Lorenzo hoping for “astronaut to come back” at talisman circuit
The MotoGP paddock sets up at the Estoril circuit on the Atlantic coast in Portugal this weekend for round three of the World Championship after an extended break. The recent disaster in Japan and subsequent postponement of the Motegi round has resulted in a four week gap between races for Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion and current Championship leader Lorenzo returns to Estoril looking to extend a perfect score sheet from the Portuguese circuit. So far the young Mallorcan has three consecutive pole position starts, race wins and fastest laps, taking nothing less than victory from every Estoril race of his MotoGP career. The later scheduling of the Portuguese race in last year’s calendar meant Lorenzo raced at Estoril in 2010 having already been crowned World Champion. He went on to deliver Yamaha’s third consecutive Triple Crown that weekend with the help of his then team mate. A flawless performance under treacherous conditions in Jerez last month delivered Lorenzo’s first race win of the season, the incident filled first Spanish round leaving most of the competition struggling to stay upright and reach the chequered flag. He arrives at Estoril nine points clear of his closest rival at the top of the Championship standings.
The Autodromo Fernanda Pires de Silva sits just seven kilometres from the Atlantic coast and as such is notorious for dramatic weather changes; riders can see conditions change in seconds from warm sunshine to high winds and gusts of rain. Estoril provides one of the most challenging circuits for set up, featuring one of the longest straights of the MotoGP calendar combined with the one of the slowest corners. Lorenzo and Spies will need all their rider skills to negotiate the slow twisty sections then hold their nerve for the high speed 200km/hr kink at turn five and the infamous final Parabolica corner leading to the finish line.
Jorge Lorenzo: “This week we will be in Portugal, a country where I’ve had nice moments! In Estoril I got my first victory in the MotoGP class in 2008 which I repeated over the last two seasons. The track has turned into a talisman for me and it is the place where the astronaut always comes back. We have been training for a month, and I hope that this makes us fit for a good race. We are in front of the standings, but it is very early and it is just the beginning. This week will also be important since we are testing on Monday and we will certainly be able to check a lot of things for the future set-up”.
Wilco Zeelenberg: “It seems like Jerez was last year, not the last round! It’s a bit strange to have such a long time away from the track during the season but of course we all know the reason. We are really looking forward to Estoril, with the position we have and knowing Jorge is strong here we think he can do a good job and compete for the podium again. It’s early in the season and our competitors have made big advances from last year but we are again fighting for the championship.”
Massimo Meregalli: “Estoril is a good circuit for Yamaha, it’s one of the favourite tracks for Jorge and he always gets good results here, as have other Yamaha Factory riders in the past. Estoril has extra significance as we secured our Triple Crown for the third consecutive time here last year. We are confident that in the 50th year of Yamaha’s involvement in Grand Prix racing we can continue our tradition of success in Portugal.”
Source: Yamaha Racing