Following the longest break of the entire season, brought about by the postponement of the Motegi GP, the MotoGP series returns to action for the Grand Prix of Portugal. The Ducati Marlboro Team is prepared for a weekend at a track that is at once demanding and full of contrasts. Despite its having the lowest average speed of the series, the Estoril circuit also includes very fast sections, including one of the longest straightaways of the year and Turn 5, which is taken at approximately 200 km/h (124 mph).
The circuit, which winds through the hills seven kilometers from the Atlantic coast, is also known for its variable weather, which often makes track conditions different from one turn to the next.
Valentino Rossi has won five times in his eleven premier-class visits to the track, and he has finished on the podium on other five occasions, while the best result of his teammate Nicky Hayden is a fourth place in 2007.
“With the postponement of the Japanese GP, we’ve had three weekends without a race, so I was able to ‘unplug’ for a while following the GP12 test at Jerez, although I continued training to help my physical recovery. Now we go to Estoril, a track I quite like, where we’ll continue working on the GP11’s setup, particularly during the test on Monday. The conditions are often unpredictable at Estoril because the area is very windy and close to the ocean, making for variable weather, especially in the spring. Anyway, although we saw at Jerez that we’re already competitive in the wet, we’re hoping for sun in Portugal so that we can make the most of our time on the track. We still have to understand the bike better, and to work on the setup with the goal of being faster in the dry in time for the most intense phase of the season, when we’ll have six races in eight weeks starting in June.”
“On to Portugal! We’ve had three weeks off, which seems like a long time, so I’m looking forward to getting back with the team. Estoril has some pretty tight, narrow places, but I’d say my favorite part is the fast kink on the back straightaway. Actually, we were just there in the fall, but the weekend was completely wet until the race. Hopefully it’s a little bit different this year, because it would be nice to get some dry time in as well. Now the season really gets rolling as we head into summer. I know the team’s been working hard, and I’m also looking forward to the test that we have on Monday after the race. I can’t wait to get back to the track and back on the bike. Hopefully we can go and get a good result.”
ESTORIL TRACK RECORDS
Official Record: Dan Pedrosa (Honda – 2009), 1:36.937 – 155.309 km/h
Best Pole: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha – 2008), 1:35.715 – 157.291 km/h
Circuit Length: 4.182 km (2.599 mi)
2011 MotoGP Race Start: 1:00 p.m. Local Time
Number of Laps: 28
Race Distance: 117.096 km
2010 PODIUM: 1st Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd Valentino Rossi, 3rd Andrea Dovizioso
2010 POLE: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), 1:48.522 – 138.729 km/h
DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM RESULTS AT ESTORIL (BEST FINISH)
2010: 5th (Hayden)
2009: 2nd (Stoner)
2008: 6th (Stoner)
2007: 3rd (Stoner)
2006: 12th (Capirossi)
2005: 5th (Checa)
2004: 7th (Capirossi)
2003: 3rd (Capirossi)