2011 Indianapolis MotoGP Qualifying Practice Press Conference Transcript

The industrious press elves at Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been busy again, this time producing a transcript of the post-qualifying press conference. It follows below:

Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011

Casey Stoner, Ben Spies, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Nicolas Terol

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, a very warm welcome. It's the qualifying press conference, of course, for Round 12 for the MotoGP World Championship, Round 11 for Moto2 and the 125s. We're at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.

In pole position in the MotoGP class, he also leads the World Championship, of course the Australian, Casey Stoner, riding the Repsol Honda; seventh pole position of the season. Casey also chasing his seventh Grand Prix of the season and his third successive victory.

Alongside him in the front row, it's the Yamaha duo of Ben Spies, who was in pole position, of course, last year, and the World Champion, Jorge Lorenzo, who won the race here two years ago.

In the Moto2 class, a typical Moto2 qualifying session. Checkered flag went out, Marc Marquez stole the pole position from Simone Corsi by 1000th of a second, and this is his fourth successive pole position.

While in the 125cc class, Nico Terol leads the World Championship. He's won here on two previous occasions and it is his sixth pole position of the season.

We come to the BMW M Award. As you would expect, Casey Stoner leads the way after 12 rounds; Casey Stoner now on 260. In second place, Jorge Lorenzo, but 59 points behind him on 201. And it's Marco Simoncelli actually in third place on 194.

We come to the Tissot Awards. Many thanks as always to Tissot, the official timekeepers of the MotoGP World Championship. I'm delighted that Bob Kevoian, local and national radio host for the last 25 years, the Bob & Tom radio show. Delighted to see him here. He's based in Indianapolis. He's going to make the presentations.

We'll start with the 125cc class, please, Bob, to Nico Terol. If you would like to come around, Nico. Thank you. (Applause)

MODERATOR: Congratulations to Nico Terol.

We come to the Moto2 Class. He's collecting Tissot watches over the last two years. He must have a shop back home in Spain. Ladies and gentlemen, Marc Marquez. (Applause)

Thank you, Marc.

On to the MotoGP class, ladies and gentlemen. Casey Stoner, as I say, leads the World Championship by 32 points. Once again, it's pole position for the Repsol Honda rider. Congratulations to Casey Stoner. (Applause)

MODERATOR: Many thanks to Bob, and we all do a picture at the end with the pole sitters. Thank you very much indeed. So we start the press conference.

Q: The man in pole position, Casey Stoner. We look at this, it says pole position but it's been a tough old weekend, hasn't it, starting on the Friday morning?

CASEY STONER: Yeah, you know, track conditions on Friday definitely were a lot lower than what they are now. The grip level wasn't the main issue, for me it was just the inconsistency of grip. That's kind of continued throughout the weekend. We've got faster, and we're pushing a little harder now. But those inconsistent spots are still there. When you touch them and you're pushing a little bit more, then there's still that point where the front can close or the rear can come around on you. That's the issues we're having, not so much the grip. You can deal with, you know, low grip levels if it's consistent, but the fact that you'll hit one patch and want to throw you off is something a little bit scary and difficult to understand where they are.

Q: It's not going to be easy to work out where you're going to be tomorrow either because things have greatly improved sometimes but not so much the other times. So tomorrow the warmup and then tomorrow afternoon.

STONER: Yeah, well, this morning was a big improvement from yesterday, but this afternoon wasn't a huge improvement. I think we more or less would have done the same times if we had thrown new tires at it this morning as we did this afternoon. Maybe it's the temperature or maybe reached that limit of the circuit where it doesn't want to improve too much more. But we're going to have a tough race tomorrow; it's going to be hot, I think. It's going to be a lot of hard work just to understand for overtaking. I think it's going to be really difficult to find some clean spots on the track to overtake safely. We're just going to have to try and get a good start, get away well and see how the race pans out. But, also, tomorrow with the track coming in if it does come a little better, some riders are going to find a little more confidence than what they have now and maybe find a little bit more speed. So things could change by the race tomorrow.

Q: But you're in pole, Casey. You're chasing your fourth successive victory. Despite it being difficult, it's still the place to be, isn't it?

STONER: Definitely. You know, we can't ask for anything more this weekend. We've been slowly improving session by session. And we would have liked things to have gone a little better, feel like it to go a little more smoothly. Obviously, we're not the only ones having those problems. I feel like my riding is a little bit rough, not as smooth as I'd like. But I think everybody is struggling with those same problems, inconsistency in grip and not being able to really ride how you want to. So we're just going to have to do the best job we can and see what tomorrow brings, but I think it's going to be a very hard race.

Q: Casey, congratulations in pole position.

Alongside you in the front row of the grid, second fastest, Ben Spies. I think the same problems, Ben, but you're on the front row when it matters.

BEN SPIES: Yeah, it was a good session. We weren't fast enough but pleased to be in the middle of the front row for, especially the way this track is the first five turns on the first lap. So we need to get a good start and don't make any mistakes in the first five or six laps. Hopefully we can put together a good race. Like Casey said, it's pretty tricky, especially when you start passing. We don't really know yet what's going to happen yet. But it's been slowly improving, but I think we've kind of hit a plateau on the way the track is going to be. We just have to see what the other riders do and see how the bikes react after 12, 13 laps with the tires. I think the race could be quite a bit different than qualifying. I don't think drastically, but I think it's going to be pretty interesting. So we'll just do the best we can and make the bike a little bit better. We need to find some more speed, but consistency is there, but we need to go a little faster if we want to hang on the back of him.

Q: A few problems at the end of the session but you said at the end even if you hadn't had those problems, you don't think you could have got pole.

SPIES: No, we had a couple problems where we definitely didn't get the last three laps in, but we maybe had another tenth and we didn't have pole. That's fine. We did the best we could. So, like I said, being on the front row, especially in the middle of it, that's what we needed to do. So, yeah, it wasn't a problem that held us back from doing anything special. He was too fast today.

Q: Just finally, the injury report, you did have problems at Brno you were telling with the trapped nerve in your neck causing your arm to go a little bit numb. I don't think it's completely gone away, has it?

SPIES: No, it hasn't but it's more honestly just trying to relax and stuff off the bike. We did, you know, pretty good decent stint in the beginning of qualifying and it's not affecting me on the bike, so it's not an excuse I can throw out right now or I'll maybe wait until after the race to do it. No, I feel fine on the bike. It's trying to relax and get rested that I'm not in the most comfortable situation. But like I said, this is a long year, and not all riders are a hundred percent all the time and that's the case right now, but we ride through it and see what we can do.

Q: Ben, thank you. Congratulations, second place.

On the front row of the grid, I think, after the first three practice sessions, Jorge, to be on the front row of the grid, you'll be very happy. I think you described the first three practices as a nightmare.

JORGE LORENZO: Yeah, yeah. Has been a nightmare before the qualifying or before the last minutes in the qualifying. When we just tried the other bike with some big modifications on the setup, I just came out and I find something really better braking. So I could improve my lap times so much and get close to the front guys. But still I don't feel very safe on this tarmac. I feel not so much confident, especially in the front. Also the problem of gaining that we all have is not the most comfortable situation, no, especially after four or five laps. The race is long, so it's going to be a very complicated race, and let's try to be on the bike and fight at least for the podium.

Q: And I think Casey and Ben said it could be very different tomorrow as well, the track could improve even after the warm-up and more rubber on the track for the race.

LORENZO: Yeah, track fortunately is improving, is improving every session and getting more grip. The problem is that if you make a mistake in some corners, you brake later or you go more wide or more tight than normal line, you can crash very easily, no? So for tomorrow the overtaking is going to be a key of the race and we must pay a lot of attention of this.

Q: Jorge, thank you very much indeed. Casey Stoner, Ben Spies, Jorge Lorenzo on that front row of the grid for the MotoGP race. We come to Moto2. Marc Marquez once again is there. Once again, Marc, you left it very, very late indeed. And it was close, wasn't it?

MARC MARQUEZ: Yeah, for sure, it was so close in the end, but I'm happy for this pole, especially because in this series it's quite difficult to find the best lap because have too much traffic. For example, from tomorrow to this afternoon, the grip improve quite a lot, and you need to change the setup. But for tomorrow, I think I go best for the race, I will do my best, for sure. Corsi and Iannone are so strong and they are for the final lap. They are also strong riders, and we will see. But, anyway, I will do my best, and tomorrow in the warm-up I think we can try something for try to improve a little bit.

Q: In qualifying, many riders tried different tactics. Some stayed in for a long time before going out. Is it luck or do you plan to do it right at the end there?

MARQUEZ: Yeah, for sure. Here it's difficult, especially for the tires because you need to save quite a lot. The tires are destroyed quite a lot, especially the left side, and for the reason some riders wait on the box. But we will see tomorrow in the race. I think I work well in the free practice with the tires, and then in the qualifying with new tires we improve quite a lot. And I think I'm ready for to do a good race.

Q: Marc, congratulations once again for pole position. Come on to 125cc, ladies and gentlemen, Nico Terol, of course, Nico has won twice already at Indianapolis. He's here in pole position. An important pole position for you, Nico, after the disappointment of Brno and a few problems this morning, as well.

NICOLAS TEROL: Yes, I'm very happy for the sixth pole position of this year. May not be a problem in the race, but in the race I'm very concentration. Today my pace very consistent but very difficult because very hard after 10 laps the tire down, and I'm ready for the race for tomorrow. My concentration are the laps because my pace at the moment is more better than other riders.

Q: Overtaking, as everybody said, is going to be very, very difficult tomorrow going off the racing line. Important to be where you are in pole position.

TEROL: Yeah, it's very important because the line is perfect, but the other points is very easy to crash. And for tomorrow is very important; I mean, I will start and push very hard.

MODERATOR: Nico, congratulations pole position once again.

Ladies and gentlemen, let's take some questions from the floor. If you put your hand up.

Q: Ben, on TV we couldn't tell you what your problem was, if the gas tank or seat was loose.

SPIES: Yeah, I have a spacer on the back of my tank to try to keep me more in the back of the seat. And, yeah, it just came loose or something. But like I said, it wasn't a tragic event. We didn't have anything left anyway, but yeah, it just happens. That's what it was. (Laughter)

Q: I wanted to ask Jorge and Ben both, you were both waiting for a new engine that you tried in the Czech Republic, apparently with reasonable good results. You're giving up 7 kilometers an hour on average to the fastest of the Hondas down the home straight. I don't know how much the top speed really means, but is the new engine a significant improvement? I will ask Jorge and then Ben.

LORENZO: Unfortunately, it's not much better than the other one. Maybe we gain 1 kilometer or 2 is the maximum we can gain. I would like to have more speed, but I think is not the most important thing, no, because for example, always on the top the first three riders in every race and he has some difficulty, no, in the corners. So it doesn't matter to have the best speed to be the fastest.

SPIES: Yeah, I think I mean it's definitely, you know, when we look at the data, it's a small improvement, not difficult for us to feel, but it does help. Anything can help right now. I guess we need to see at is other tracks how it is because the way the last corner is for us for our bike, it's not the most ideal type of corner with the acceleration and the grip and stuff. But, you know, at another track maybe it's stronger. So we just have to wait and see. But, yeah, there's a small improvement but not like what, you know, what we need right now.

MODERATOR: Anybody else, ladies and gentlemen?

Q: The front tire, your front tire (inaudible)?

STONER: Interesting because we've got quite a lot of graining on the front tire. We've improved it today, so we reduced the graining that we've got on the front tire now. We're having less graining with the soft tire, so I think this is definitely an option for tomorrow. But we've got, we're going to try things out in warm-up and see if we can improve the situation. But, for sure, there's a lot of graining on the front tire on the left side and also a little bit on the rear. But the rear tire, we've done race distance on, and it seems to be pretty good. So we'll see what we can do tomorrow.

SPIES: Yeah, for me the front tire is not -- the front tire wear is not a huge problem. I don't know if it's my style or not but I need to make the front better on the bike. That's where I'm losing a little bit of time in some of the corners. Maybe if we could do that we run into some problems, we don't know. But for me there's no big problem. We just need to work on a few small areas. So we'll just see how it is in the race.

LORENZO: I have this problem of graining on the left, also, this weekend. This afternoon I try both bikes. With one bike, I really solve quite a lot this problem, but the lap times were almost one second slower. When I came to the second bike, I was much faster. But after three or four laps, it start graining the front. So for tomorrow we're going to try something different with the last bike for trying to improve this graining and keeping the speed.

Q: Question for Jorge. You said you make quite big modification on the bike. Your teammate has been faster from the first session, so did you look at something of his data to have an idea?

LORENZO: Yeah, we are looking. Sometimes especially when you have problems and you are slower than your partner, everybody look in the data of the other, no? But finally the bike who was better was completely different from the setup that Ben is using all weekend.

Q: Casey, you've been consistently concerned about the track this weekend, but also consistently very quick. Do you accept and excel in these challenging situations?

STONER: No, I just don't let things affect me. There are circuits that I don't enjoy, and I'm not going to beat around the bush and say, 'Yeah, it's one of my favorite tracks,' because there's a lot of circuits in the world, and a lot of them are a lot more enjoyable than others. So this track was difficult in the past years, as well, you know, very, very tight corners that you're not really pushing through any of them. You're kind of just rolling through some of the corners. So it doesn't give you a lot of enjoyment. There's only a few corners on this track that really are a lot of fun. So, you know, it's still difficult; the track is still not in great condition. We're all struggling with graining of the front tire, which is due to lack of grip. I think we're going to continue to have that problem. The amount of dirt and dust that's on that circuit is quite amazing. As soon as you go offline, it doesn't matter how fast you're going, it was very, very slippery. We'll have to wait for tomorrow and see how the race goes, and hopefully we get a good start. But we all have to race in the same conditions, and just because I don't like a circuit or I'm not really happy with the surface doesn't mean I'm going to let it affect me.

Q: I've got a question. Casey, going on from that answer, it says in the rulebook the conditions of the racetrack you're not allowed to change them from the start of the meeting on Friday. Is this something that you could maybe say for the future of MotoGP that if a circuit is really dusty it could be cleaned somehow mechanically?

STONER: I mean, it's hard to say, really. You know, if they went and blew the dust out, it could go everywhere and maybe dust from the edge of the track will come in, I'm not sure. But I mean it's extremely dusty out there. If you go offline now with a scooter, you're going to find it slippery. So you've got to make sure you stay on that line and make sure you don't make any mistakes. As soon as you do, you just feel the bike it's gone, there's no grip there whatsoever. It's hard to say, there's a lot of things we tried to change in the Safety Commissions and about a lot of different things, and things normally don't happen. So I will just ride with what I've got, and everyone is in the same condition, I suppose. So we'll just deal with it.

Q: Idea one day could be more free practice on Tuesday?

STONER: I mean to the point where the circuit is now is about as good as I think it will get. We've had a lot of bikes going around there, we've had a lot of dust cleaned off, and I don't think it's going to change so much. It's still the fact that I'm not sure how Moto2 and 125 is going to go tomorrow, but when people have to overtake and they're three- or four-wide going into a corner, I don't see some people -- you know, when you have to outbrake someone, you have to brake later and harder than they do. If they're on the good line and you're on the bad line, things can go wrong. It's something we're going to have to pay attention to tomorrow and see how racing conditions are. Approximate even people going slow today and trying to get offline, they didn't want to get offline because as soon as you did it was slippery and even going slow. So it's just going to be tricky.

MODERATOR: Anybody else, ladies and gentlemen? No? OK. If we could stand for the photograph and then we'll do the pole sitters, as well, that will be great.


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