The MotoGP grid moves to Europe this weekend for the 2nd round of the championship in Jerez, Spain. Pre-race formalities got underway today at the circuit with the pre-race press conference.
First up to the microphone was the winner of the opening race, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner. Stoner has only been on the podium once at Jerez since 2009, and given his current form, the Australian will be hoping to add to that tally.
“It was good to get the first race done, and I think at this track we will get a clearer idea for the rest of the season,” said Stoner. “We've had the best possible start to the season, but I'm now very excited to start the European Grands Prix. Jerez is definitely a circuit I haven't gone too well at in the past, but there's always time to turn that around. It motivates me and I'm hopeful after this start (to the season). I am confident in the bike and want to continue getting good results and keep in touch with the Championship.”
Next up was last years race winner, Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. The current World Champion also has wins from the 250cc championship under his belt, but knows that all the experience in the world will count for nothing when the first practice session gets underway on Friday.
“I do have lots of experience at this track, but this is another Championship with different circumstances. I come here happy after Qatar but we'll see tomorrow how the bike is really working.” he said.
Despite improving his M1 over the testing period, and a good result in the first race, Lorenzo wants more. “Let's try to improve the bike. It can be improved a lot, and that's our goal. Everything is possible,” he continued, saying when he expects to receive some new updates. “I think at Estoril we could have something to try, but maybe it will be later, around the fifth or sixth race.”
After Sunday’s race, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa announced that he will be undergoing more surgery to help his recovery from his broken collar bone sustained in Motegi last year. “We finally found out what was wrong, and I'll have the operation on Monday or Tuesday. We'll do the best we possibly can to finally fix the problem with the doctors, and then try to recover as fully as possible before Estoril.”
Focusing on race ahead, Jerez is always a race that Pedrosa loves, always finishing inside the top two. “Jerez is always special. I won't think about this injury and will try to do the best possible. I've had good races here in the past, the crowd is always great with their support, and I hope for a good weekend and result.”
Valentino Rossi took the microphone next, and it is clear the most successful rider at Jerez, with 6 wins under his belt, is still having trouble overcoming his shoulder injury. “It's a difficult moment because we have different problems, the first is me and I need time to be at 100%, the second is the bike. I need to be in a better condition and to ride the Desmosedici in the best possible way. On the other side many of the other bikes, especially Honda, have taken a big step and we need to take that same step,” he said.
Rossi was then asked if his move from Yamaha to Ducati was proving to be the biggest challenge of his career, he answered “Yamaha was also a great challenge. Now I think it's a bit more difficult because the level is higher and also because of my condition. I need more time.I like this track, love the area of Andalucia, and there are always a lot of people here. Here we will try to improve on the Qatar result of seventh.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli was the final rider to speak to the press, and he was clear in his aims for the weekend. “The start to this season is completely different to that of last year. I was happy with the first race. I'm confident here, like the track, and on Sunday I hope to do well. The target will be to have a good race, stay close to the front and if possible take a podium,”