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Uncharted territory for Aoyama and Pedrosa

Uncharted territory for Aoyama and Pedrosa

Uncharted territory for Aoyama and Pedrosa

Hiroshi Aoyama and Dani Pedrosa are united in their prayers for good weather in Portugal this weekend as they both tackle the Estoril circuit for the first time on a 250cc machine.

Two days of rain at Brno two weeks ago made life difficult for the Telefonica Movistar Honda pair, who have both taken starring roles in their rookie season in the quarter-litre series but are looking to coincide on the podium for the first time this weekend.

Pedrosa, of course, has visited all of the circuits in the 125cc class for the past three seasons but knows he can expect a tough time as he looks to defend a 30-point lead over Randy de Puniet in the championship.

"I've never liked Estoril too much – it has a long straight, it's narrow and bumpy," says Pedrosa. "As if that wasn't enough, it's always really windy and that makes it difficult to ride. It was a problem with the 125 and it will be with the 250 as well.

"We already had an example of that at Donington, where we had to punch holes in the fairing. Hopefully the weather is good and we can prepare well for the race in qualifying. The good thing about Estoril is the fans – it is close for us and there are always a lot of Spanish fans there. That's always an extra motivation."

Pedrosa has issued plenty of warning to his Japanese team-mate, who is looking for a positive performance to set him up for his home race at Motegi in two weeks' time.

"Everybody I ask about Estoril tells me about the wind," says Aoyama. "They don't tell me if it's difficult or easy – just that it's windy. I don't know much about the place, but it seems that is one thing I can be sure of.

"Hopefully at least we can get some normal practice sessions in. I was disappointed when we left Brno because of the mistake I made in the race. I got a good start and I was able to chase the lead group, but the confusion caused by the rain caused me to lose my concentration and I found it impossible to recover.

"It was a shame because I felt comfortable on the bike and I think I was capable of a good result. I feel better every time and everybody is reminding me that we are almost in Japan, but I would like to think that I can also do well at Estoril."

250cc, 2004, GRANDE PREMIO MARLBORO DE PORTUGAL, Hiroshi Aoyama, Dani Pedrosa

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