2010 MotoGP Aragon Thursday Insider

September 16, 2010
Scott Mathews
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There are few people worthy of getting an audience with Mathews but he makes himself available on occasion to the racers of the Grand Prix paddock. If they’re lucky, he might even mention their name. He’s Scott Mathews, and he’s bringing you the inside scoop on MotoGP.

Valentino Rossi: Im quite happy because we did a good job during todays practice  especially towards the end when we made a big improvement to the setting of the bike and I was able to make some faster lap times.
After making an amazing recovery to return to racing following a broken leg, Rossi is still not at 100% with a lingering shoulder injury causing a majority of the pain.

Valentino Rossi reckons he’s still not committed himself 100% to having surgery on his damaged right shoulder. Earlier this week the 31-year-old appeared to suggest he would definitely require an operation on the shoulder he seriously damaged in a motocross training accident back in April. The nine-time world champion has struggled to recover in the five months since and the shoulder injury is now causing him more difficulty than the broken leg he suffered in early June during practice at Mugello.

Rossi has serious tendon and cartilage damage in the shoulder but he was hoping to avoid an operation in the winter. Corrective surgery will mean a recovery period of two months but he said at the new Motorland Aragon track in Spain this afternoon that an operation would not badly hit his preparations for his first season with Ducati in 2011.

Rossi, who has not won a MotoGP race since the opening round in Qatar before he damaged the shoulder, said: “Unfortunately the situation of the shoulder is not very positive. One month ago we were very positive about not having to do the surgery. But unfortunately I have pain and after the race in Misano I spent two or three days in a lot, a lot of pain. Now I’m not in a hurry, because I have to do the next six races that will be the test to understand if I will do the surgery during the winter or not. I don’t want to do the surgery but if the pain remains I will do it. I hope not but maybe yes. I will decide after these six races.”

Rossi reckons he only has 40% strength in his injured shoulder.

Dani Pedrosa: Im very surprised to learn how many people follow MotoGP in Indonesia. They are very passionate and really knowledgeable about the championship. Its a nice country  the people are very friendly and everybody tells me that I should come again to visit Bali!
Pedrosa signs on with Big Red for another two years to team up with Casey Stoner, with a potential three-man squad as Andrea Dovizioso’s status is unclear.

Dani Pedrosa has penned a new two-year deal with Honda. The expected announcement finally arrived at the new Motorland Aragon track earlier today with the Spaniard signing for 2011 and 2012. Pedrosa has never raced for another manufacturer in his entire Grand Prix career and won 125 and 250GP titles for the Japanese factory. He is currently enjoying the best season of his career in MotoGP, with his victory tally that currently stands at four easily his best performance since he graduated to MotoGP in 2006.

Pedrosa currently trails bitter Spanish rival Jorge Lorenzo by 63 points going into Sunday’s Motorland Aragon clash and the 24-year-old said: “I’m really happy to be signing with Honda again. This has been the team of my dreams since I was a kid and that’s still the same feeling I have now. We’ve had a long and successful relationship already and we believe together we can have even more success in the future. Over many years we have built up a very strong relationship and have enjoyed the successes and faced the difficulties together. We are at a good moment now and we must try to continue in this way. Our goal of course is to fight for victories every weekend and win the MotoGP world championship. I believe we have what it takes to do both of those things.”

Andrea Dovizioso: Im really happy about this podium - its a great satisfaction. It was so important to begin the season with a good result and I hope this is just the start.
Dovizioso’s future appears secure according to his contract but with Repsol saying no to funding a third rider it leaves Honda in a tough position.

Tetsuo Suzuki. HRC President, said: “We are very pleased that Dani Pedrosa has re-signed to be a factory Honda rider, thus extending his longstanding and successful partnership with HRC. Dani is clearly at the peak of his powers and has gelled with the RC212V to create a formidable combination. We believe his relationship with the machine and the team will continue to grow and that he will mount an extremely strong challenge for the MotoGP world title over the next two seasons.”

Pedrosa is expected to partner 2007 world champion Casey Stoner next season, but today’s HRC statement made no reference of its final 2011 line-up. HRC is still to finalize details of its factory line-up as a contract dispute with Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso lingers on.

Dovizioso is adamant he will be a Repsol Honda factory rider in 2011 having invoked a clause in his contract at the end of July. If he was in the top five in the standings after Laguna Seca, then he automatically secured a contract. He duly obliged and that situation has created a major headache for Honda management.

Honda’s plan to run a three-rider factory squad was hit by a lack of investment, with Repsol unwilling to increase its budget to fund another RC212V machine. One factory insider has described the current situation inside Honda as ‘chaos’, with Dovizioso insisting he will not be sidelined into the Gresini squad or LCR satellite team.

Jorge Lorenzo spent most of his qualifying session further down in the standings  as he concentrated on perfecting his race set-up and gathering as much information as possible.
Lorenzo on his way to a MotoGP title. It’s hard to bet against the Spanish rider to not pick up his third home podium of the season.

Having won the last 11 MotoGP races between them, it is hard to back against home duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa from triumphing in this weekend’s inaugural Motorland Aragon race. Pedrosa arrives at the new circuit in red-hot form having won back-to-back races for the first time in his career in Indianapolis and Misano recently. That winning streak has seen him cut Fiat Yamaha rival Lorenzo’s lead in the title hunt to 63 points.

In both previous Spanish races in 2010 in Jerez and Catalunya, Pedrosa has finished second behind double 250GP world champion Lorenzo and he said: “In the last races we’ve won and I’m very happy with the results. I would like to keep winning like this but it’s very hard to beat these guys every race.”

Pedrosa has previous experience of the undulating Motorland Aragon circuit having tested a production Honda FireBlade at the new venue recently. He added: “It was impressive. The layout is not common and the track has some really nice corners. Also some corners that you cannot see the entry, so it’s going to be at some point tricky to find the brake points and the moment to start turning. Then we have the last section where it’s very fun with the straight and the last corner, so it’s going to be interesting to adapt to the new track.”

Lorenzo, who tested a Yamaha R1 at Motorland Aragon recently, has yet to finish off the podium in 2010 and remains a clear favorite for the title with such a commanding advantage with only six races remaining. His last win was in dominant fashion at Brno and the 23-year-old said: “Nobody said that this is going to be easy. If you want to win the championship you have to fight, you have to ride at the limit in every race. And you have to fight with real fighters who have a very high level. As difficult as it is, I am very motivated.”

Suzukis Alvaro Bautista rode with painkillers during Fridays practice at Le Mans and had had a time that was three seconds off Rossis pace.
GP rookie Bautista looks to challenge for a top-6 position at Aragon.

Alvaro Bautista believes he can challenge for top six finishes in the final part of the 2010 MotoGP world championship. The Spaniard has had a tough rookie campaign in the premier class but has finished eighth in the last two races in Indianapolis and Misano on board Suzuki’s factory GSV-R machine. The former 125GP world champion’s early season was blighted by a serious shoulder injury he picked up in May. But he hopes to challenge closer to the top six in the final third of the campaign as he tries to force his way into contention for a top ten overall position in the rankings.

Speaking ahead of the first ever Motorland Aragon race this weekend, Bautista said: “After the race in Misano I looked at my rhythm and it was not too bad and maybe I could have fought for sixth position. In this class it is very important in the first laps and also the start but in Misano I lost a lot of places when (Nicky) Hayden and (Loris) Capirossi crashed in front of me. Apart from that my pace was very good and Suzuki is improving the bike and working a lot, so I hope for the final few races we can continue to close the gap to the front group. It is very difficult when you move to this category but also the injuries at the beginning was a big problem for me. I lost some races but now I’m recovering the time lost. I feel confident for the next races and I feel like I can fight for sixth.”

After taking the second-fastest time in practice  Ducatis Casey Stoner was irritated over Loris Capirossi not moving off the racing line.
Stoner is continuing to experiment with the ideal settings to get the Australian rider back on top of the podium.

Casey Stoner has revealed that he will experiment with a radically different set-up on his factory Ducati machine in the first Motorland Aragon MotoGP this weekend. The 24-year-old hasn’t won a race for nearly a year since he triumphed in Sepang last October and has failed to find a confident feeling with the front-end of his factory GP10 machine throughout this season. Stoner said recently he would experiment with some ‘crazy’ settings in a bid to challenge Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa’s domination of the 2010 world championship.

“We’re changing quite a few things on the bike for this weekend,” said Stoner. “We’ve changed the geometry where the balance of the engine is. We’ve shortened the swingarm and lengthened the front to try and get it working. We’ve also changed the rider position. One bike will always be what I like and what I feel comfortable with. But with the other bike we’ll try something new to see what we can come up with.”

Stoner has a best result of second place in Laguna Seca back in late July and he is locked in a five-rider fight for third place overall in the rankings. He is currently nine-points behind Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso and the Australian confirmed he will continue to use a set of 2009 Ohlins front forks in Aragon this weekend having used next year’s 2011 spec forks at the last two races.

The 2007 world champion said: “We’ve had a look at this track and there seems to be quite a lot of bumps on the inside of the corners from the cars and there’s quite a few rippled. At speed they’ll feel a lot worse on the bumps so we’ll stick with the old forks because they are a little better for feeling on the bumps.”

Casey Stoner
Stoner takes to the Aragon track on a paddock scooter before the friday practice to get a feel for the new track.

Stoner got his first taste of the new Motorland Aragon track today when he completed laps on his paddock scooter. Giving his first impressions he said: “It looks a little bit slow to me but until we get out there tomorrow it is hard to tell. Riding around at scooter pace it looks fast and flowing but there are a lot of tight chicanes where you won’t be able to use all the track. There’s a lot of hard braking and I think for MotoGP it will be a bit stop and start. The track layout but in some places it doesn’t flow well with the hills that are here but in other places it does it extremely well. The riders I’ve spoken to who have been here have said it is okay but nobody has been raving about how great it is.”

Several riders including Lorenzo, Pedrosa and reigning world champion Valentino Rossi have tested at the track on a streetbike, but Stoner said he had never felt it necessary to familiarize himself with the track prior to today.

“I don’t think it is necessary. It doesn’t give you any advantage. You don’t get any set-up data. Superbikes are too far from what our bikes are. If you were on a factory superbike it maybe would be okay but a streetbike to the bike we ride is black and white. It might be better to ride a Moto2 bike than it would be on a standard streetbike.”

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