and many of the braking areas occur where the bike is leaning over, which makes it quite technical and means there are many points where it should be possible to overtake. Because of this I think we will see a very good race. For us it is important to have an idea of the track in advance to give us a head start with the set-up of the RC212V. We are very determined to score a good result in Aragon. At Misano and in the previous races we have been fast and close to the front, but now we need to take the final step and convert that speed into a strong result at the end of the race. This is the target for the weekend.”LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet says: “I am pretty excited about this new round. I did some laps in June and liked the track very much. I think this could be an interesting circuit for the MotoGP bikes and teams. The circuit combines fast and slow corners which are quite technical and suits my riding style. Honestly after Misano race I felt very tired. I think I paid for my very fast recovery after the injury. Now it is time to concentrate and to find the level to avoid further effort. We need to make the most of the practice sessions to chase the right set up as we want to end this part of the season as best private team of the classification.”San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri
says: “I really want to get back on track and forget about a really difficult weekend at Misano. It started out in the worst possible way on Thursday night at the DediKato event, when Capirossi and I tried to liven the evening up but it didn’t go as I wanted and unfortunately there was a misunderstanding which I am very sorry about. Then on Sunday there was the Moto2 race with the terrible incident for Tomizawa in the same corner where I had a bad accident myself in 2007. I was really upset because I had raised my concerns at the time about the artificial grass, which is too close to the rumble strip, but nobody listened. I will bring it up again this Thursday at the Safety Commission. To cap it off I had another forgettable race in which we struggled once again because of my lack of feeling with the bike. In any case, after the
Moto2 race I had lost any excitement to race. At Aragon I want to make the most of every single minute of practice to try and rediscover the feeling we found at Silverstone before the crash.
I’m not expecting miracles but I’ll do everything I can to have a good race.”San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli
says: “Immediately after the race at Misano I heard about the tragic incident involving Tomizawa and I was so shocked and upset I didn’t spend a second reflecting on my own result. Over the past week I have been able to think back and I am disappointed with my mistake, which compromised the final result. It was a shame because I was riding well; I was right behind the top five and with a good advantage over Edwards.
I could have brought home a solid result and I would have been satisfied with that but I threw it all away with a silly mistake. It was a shame but we will try to make up for it at Aragon. We have an extra session to work on the bike and we’ll start out with the base setting from Misano, which was working well for us and I had found some confidence. I know some riders have done a few laps here and Valentino Rossi has told me that the track is really nice, with fast corners and elevation changes – unlike Misano! It should suit me so I am confidence I can have a good race.”Interwetten Honda MotoGP rider Hiroshi Aoyama
says: “I am looking forward to the race at the new GP circuit. The difference between us rookies and the established MotoGP riders will not be too big as it is a new circuit for all of us. I think the possibility to improve will be much higher under these circumstances. I really look forward to compete there. My physical condition is also getting much better. I am still not 100% fit yet, but I can feel how I improve and already Misano was a big difference to Indianapolis and I hope I can continue in this speed. Also the fact that we have four sessions there is very interesting and for the rookies like me it is perfect as we get the time we need to adapt. I will have to see how I feel with my condition after four sessions, but I think it is an advantage to have more time on the track.”Moto2 RIDER QUOTES
Gresini Racing Moto2 rider Toni Elias says: “We did a great job at Misano even though my physical condition was not perfect. In the end we reaped the fruit of all our hard work even though it was very tough. Taking pole position on Saturday and the win on Sunday was a nice gift to the team, who are based just a few kilometres from Misano.
The win has also given us a boost in terms of the championship. It would have been a day for us to celebrate but our achievements lost all significance with the passing of Shoya Tomizawa.
It was a tough blow for our sport and today more than ever I want to send my thoughts to his family and do my part to keep alive the memory of a rider and a young man that was so full of life.
It is an extra motivation to pay homage to him at Aragon, with the number 48 in my heart alongside the Spanish fans, and try to win the race so that I can dedicate it to him.”Mapfre Aspar Team Suter rider Julian Simon says:
“I am very motivated going to Aragon after my second straight podium at Misano. Moving up to second in the championship also makes me want to keep this positive trend going. I got a good feeling for MotorLand in July at the test and my lap times were good. I can’t wait to get back there and ride again at a place I enjoyed so much. We found a good setting in the test so we should be able to adapt quickly on Friday. The fact it is another home race is another incentive to have a great weekend.”Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2 Team rider Thomas Lüthi says: “We all have tested in Aragon, so it is equal for all the riders. We already have data from there, which is also an advantage. We will try to continue where we finished at Misano and want to try not to touch the base settings too much from there. The upcoming Grand Prix should not be too much stress for us as we don’t want to change around as we did in Misano. I think to stick with the front group is defiantly the target here and I will try my best to be up with the leaders again.”HONDA 125 RIDER QUOTES
Interwetten Honda 125 Team rider Marcel Schrötter
says: “The track gives a very good impression. We tested there earlier this year and it is not an easy track, but also a lot of fun to ride as it has something of everything, ups and downs, fast corners, all you need. Also the area around the track is very nice although there is not much around there. I am looking forward to this Grand Prix and to gain points is my target as usual.”