The winner of the 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix is looking forward to defending his title now that the infield section of the road course of the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been repaved.The infield section has been criticized since the first riders tested at the track prior to the inaugural race in 2008. The criticism grew louder over the years, reaching a crescendo at last year’s race. During the Friday evening safety commission meeting, the riders expressed a strong opinion that the the infield be repaved, which the FIM safety boss later shared with track officials. Late last week, IMS announced that the repaving would begin soon after this year’s 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500, which runs on Memorial Day weekend.
“This is good news for sure,” Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa said as he prepared for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix in Estoril. “I really like this track and I felt always comfortable racing there; the layout is very different compared the European circuits and the facilities are amazing.”However, from the very first time we went there I felt It was a pity that the condition of the asphalt at such a nice track was not up to standard. It’s very bumpy and you can really feel the changes in the surface. In previous years it was very important to understand the right line and where the bumps are to ride at the maximum, so I’m happy to hear that Indy has decided to repave the infield section. To ride there will now be even better.”With the Indy race not until the end of the summer, Pedrosa has more immediate concerns. This weekend he’ll test his surgically repaired left shoulder on the demanding and often stormy Estoril Circuit near the Atlantic coast northwest of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The postponement of the Japanese Grand Prix allowed Pedrosa to have a second operation on the shoulder that was first damaged at last October’s Motegi race.”I did what I had to do in these three weeks off and I look forward to get back on the bike after this period which has been good for me to undergo surgery and start rehabilitation,” Pedrosa said. “Last week I had the stitches removed, so everything is still very fresh and I don’t know how I will feel in Estoril, but I’m excited to see if everything went well and if I can put the issues aside once on the bike. It would be very good because we had a good start to the season and I wish to compete in the best conditions. I want to make the most of the four practice sessions to prepare for the race.”It would help if we have good weather, as this year we race in April, but you can never trust the weather there having the Atlantic Ocean so close. With regards to the circuit, Estoril has heavy braking zones and it will be important to find traction to take advantage of the good acceleration we have.”