IMS Press Release: 2012 Indianapolis Qualifying Press Conference - Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Espargaro And Cortese Speak

Below is the transcript of the press conference held after qualifying at Indianapolis, featuring MotoGP front row rider Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso and Moto2 and Moto3 polesitters Pol Espargaro and Sandro Cortese:


Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, Pol Espargaro, Sandro Cortese

Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012

MODERATOR: OK, ladies and gentlemen. I think all the riders are here so we can start the press conference if the riders will take their seats, thank you very much.

A very warm welcome to the qualifying press conference of course for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. It's the 11th round of the MotoGP Championship and 10th round for Moto2 and Moto3.

In pole position, his third pole position in MotoGP with the fastest ever lap by a motorcycle around the Indianapolis circuit, riding the Repsol Honda is Dani Pedrosa. Alongside him on the front row of the grid is the championship leader, Jorge Lorenzo. Dani and Jorge both former winners here at Indianapolis. Of course, Jorge riding the Yamaha. And in third place, his second front row start of the season, riding that Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha is Andrea Dovizioso.
Come on to Moto2, incredible lap by Pol Espargaro, his third pole position of the season.
And in Moto3, the championship leader, Sandro Cortese with his fourth pole position of the season.

Come on to the BMW Award, of course, for MotoGP, Casey Stoner still leads the way on 208, but Jorge Lorenzo now closing just seven points behind him on 201 and Dani Pedrosa very close also, just three points behind Jorge Lorenzo on 198, and seven qualifying sessions remaining of the season.
Big thanks to Tissot, as always of course, the official timekeepers of the MotoGP World Championship. And to make the presentation today to the riders of the Tissot watches, Matthew Miles, of course, is the managing editor of Cycle World magazine, somebody we know well.

We would like to start off with Sandro Cortese, please, for Moto3. Thank you. (Applause)
Congratulations to Sandro. We come on to Moto2 with the fastest ever Moto2 lap of the Indianapolis circuit, was on the podium here last year, is Pol Espargaro. (Applause)
And to MotoGP, fastest ever lap by a motorcycle -- what, we've been coming here since 2008 for the Indianapolis Grand Prix -- is Dani Pedrosa. (Applause)

Congratulations to Dani. Thank you, Matthew. We'll do the picture at the end, obviously, with the three pole sitters.

We'll start the press conference and, of course, we start with the pole sitter of MotoGP. Dani, that was a very difficult session, wasn't it? You came out on top, set the fastest lap but stopped twice with red flags. It wasn't an easy session for anybody, was it?

DANI PEDROSA: Yeah, it was tough and tricky because it was very slippery. We could see many crashes in Moto3 and MotoGP. And, yeah, many red flags. But I think it was right when Casey crashed, the surface was dirty due to his bike parts. And then with Nicky, yeah, he didn't look so good, so it was clearly good to stop, and I think it was a good decision. And, yeah, it was anyway important to keep focus. The bike was sliding a lot. So it was tough, but at the end good because we could get on pole. And this is always good here, first turns are tight, so it is always important to have a good start. And, yeah, pretty much I think the bike was working well. And at this time the speed is now even to Yamaha even one or two case more, so it's good.

MODERATOR: And the general condition of the track has improved as the weekend goes on, doesn't it? Friday morning was very difficult; it has got better and better. You wonder how it will be tomorrow for the actual race.

PEDROSA: Yeah, track is getting a little bit better. I couldn't feel bigger improvement today in the afternoon compared to the morning, but sure, after tomorrow two races to go, so in front of us, so yeah, I think the track will be a little bit different. But sure, most important is that more or less the setting is good. And the race here is always tough. It's warm, and we have tough competitors and it's long, but sure confident and I'll try to keep focus on the race and do a good race.

MODERATOR: Race setup, at least it's been dry the whole time, that's been a change, hasn't it, that you have the same weather conditions the whole time. So have you had a chance to work on the race setup?

PEDROSA: Yeah, that's true except first practice which the track was completely dirty in the infield. I think we had a good chance to prepare. Also we could see that soft tires are not really working here. So everybody I think will stick on the hards, and that's more easy sometimes.

MODERATOR: Dani, congratulations, pole position and that fastest lap.

Coming to Jorge Lorenzo, of course the championship leader. Hasn't looked good, has it, Jorge, even the first day and even this morning, but you certainly found something. You were banging your fist when you came across the line. Almost that you were in pole position rather than second place. You found something very special.

JORGE LORENZO: Yeah, yeah, we find something much better than what we have, how MotoGP bike can change with some modified, but we made it. We made big modification, big improvement. Before this modification, I really didn't feel great coming into the corners. So I was struggling and very scary to be aggressive, and my strong points was the end of the corners. So now I can feel better again. Also, it has been a difficult qualifying because so many riders crash, and it wasn't nice to see companions crashing so violently. But anyway, after seeing their crashes, I've been more relaxed with my eyes looking all the trash on the track. So it was important to be fast but also to be careful not to crash.

MODERATOR: Can you challenge Dani tomorrow in the race?

LORENZO: I would like, I would like. We are closer; we are closer than the previous practice. I think the important thing tomorrow is to finish. If it's possible on the podium, and who knows, maybe to try to fight for the victory.

MODERATOR: Jorge, thanks very much indeed.

Come to third place, ladies and gentlemen, of course running that Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha, you're there again, Andrea Dovizioso. Really good qualifying session for you, but, as the other two have said, it was not easy, was it, with the qualifying being stopped on two separate occasions?

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO: Yeah, it was really strange, and I think is not so easy to understand the pace of everybody about this practice with two red flags because I think some riders can make a better lap time, so this can make a difference. But anyway, sure Dani have the best pace. Also, Ben is so fast. I don't know his condition about the body for tomorrow, but we improve a lot. We made a good job, and I think we have a pace for fighting for the podium. I don't know exactly the position, and the race here is always strange, is so slippery. The tire drop is really particular about will be interesting, and I think with a nice battle tomorrow.

MODERATOR: Tire choice, I would imagine from what Dani said and Jorge said, it's not going to be that difficult. It's going to be the harder option.

DOVIZIOSO: Yeah, sure, and normally I use always the hard option, but here is the same for everybody. So there is no decision, I think.

MODERATOR: Andrea, thank you very much indeed. That's your front row, ladies and gentlemen, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.

Come on to Moto2, incredible lap from Pol Espargaro and a great battle as I suspect it would be between you and Marc Marquez.

POL ESPARGARO: Sure, it would be because the Moto2, the motorbike and riders, we are so similar, and it's difficult to try to take 25 points but always you have to fight a lot to take it and try to take it. We'll fight. The practice was crazy. Bike was making clear lap time at the start of the practice in Lap 5, and it was like, 'Wow, I have to work more.' But after we had test the second tire, the good one that we use for the race, and it was so good that the motorbike work so perfect. I think for tomorrow we have not just a good lap time if not a good lap by lap, that's important.

MODERATOR: I think as Dani was saying, a good start is important because the track has got the racing line has got plenty of rubber down but the rest of it when you have to go out and overtake, it is slippery, isn't it?

ESPARGARO: Yeah, here it is difficult, it is a little bit dangerous because if you go outside, out of the line, the track becomes so, so slippery and it's dirty. But anyway, we are in a good position to be in the line and just think about make good start and be there all the race and maybe try to make something different at the final.

MODERATOR: I know what you can do, Marc Marquez obviously has that advantage in the championship, is win races, isn't it? You can't worry about what happens behind you, you have to go out and win.

ESPARGARO: We have to win, for sure, or be in front of Marc. Marc have 34 points more than us, and sure will be difficult to try to keep concentration all the races for to take the points. But anyway, I feel so good. I feel with an incredible motorbike, that the Kalex guys are working so hard to try to be better than the Suter, and I think we are in line to try to take the first point.

MODERATOR: Congratulations, Pol Espargaro, pole position for Moto2.

Coming to Moto3, of course, Sandro Cortese leading the World Championship. Your session was also red-flagged twice, wasn't it, but once right at the end of the session. Poor old Efren Vazquez was a little unlucky, wasn't he, at the end when the red flag came out? But, again, it doesn't make it easy when the session is stopped, does it?

SANDRO CORTESE: Yeah, it was really difficult to get a rhythm because the same for everybody, I think. When you are not on the ideal line, one lap is immediately canceled, and we have also some problems with the tires. We don't have so many for the whole race weekend, and we have to, yeah, have spare tires. So we have to look how many laps we can do and if there is always red flag, you have to come in and out. It doesn't also give you good feeling. But at the end everything worked well, and it was good.

MODERATOR: We said in MotoGP and Moto2, overtaking is not going to be easy because the state of the surface of the track. So pole position is a good place to be one would imagine on a good start.

CORTESE: Especially the first corner and second where so many crashes in the Moto3, so just a good start and look what's happening. I have a good rhythm the whole weekend. I just try to having a good start, and maybe if it's possible just to pull away or that we have two or three riders because I don't really like this big group in our class. There's the possibility of 10 or more riders, so it makes life a little more easier when there are just two or three riders.

MODERATOR: Of course, it is the first Moto3 race in Indianapolis but in America, it has been a amazing championship, hasn't it?

CORTESE: It can't be better than it was for me until now, so I was nearly all the time on the podium. I just have to try to be calm and do what I can. I just did it today and I feel good with the team, with Aki and all and just try to do the same and following what I did.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Sandro. Sandro Cortese, pole sitter in Moto3.

That's enough from me, ladies and gentlemen. Any questions from the floor? Put up your hands and we will bring the microphones around.

Q: Question for all of you. We have seen a lot of crashes today. Do you think this track is safe enough for you to ride on it?

PEDROSA: Well, I don't -- I didn't see anybody crashing into a wall or something like this. Sure, we had many crashes, which means the surface maybe was slippery or, I don't know. Yeah, I had the feeling like you can control a lot the slide because you can feel it, but suddenly it goes quick. So it wasn't easy to find the edge. Maybe that's why many riders crashed. But fortunately we did not see anybody run into a wall or against other riders. So doesn't seem like a safety issue with the track layout, but we have to take -- if this is really the track where most crashes happen over all the tracks.

LORENZO: As I told you, I think this tarmac probably the worst tarmac in all the championship. I don't know why. Maybe it's because there aren't any races or motorcycle races around the track apart from MotoGP, or is because the tarmac is so slippery itself, I don't know. But I would like to have a better tarmac, more safety, more logical I would say, riding, and maybe probably we will work on it in the Safety Commission.

DOVIZIOSO: I agree with Dani. And the bad point I think is we have three type of asphalt. I don't know, maybe 70 percent of the track is the worst of asphalt. So that is the problem. Like Dani say, the problem is when there is no, no space when you crash and you touch the wall, it is not like this. Sure, it is not one of the best track in our championship. Sure, I think have to change a little bit for the bump and the grip of the tarmac -- the asphalt.

MODERATOR: Anybody else?

ESPARGARO: I feel so good here. It's so funny for me. I like a slide with a motorbike. For me, driving tough conditions for me is better. I'm an aggressive rider, and when the track is more difficult for me is better. And I feel so good. Dani says that the track, the walls are safety, and about the asphalt, maybe it's not the better one, sure, and they change around the circuit. But I feel so fun, and I like it.

CORTESE: For me it's the same. I feel very good when I come back here, but I think generally a new asphalt would be good, just one on the complete track. Because changing so many times the asphalt you don't know really which part you have the limit. On some point you feel really well, then in some other corners again it's completely different. The only thing what I would about complain is they just make a complete new asphalt and for sure then it's much better.

Q: Dani, would you expect Casey, if he rides, to have a problem with that left side -- or that ankle? Would that be a problem?

PEDROSA: At the moment, I have no news about his ankle. I don't know how bad or how good. I mean, he's just having a check, I think. But, you know, if it would be tomorrow very painful, you know. Normally the ankle gets big, so it's hard to move and put the boot on. So we don't know. But Casey is a tough rider, so if he's tomorrow on the grid, I'm sure he will be fast.

Q: Question to Pol and Sandro. Do you have any program or plan for next year?

ESPARGARO: Good question. I don't know at the moment. I'm fully 100 percent in Moto2 because if you are thinking all things, all can complicate it more. Maybe we have something, but I think maybe the better position would be where I am in Moto2 because now the MotoGP world is a little bit complicated for the MotoGP officials, one, and some officials. And we are so good in Moto2, and I feel so fast and quick, so fit, maybe the best option is be where I am. But I don't know.

CORTESE: I have too much work at the moment just to look what the championship, how it's going on. So I concentrate 100 percent on that work at the moment. I think it's not too early, but there are some good possibilities where I can. But I think they can wait at the moment. It's more important to win the championship, if it's possible.

Q: Jorge, you improve a lot from yesterday. What is changed, the bike or something in the rider style?

LORENZO: Well, I always try to improve myself as riding. But obviously the change that we made on the bike, putting in maybe a little more weight on the rear changed completely the behavior of the bike, especially in entering the corner, so that makes me be much faster.

MODERATOR: Anybody else? No?

OK. We stand for the photograph, all of us, please, and then we can do the three pole sitters, that would be grand. Thank you all very much.

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