Press release previews from the MotoGP teams ahead of the final race of the season at Valencia:
Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 18: Valencia
Tuesday 1 November 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
The Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia plays host to the final round of the season on 6 November and the MotoGP community travels there to honour and pay tribute to the memory of Marco Simoncelli.
The traditional season finale is a tight and twisty affair that does not give the tyres much rest during a lap, so it is very important that teams get their bikes setup to use them most efficiently. With little chance during a lap to cool down, excess sliding can easily generate excess tyre temperature and accelerate tyre wear. With one of the longest total race distances of the year, the tyres have 420 corners to contend with during the 30 laps.
Despite this, warm-up performance is crucial in the cooler European climes. In past seasons the temperature has fluctuated significantly year-on-year, so the conditions will play an important role in riders' tyre compound choices. In preparation for the cold, Bridgestone have selected the soft and medium compound front slicks and the medium and hard rears, the same as used last year. The softer option rear also features the extra soft compound rubber in the lesser-used right shoulder to maximise warm-up performance opening laps.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"It is with heavy hearts that we travel to Valencia this week for the final round of the season, but that we continue racing is in itself a fitting tribute to Marco. He never gave up, so nor shall we. Marco will be with us all in our hearts and minds, and no doubt watching every step and at every corner, and I'm sure that the MotoGP family will honour Marco's colourful and vibrant life suitably and appropriately, remembering the good times we all shared with him."
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"Valencia is a slippery and technically complex circuit with a slow, twisty asymmetric layout. It's what we could call a busy circuit because the number and layout of corners means that the tyres are always working and have very little respite. If a bike's setup isn't optimised, it is easy to generate excess tyre temperature because of this, especially as softer compounds are generally required because of the cool ambient conditions.
"We will use the soft and medium front compounds but the front tyre must be strong to cope with the heavy braking loads into the first corner. With the low track temperature softer rear compounds are also required to provide good grip but a harder compound is needed in the left shoulder of the rear tyres because of the asymmetric layout and the tyre temperature generated by the long left-handed last corner. There are only a few tight right-handers so warm-up performance in the right shoulders is important, and this is why we are again using our extra soft compound in our softer option asymmetric rear tyres in Valencia."
Repsol Honda Team head to Valencia for emotional season finale
The Repsol Honda Team heads to Valencia for the last round of the MotoGP World Championship 2011 with mixed feelings. In one hand, sadness for the recent loss of Italian rider Marco Simoncelli, who passed away on October 23rd in a tragic accident at the Malaysian Grand Prix; and in the other hand, a desire to put on a good show as a tribute to Marco.
With Stoner already crowned World Champion and second place mathematically confirmed by Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa are involved in the fight for third place in the overall standings, being third and fourth respectively, with a narrow gap of only four points.
Dani has the best record at the Valencia circuit, with 5 victories (2 in MotoGP, 2 in 250cc, and 1 in 125cc) and 7 podium finishes in 9 participations, while Andrea's best results are second place on his Honda 125cc in 2004 and a fourth position in MotoGP in 2008. Casey has 2 wins (2008 in MotoGP, 2003 in 125cc) and 5 podium finishes.
The three Repsol Honda riders will all have a different motivation this weekend: Casey, will look to sign off the year of his second MotoGP World Championship with a victory, Dani, who has experienced a difficult season due to injury will want to finish in the top three in the MotoGP standings, as he always has done since 2007, and Andrea, who has enjoyed his most successful season in the top class, will want to leave Honda an a high note before taking on a new challenge in 2012 with Yamaha Tech 3.
CASEY STONER – World Championship Position: 1st with 325 points
"It will be difficult to return to racing this weekend after Marco's terrible accident in Sepang but I think it is the best thing we can do to honour him. We know we all play a risky game and, even if compared to the past the safety of our sport is much better, unfortunately these kind of events still occur. My thoughts go out to his family and I hope that they are coping through this period. The race this weekend is the final round of an incredible season for us, we worked hard all year and after clinching the title in Phillip Island we are starting to look to 2012. After the race here in Valencia we will have the two day test on the 1000cc machine and then we can take a well deserved break and reflect on the ups and downs of a very long hard season. We will go out there this weekend and try to put on a good show for all the fans and especially in memory of Marco".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World Championship Position: 3rd with 212 points
"I'm very sad for the loss of Marco. I'm going to Valencia not in the right frame of mind for a race. I will wear Marco's number 58 on the chest of my leathers, close to my heart, this is the only thing that counts. I have raced with Marco throughout my whole career, he was "the rival" and now that he is no longer with us, he has left a big void and I want to convert this feeling of emptiness to determination. I hope to get a good result at Valencia mainly because it is important for me to finish third in the Championship but I know the race will be difficult as it is not one of my favourite circuits and Dani is very strong there. Also, the GP of Valencia is my last race with Honda and I really would like to crown these ten years together with a good final race".
DANI PEDROSA – World Championship Position: 4th with 208 points
"Valencia will be a very special race for everybody. This weekend we will all have Marco in our thoughts and I hope the fans show their respect and appreciation to him, as the whole MotoGP family will do. Valencia is a track I like a lot and I'm looking forward to seeing all the fans there again. Last year I couldn't perform very well due to injury, but this time I hope to have a good race and finish the season in a good shape".
Valencia beckons for season finale
Publish Date: Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Rizla Suzuki and the MotoGP circus will re-group at Valencia in Spain this weekend for what promises to an emotional final race of 2011.
The whole paddock will be united in its grief as the teams all meet for the first time since the tragic accident that saw Marco Simoncelli lose his life during the Malaysian Grand Prix. Álvaro Bautista was battling with Simoncelli in the moments before the accident happened at Sepang and Suzuki's Spanish star is determined to put on a good show in honour of his late adversary. Bautista and the Suzuki GSV-R have shown continued potential over recent events and the pair looked like pushing for a podium place in the last race before the event was cancelled. The Rizla Suzuki team will be aiming to continue with impressive recent performances and hoping to end the season on a positive note.
The 4,005m Ricardo Tormo circuit near the village of Cheste, close to Valencia, is the traditional end of season venue for MotoGP. It is usually a huge event with big crowds filling the enormous grandstands that enclose the only stadium track on the calendar. The mix of many tight corners and the close proximity of the fans makes the circuit one of the most intense tracks that the riders visit. This weekend will obviously be overshadowed by recent events, but the unique Valencian crowd will undoubtedly show respect as well as making the race a celebration.
Rizla Suzuki takes to the track on Friday for the two of the three free practice sessions available to the riders; the third is on the following morning. Saturday afternoon will feature an hour of qualifying to determine grid positions for Sunday's 30-lap race, with the main event getting underway at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 6th November.
"I am really looking forward to going to the Valencia race. It has been a tough time for all of us since Sepang, but I am ready for the last race and the fact that it is in my home country always makes it a special occasion. I have done well in the last few races, and my Suzuki has felt great, but the results have not arrived so we need to put that right. My target for the weekend is to fight to the maximum, finish the race with a good result and dedicate it to Marco. We had so many huge battles together – I will use these memories positively in Valencia."
FINAL ROUND OF THE MOTOGP SEASON AT VALENCIA
The final round of the MotoGP world championship will take place this weekend in Valencia, following the tragic loss of Marco Simoncelli in Malaysia. It will be the last race of Loris Capirossi's career, as the premier-class veteran has decided to retire.
Fabiano Sterlacchini - Pramac Racing Technical Director
"Unfortunately, Valencia take on a new meaning after what happened in Malaysia. Anyway, we have to honor the last round of the season. The Valencia track isn't particularly technical, so it shouldn't be difficult to identify the right setup for the bike. It will be an unusual race for Loris, as it will be the last of his career. It was supposed to be a party, but no one will feel like celebrating anything."
Loris Capirossi - Pramac Racing Team
"It will be difficult to be in the paddock without Marco, as everyone will miss him. No one will feel like going on the track, but we have to do it for him and for all fans of motorcycle racing. It will be my finalrace, and I still don't know what will be going through my head, but I want to do it as well as possible."
Randy De Puniet - Pramac Racing Team
"I share Capirex's thoughts; it will be really difficult to race at Valencia without Marco, but part of our job is to continue on. I'll try my best to finish off the season with a good result."
HÉCTOR BARBERÁ READY FOR FINAL RACE OF THE 800cc ERA
Circuito Ricardo Tormo the location for final round of 2011 MotoGP World Championship and send off for the late Marco Simoncelli.
After the excursion to Asia and Australia, the MotoGP World Championship returns to Europe this weekend for the final round of the 2011 season. The paddock remains in mourning following a tragic accident which took the life of Marco Simoncelli in Sepang, and this atmosphere will continue as the series reaches Valencia. However, the teams and riders intend to celebrate the Italian's life with a fitting homage at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, where fans will be able to join in with the tributes to a rider taken away far too soon. The title has already been decided, but World Champion Casey Stoner and the rest of the MotoGP field will be wanting to provide the best send-off possible for Simoncelli with a spectacular premier class race.
It will be the final race of the 800cc era, and Héctor Barberá will be racing this year's Ducati for the last time. The MAPFRE Aspar rider is still recovering from a collarbone fracture and heavy rib bruising suffered in a crash at Motegi in Japan, but nothing could keep him away from a very special race for the Spaniard. The local hero has won in both the 125cc and 250cc class in Cheste, and wants to take a strong result this year in order to end the season in positive fashion -and to say goodbye to former quarter-litre class rival Simoncelli.
Héctor Barberá: "The Valencia Grand Prix is very special for me, and the Ricardo Tormo circuit has always been one of my most successful. I've won here in 125cc and 250cc, so it has been a happy hunting ground for me in the past. I'm normally able to go fast from day one, and I am really up for getting back on the bike. It is going to be a strange Grand Prix, because we will all still be very affected by the loss of Marco. I won't be in top shape, because I am really still in convalescence from the injuries to my collarbone and ribs and have spent a few days in bed with a fever. Being immobile and lying down has put a strain on my injuries, and I also haven't been able to undertake physiotherapy. Getting fit again is a question of time, and I will take an injection if necessary this weekend. It's going to be an exciting, emotional Grand Prix, but at the same time it's going to be tough."
Yamaha Prepare for Season Finale at Valencia with Mixed Emotions
It is with mixed emotions that Yamaha Factory Racing arrives in Valencia this weekend for the final Grand Prix of the 2011 season. MotoGP's tragic loss of rising star Marco Simoncelli in Sepang two weeks ago has left all with heavy hearts but determined to put on a good show in honour of their fallen competitor. The race is the last in Yamaha's 50th anniversary of Grand Prix racing so the team will wear the red and white YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition livery for the last time. 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo continues to recover from surgery to his hand following his injury sustained in Australia. As a result he will not participate in this weekend's Grand Prix and will be replaced by Japanese Yamaha test rider and All Japan Superbike competitor Katsuyuki Nakasuga.
Yamaha Factory rider Ben Spies arrives for the last race of season committed to racing although still recovering from injuries sustained in Phillip Island. The Texan was also recovering from injury for the 2010 season finale at Valencia. Despite the pain he impressed, qualifying sixth and finishing just off the podium in fourth.
"I can't believe I won't be battling Marco on the track this weekend, it's an incredibly sad way to finish the season. I'm going to honour him in the best way I know how, on the track. As with last year I arrive in Valencia recovering from injuries, but will of course give 100% of my efforts into performing to the best of my ability."
"It was a great honour to be chosen to ride for Jorge at Sepang and here at Valencia. Due to the tragic loss of Marco Simoncelli in Malaysia the race was cancelled. This weekend the track will be new for me but I will try as hard as I can to deliver good results."
"This is the last round of the season, looking to the condition of the Championship and riders, and more significantly the tragedy in Sepang it's good that we can now wrap it up. The feeling of the crew, like all those in the paddock has been affected deeply by what happened, we intend to honour Marco through our actions this weekend. Jorge continues to recover well from his surgery but unfortunately not quickly enough to ride to his potential this weekend. We look forward to having him with us on Saturday and Sunday to provide support for our replacement rider. The team are ready to give Nakasuga-san all the help he needs to get to grips with the Valencia circuit as quickly as possible."
"This is going to be a difficult and challenging weekend for many reasons. Everyone is affected by the sad passing of Marco Simoncelli. This last race of the season would usually be marked by a party to celebrate our year but this is not now in keeping with the mood and feeling of the team. As such we will wrap up with our yearly technical presentation and a quiet team dinner. We have Nakasuga-san with us having to learn the Valencia circuit for the first time, and Ben still not 100% after his crash in Australia. Despite this we will give our maximum effort to mark the final race of our 50th anniversary year and to honour the memory of Marco Simoncelli."
CURTAIN FALLS ON 2011 MOTOGP SEASON AT VALENCIA
The Ducati Team is headed for Valencia, where the 2011 MotoGP championship will conclude on Sunday. The weekend's usual track activities will be touched by the memory of Marco Simoncelli, whose absence will surely weigh heavily on the minds of the paddock regulars and fans. On the other hand, Marco was also emblematic of the great joy and love for this sport that we all share.
It is with this spirit that everyone on the Ducati Team will work as they do their best to prepare for this race on the small, twisty Spanish circuit, which will also host a two-day test on 8-9 October.
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
"The Valencia Grand Prix will have a different atmosphere than normal because we've been thinking about Marco since Malaysia. He'll be with us in Spain and beyond, but I think there will also be positive feelings in the paddock, because for Marco, racing equalled happiness, which is a concept that I understand very well. That being the case, we'll do what we always have and do our best to provide Vale and Nicky with what they need to have a nice race. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday we'll take part in the test, and we'll see the new-generation bikes together for the first time."
CAPIROSSI AND DE PUNIET IN VALENCIA WITH ABANDERADO
Day of work in preparation of the Grand Prix de la Comunitat Valenciana, scheduled this weekend at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, for the Pramac Racing Team riders Loris Capirossi and Randy De Puniet. The white and green duo attended to the press conference that officially inaugurated the new partnership between Abanderado, Spanish brand of underwear and undershirt, and the Pramac Racing Team.
The event, organized in the Corte Ingles shopping centre in the heart of Valencia, also saw the participation of Spanish rider champion Angel Nieto.
During this weekend of race the brand Abanderado will be positioned on the Randy De Puniet's bike.
Valencia poised for emotional season finale
An emotional weekend lies in store for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and the rest of the MotoGP paddock when the 2011 World Championship campaign concludes at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia on Sunday.
The French-based squad will join the close-knit MotoGP community in paying tribute to Marco Simoncelli after the immensely popular 24-year-old lost his life in a tragic accident during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang last month.
British rider Cal Crutchlow is determined to put on a good show in honour of the Italian rider as he looks to end his rookie MotoGP campaign on a high note.
Crutchlow still has plenty to race for on Sunday with the coveted Rookie of the Year prize up for grabs. He holds a one-point advantage over Karel Abraham and he is confident he can claim the prestigious title for the second successive season for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team after Ben Spies scooped the award in 2010.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team welcomes a new member to its ranks this weekend with double American Superbike champion Josh Hayes joining Crutchlow for the 30-lap Generali Grand Prix of the Comunitat of Valencia.
The 36-year-old has been drafted in by Tech 3 to replace Colin Edwards, who is recovering from left arm and shoulder injuries he sustained in the same accident that claimed the life of Simoncelli in Sepang.
Hayes has never raced at the 2.489 miles circuit before and this weekend gives him the first opportunity to experience Yamaha's prototype YZR-M1 MotoGP machine. Hayes is under no illusions about the difficult task he faces in adapting to the YZR-M1 and Bridgestone tyres but he is determined to enjoy the experience of testing himself against the world's elite riders in the last 800cc MotoGP race.
Edwards underwent successful surgery yesterday (Tuesday) at the University General Hospital in Houston to re-attach cartilage to his left humerus bone, which connects the shoulder to the elbow.
The four-week recovery period though prevented Edwards from participating in Valencia in what was scheduled to be his last appearance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team before he moves on to a fresh challenge in 2012.
Cal Crutchlow, 13th - 57 points:
"This weekend isn't going to be easy for anybody in the paddock after Marco's accident in Malaysia, but racing is the best way we can honour him and I'm sure that is definit ely what he would have wanted. MotoGP lost an amazing character and a phenomenally gifted rider and my thoughts and prayers are with Marco's family and friends. All of us will go out this weekend determined to put on a good show that Marco would be proud of. I also want to wish Colin a speedy recovery and I'm looking forward to seeing him back on track soon. Valencia was the first place I rode the Yamaha YZR-M1 a year ago and I've come on leaps and bounds since then, so hopefully I can finish the season on a high. The Rookie of the Year title is at stake and I'll be proud to win it after a close battle with Karel all season. I'm also looking forward to testing the new Yamaha 1000cc bike next week. The bike has been very impressive in Brno and Misano and I'm really excited to see what 2012 has in store."
"I would like to say a huge thanks to Yamaha US, GYTR, the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Team, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and Lin Jarvis from Yamaha Motor Racing for giving me this opportunity to race in Valencia. The circumstances leading to me being given this chance to ride the Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP machine are not how I would have chosen at all. My aim will be to represent Yamaha and Monster Energy in the best way I possibly can while trying to do Marco and Colin proud. Obviously I am facing a huge challenge having to learn a new circuit while also trying to the adapt to the bike and the Bridgestone tyres as quickly as I possibly can. I honestly don't have any expectations going into the weekend other than to enjoy myself and do a good job for Yamaha and Tech 3. I am certainly very excited to experience Yamaha's MotoGP bike for the first time and be part of the final race in the 800cc era."