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MotoGP quintet preview historic Donington weekend

MotoGP quintet preview historic Donington weekend

Toni Elías, Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, Marco Melandri and James Toseland attended the official British Grand Prix pre-event press conference on Thursday.

Sheltering from some typical summer showers in the Donington media centre on Thursday afternoon, at the British Grand Prix pre-event press conference, were Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha), Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro), Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Marco Melandri (Hayate Racing), James Toseland (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).

Previewing the last visit to the British venue - which has hosted uninterrupted Grand Prix racing 1987 - World Champion and current standings leader Rossi, who has won at Donington seven times in all three classes including five victories in the premier class (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005), noted the great support he receives from fans in the UK.

The Italian commented, “Well as I lived in London for seven years, during a period when there have not been so many British riders in the premier class I have won a lot of fans here. They are very passionate about motorcycles in this country and if we can deal with the famous English weather we hope to have a good weekend here.”

Meanwhile, the winner of the 2007 and 2008 MotoGP races in England, Stoner said of his improving physical condition, “It is a shame that the illness came at a time when we have been making good improvements with our bike. We just have to hope we can get rid of it and start enjoying races more. The last one at Sachsenring was a lot more enjoyable for me, as I was close to the fight at the front rather than 10 seconds behind.”

After the bitter disappointment of his first race at Donington as a MotoGP rider, he was 17th last year after a first lap crash, Briton Toseland wants to leave on Sunday with a much better result on his final visit to the track with MotoGP. The Yorkshireman joked, “If I can make it past the first corner this year it will be an improvement on last year.”

He continued, “I know it has been frustrating for my supporters this year, because it is so hard for them to understand the things they see from outside the pitbox. But they have remained totally behind me, it is great to see all the fans at Donington for the last race here and the potential is there for a good result this weekend.”

Former resident of England Melandri, who until just a few months ago lived in nearby Derby and was a Donington winner en route to the 250cc title in 2002, said of his season so far, “If someone had said to me before the season that I would be sixth at the half way stage, in front of factory Honda and Ducati riders I would not have believed it. It has been like a dream for me.”

Having registered the best results of a thus far frustrating campaign in sixth place at the last two rounds, Elías contributed his perspective on the championship, saying, “It has been a frustrating season for me, riding at 120% just to finish ninth or tenth and with a lot of crashes. But since the Barcelona test we have found something and the results have improved, so we hope to keep it going this weekend.”


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