MotoGP returns to action this weekend in San Marino, Italy for round thirteen of the MotoGP World Championship. Factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo leads the series by thirteen points, in an increasingly tight championship battle with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who sits with 232 championship points to Lorenzo’s 245, with six races remaining.
Jorge Lorenzo, who has struggled to gain the top spot on the podium for the last three races, hopes to extend his points lead this weekend, “This year we’ve been very constant, always in the first two positions. The last three races we couldn’t win, but were very close. Now we arrive in this track, which for us has been pretty good for the last four years I think. I was in second the first three years, and last year I could finally get the victory. In Aragón [test] we found something that gives us a little bit more speed – actually we found it in Brno – but we can’t use the last engine, so we’ll have the same engine and bike as in Brno. We’ll wait, but in this race we’ll try to fight for the win and maybe in the next race in Aragón we’ll have a better bike.”
A generally cautious Dani Pedrosa continues to remain focused and is not getting carried away. According to the Spaniard, “It’s been good in the last two races. I’m pretty happy about that, but sure we have to keep working the same, trying to ride well again here. It’s important always to stay focused. We were also testing in Aragón. It was important to do this test for the final stage of the championship. We tried to improve some things on the grip, which we may use or may not.”
Joining Pedrosa in the Repsol Honda garage will be Honda’s Jonathon Rea, who will be filling in for an injured Casey Stoner, who suffered fractures to his ankle at Indianapolis that required surgery. This weekend marks Rea’s MotoGP debut.
This is the first time that the MotoGP riders have travelled to San Marino since the circuit was renamed in the late Marco Simoncelli’s honour. Valentino Rossi spoke about returning to the newly named circuit, “When you come here, with the circuit named after Marco, there is more feeling about his loss. We have to try to do a good race for Marco and for his family.”
Free practice got under way in San Marino today under tricky track conditions that were a mix of wet and dry. Top riders Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa chose to sit out the free practice sessions, with nothing to gain from mixed conditions. Meanwhile, Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham was the man on top in this afternoon’s second free practice, with a time in the low 1:42’s. Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison was second quickest while San Carlo Gresini’s Michele Pirro rounded out the top three. Honda’s Jonathon Rea recorded the 5th fastest time of the day.