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Repsol Honda team aiming high as MotoGP hits Portugal

Repsol Honda team aiming high as MotoGP hits Portugal

MotoGP comes alive again this weekend after enjoying an extended break since the last race at Misano four weeks ago.

The Repsol Honda Team goes into round 14 of the 17-race series ready for the final push of the 2009 season which sees the world championship paddock once again jetting around the globe, landing in Portugal this weekend before heading to Australia, Malaysia and then returning to Europe for the finale at Valencia, Spain. Factory Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso arrive at the Estoril circuit refreshed and fully focused on carving out the best possible finish to the season.

Pedrosa will be looking to extend the recent form that’s seen him consistently challenging the championship leaders and climbing to third place in the world standings. The Spaniard led the first seven laps last time out at the San Marino Grand Prix, and he and his crew will be determined to find that little bit extra to enable him to fight at the front right to the end of this weekend’s 28-lap race. Pedrosa, who celebrates his 24th birthday on the Tuesday before Estoril, will be looking to find the speed that saw him run last year’s winner, Jorge Lorenzo, very close here - eventually finishing just 1.8s behind his fellow Spaniard. Indeed Pedrosa has finished second in Portugal for the last two seasons and will surely be targeting the win this weekend.

Dani Pedrosa
“It’s been quite a long break since the last race and I really enjoyed it - combining time to relax as well as taking the opportunity to put in some good training. It’s unusual to have three weeks off at this stage of the year, but now it’s time to get back on track and I’m very much looking forward to facing the last part of the season. We need to be very focused from the first practice on Friday to prepare the bike as much a possible for this race. At this track you need a machine that performs well on the brakes and over the bumps and is able to maintain good rear grip. It’s quite a tough track from a riding point of view, but I feel confident on this front because physically I’m in really good condition now. We’ll see how the weather is compared to last year when we raced in April. I have good memories from 2008 when we managed to finish second even though we had mixed conditions on Sunday with some light showers at the beginning of the race. Obviously I would prefer to have stable weather and dry conditions, but whatever happens I’m looking forward to getting back on track.”

Andrea Dovizioso arrives at the Estoril circuit looking to maintain the consistent run of form which has seen him take fourth place in the last three races and, before that, score his first MotoGP victory at Donington Park in July. On his MotoGP debut at Estoril last year Dovizioso was highly impressive in only his third top-flight race, forming part of a four-way battle for the lead with Valentino Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo for the first half of the race before a fall denied him a probable podium finish. This is a track at which Dovizioso performs well and where he has three podium finishes and one win - in 2006 - to his name from the 250cc class. Like Pedrosa, Dovizioso has recently signed a new contract with the factory Honda squad and is sure to come to Portugal with no shortage of motivation.

Andrea Dovizioso
“Estoril is a track where I have achieved some good results and I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike after this long break. Last year’s race here was looking going well for me too, and I was fighting with Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Valentino before I crashed, so I have a positive feeling coming into this weekend and I’m confident I can have a good race. It’s a very slow circuit and some parts are a bit tight and narrow for MotoGP machines. This means it’s not easy to tame these bikes around here and it takes a while to understand how to approach the track and fully exploit the MotoGP bike’s performance. At the last race at Misano we collected important data on the way to fourth place and the team and I have some ideas of how to further improve the machine set-up with the Ohlins suspension. I‘m really curious to see how these new setting solutions will work out. We’re feeling confident for the final four races of the season and I’m definitely looking forward to racing at Estoril.”

Press release courtesy of Repsol Honda

Tags:
MotoGP, 2009, bwin.com GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Andrea Dovizioso, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team

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