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The season so far: GP Review for Estoril

The season so far: GP Review for Estoril

Some April showers and plenty of MotoGP action awaited the World Championship at Estoril, under the spotlight in the latest Full GP Review.

The third round of the MotoGP World Championship saw the series making the short trip from Jerez to Estoril, for the Grande Premio de Portugal. The scene of some of the best MotoGP races of recent years, including a thrilling 2006 victory for Toni Elias, had some threatening clouds looming overhead in a meteorological situation set to make things difficult over the weekend.

Plenty of speculation surrounded the paddock in the run-up to Estoril, with much focused on engines in particular. The ongoing story of Repsol Honda´s pneumatic valve motor was accompanied by news of John Hopkins´ testing the Kawasaki `Screamer´ in order to see what the particular firing order had to offer his Ninja ZX-RR.

Tyres took centre stage in Lisbon, with Bridgestone gathering their entire MotoGP fleet for a press conference in the Portuguese capital. The riders –and Bridgestone´s technical crew- were on hand to answer questions from the media and meet fans. Michelin, meanwhile, were defending their own positive history at the circuit on race weekend, with the intricacies of the track explained by Jean-Philippe Webber from the French fabricant.

The winner of the previous round in Jerez, Dani Pedrosa opened up the on-track action at Estoril with the fastest time of the Friday Free Practices. The Spaniard was the dominant force in the sessions with a fastest time of 1´38.507, just 0.041 faster than rival Valentino Rossi.

Whilst Spain was proving to have a rich field of talent in the premier class, courtesy of Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, another man was looking to up the Latin representation in MotoGP. Jorge Martinez Aspar revealed his intentions to run an 800cc team in the near future on Saturday, with preliminary talks having taken place with Suzuki.

Lorenzo took his third pole position from as many MotoGP races in another outstanding qualifying session from the Fiat Yamaha rider, edging out Pedrosa once more. The Spanish stars were split by just over two-tenths of a second, with Lorenzo´s Fiat Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi completing the front row.

The satellite Tech 3 Yamaha team had much to celebrate as well, with both Colin Edwards and James Toseland on the second line. Herve Poncharal´s outfit also chose the Grande Premio de Portugal to confirm the renovation of deals with both Toseland and Yamaha, following on from an impressive start to the year.

Spanish television star Vanessa Romero was in attendance on Sunday, expressing support for Pedrosa and Lorenzo as they looked set to be the main protagonists of the Portuguese contest.

Just three races into his MotoGP career, at a track where he had never experienced particular success in the lower cylinder categories, Lorenzo was triumphant on raceday for his first premier class victory, an outstanding achievement for a rookie. He shut out Pedrosa and Rossi for a fine win, and continued his upward ascent in the world of 800cc riding.

A two week break followed, before the series moved to China for round four. That particular race will be featured tomorrow in `The season so far´.


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