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Stoner joins Spanish quartet to preview weekend

Stoner joins Spanish quartet to preview weekend

Thursday’s press conference at the Montmeló circuit was attended by World Championship leader Casey Stoner alongside Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Toni Elías and Sete Gibernau.

The highest placed Spanish rider in the current general standings, Jorge Lorenzo, was in good company at the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya pre-event press conference on Thursday, joined by 2008 Barcelona race-winner Dani Pedrosa, championship leader and 2007 Montmeló victor Casey Stoner, plus additional home riders Toni Elías and Sete Gibernau.

When asked by journalists whether he felt extra responsibility this weekend on home soil, as he prepares to make his premier class Barcelona race debut, a confident Lorenzo replied, “I don’t feel any extra pressure. For me riding here is just as important in terms of the championship as riding in Australia or Malaysia. Of course it would be great to get a good result because I have my friends and family here, but all the races in MotoGP are important.”

Meanwhile, in his own calm and collected style the level-headed Stoner previewed the weekend’s action, on the back of his historic Mugello home victory for Ducati stating, “Although I’ve had some ups and downs here I’ve always enjoyed this track. Mugello worked out very well for us even though we’ve had some problems this year, lucked out in a couple of races and made some bad decisions. We have always had reasonably good pace at races where we weren’t normally fast and I think we’ve got a better chance here than last year.”

The all important question asked of Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa pertained to the crucial issue of his hip/femur injury. He explained, “Well I was in a lot of pain on the bike in Mugello but things have improved in the last two weeks. In every day activities it has got much better but I won’t know how well I can ride until I actually get on the bike on Friday and test it out.”

Pressed on whether rumours that he had signed a new contract with Honda for 2010 were true Pedrosa responded, “We have not even had that conversation yet.”

Having had a difficult start to the year Toni Elías certainly is under pressure to deliver a positive result at his own home race, but he explained the reasons behind his slow progress thus far in 2009. “I’ve had some injuries and more problems than I expected,” the Catalan rider admitted, “After the Motegi crash I decided to have the arm operation after Jerez, but that meant things were difficult in Le Mans. We saw some improvements in Mugello, but now is the chance to do well in front of my fans.”

The final rider to speak was Ducati satellite veteran Gibernau, who knows the Barcelona track inside out. Returning from injury himself after missing two races he joked, “After listening to what Dani and Toni have been through recently I think I’m absolutely fine. My shoulder is getting much better and I feel ok. The whole project with this new team in 2009 has been a big job but I love riding and I still feel I can show my potential again this year.”


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