The 2011 MotoGP Estoril Round Three – Preview

Yamaha Factory Racing Prepare for Round Three as MotoGP Returns to Estoril.

The MotoGP paddock sets up at the Estoril circuit on the Atlantic coast in Portugal this weekend for round three of the World Championship after an extended break. recent disaster in Japan and subsequent postponement of the Motegi round has resulted in a four week gap between races for Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.

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Reigning MotoGP World Champion and current Championship leader Lorenzo returns to Estoril looking to extend a perfect score sheet from the Portuguese circuit.

So far the young Mallorcan has three consecutive pole position starts, race wins and fastest laps, taking nothing less than victory from every Estoril race of his MotoGP career.

The later scheduling of the Portuguese race in last year’s calendar meant Lorenzo raced at Estoril in 2010 having already been crowned World Champion. He went on to deliver Yamaha’s third consecutive Triple Crown that weekend with the help of his then team mate.

A flawless performance under treacherous conditions in Jerez last month delivered Lorenzo’s first race win of the season, the incident filled first Spanish round leaving most of the competition struggling to stay upright and reach the chequered flag. He arrives at Estoril nine points clear of his closest rival at the top of the Championship standings.

Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies heads back from his four week break in the USA preparing for his first Estoril MotoGP race. The 2010 round which saw Monsoon weather disrupt qualifying had initially looked positive for the then satellite Texan rider, combined practice times giving him a second row start for the race.

An unfortunate high side on the second of two sighting laps however resulted in a dislocated ankle meaning Spies has yet to complete a MotoGP race here and has yet to turn a wheel on a dry Estoril track. The 2010 rookie of the year had been on track for his first podium of the year at Jerez last month. He had been running in second behind his team mate until he joined the many riders to crash out as the changeable track surface took its toll on the worn out rain tyres. Spies arrives in Estoril sitting in 12th in the Championship with ten points.

The Autodromo Fernanda Pires de Silva sits just seven kilometres from the Atlantic coast and as such is notorious for dramatic weather changes; riders can see conditions change in seconds from warm sunshine to high winds and gusts of rain.

Estoril provides one of the most challenging circuits for set up, featuring one of the longest straights of the MotoGP calendar combined with the one of the slowest corners. Lorenzo and Spies will need all their rider skills to negotiate the slow twisty sections then hold their nerve for the high speed 200km/hr kink at turn five and the infamous final Parabolica corner leading to the finish line.

Jorge Lorenzo

“This week we will be in Portugal, a country where I’ve had nice moments! In Estoril I got my first victory in the MotoGP class in 2008 which I repeated over the last two seasons. The track has turned into a talisman for me and it is the place where the astronaut always comes back. We have been training for a month, and I hope that this makes us fit for a good race. We are in front of the standings, but it is very early and it is just the beginning. This week will also be important since we are testing on Monday and we will certainly be able to check a lot of things for the future set-up”.

Ben Spies

“Although I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to head home and get some chill out time in Texas this break has been way to long for me. The team worked really hard over the weekend in Jerez and by race day had delivered a competitive set up that meant we could fight for the podium. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I really enjoyed the first practice sessions here last year and was frustrated to have not made the race, I can’t wait to get started on Friday morning and see what we can do.”

Wilco Zeelenberg“It seems like Jerez was last year, not the last round! It’s a bit strange to have such a long time away from the track during the season but of course we all know the reason. We are really looking forward to Estoril, with the position we have and knowing Jorge is strong here we think he can do a good job and compete for the podium again. It’s early in the season and our competitors have made big advances from last year but we are again fighting for the championship.” Massimo Meregalli“Estoril is a good circuit for Yamaha, it’s one of the favourite tracks for Jorge and he always gets good results here, as have other Yamaha Factory riders in the past. Despite not finishing the race at Jerez Ben showed he had the potential to finish on the podium so comes here looking to step forward again. Estoril has extra significance as we secured our Triple Crown for the third consecutive time here last year. We are confident that in the 50th year of Yamaha’s involvement in Grand Prix racing we can continue our tradition of success in Portugal.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Preview

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow return to action after a long break this weekend when the 2011 MotoGP World Championship resumes at the Estoril track in Portugal.

This weekend’s race presents American Edwards with a chance to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on a podium finish in an enthralling Spanish Grand Prix at the Jerez circuit earlier this month. Poised to secure his first rostrum since 2009, Edwards was cruelly denied by a small technical failure on the final lap of a dramatic rain-hit race, but the 36-year-old is determined to impress again on Yamaha’s YZR-M1 machine in Estoril.

Edwards has twice finished fourth at the Estoril circuit in 2006 and 2008 and only once in his nine-year MotoGP career has he failed to finish inside the top ten.

The Portuguese Grand Prix will provide impressive rookie Crutchlow with another steep learning curve. The British rider has never raced on the 2.599 miles circuit before but he has already demonstrated his ability to learn new tracks quickly by challenging for a podium with an inspired performance on his debut at the Jerez track recently.

The three-week break gave Crutchlow the chance to undergo surgery on his right arm to solve a persistent numbness issue and he’s confident he will be at 100 per cent fitness for Sunday’s 28-lap race.

Cal Crutchlow

“I am looking forward to Portugal. This is a new circuit for me and it will be difficult once again as the others know this track already and have a lot more experience on it than me. I hope I can learn this circuit as fast as Jerez where I was quickly up to speed and I qualified inside the top ten. My arm is getting better and better after the surgery that was done to get rid of the numbness I felt during Qatar and Jerez. The stitches are out already, but I haven’t tried to ride a bike yet, so I’ll understand more on Friday when practice starts.”

Colin Edwards

“A few years ago I was in the group fighting for the win and I like the Estoril track. I always seem to do pretty well there and it will be good to get back on the bike after a long break. The track seems to suit my riding style and with the extra performance we’ve got with the 2011 Yamaha YZR-M1, I’m confident we can have a strong weekend. The Yamaha has always works good in Estoril and had a good balance there, so there is no reason why I can’t go there and think about challenging for at least a top six.”

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