Sep 27, 2012
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(From left): Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista. Photo courtesy of www.motogp.com
As the MotoGP™ grid descended on Spain once more for the 14th round of the world championship at the Gran Premio Iveco de AragÃ³n, Yamaha Factory Racing's championship leader Jorge Lorenzo was joined by Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi and Ãlvaro Bautista at the Thursday press-conference kicking off the event.
Lorenzo, who is currently 38-points ahead of Repsol Honda Team's Pedrosa, is cautious not to get carried away and highlighted that racing is not just about points: "There are five more races until the end and 125 points to take, and yes, the situation is much better than before Misano. But there is still a lot of pressure, so we have to be concentrated in every practice and every session. For me it's not very comfortable [thinking about points]; I don't like to think about the points and mathematics. I like to go fast."
The Spaniard, who undertook a private test at AragÃ³n before the Misano round with Yamaha along with the Repsol Honda team, said that it was important to gain further information on the track: "It's quite new [the circuit], so we don't have a lot of information like we do at other tracks. [The test] was a big help, for getting the right setting for the bike."
Pedrosa, who's race in Misano was cut short due to being taken out in the first set of corners is keen to put those thoughts behind him, and, like Lorenzo, does not want to dwell on points alone: "The past is in the past. If you stick in the past, you can't move forward. I'm trying to keep focussed on every session, every lap. We hope the bike is working well. I like to enjoy my riding, but obviously the championship is there. It is not such a good feeling when you only think about the points."
Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Crutchlow is also looking to put his Misano weekend behind him, and get back to the good run of form that saw him take the podium in Brno: "I don't think Misano could have gone any worse. The next race will be crucial. If I do well here we'll head into the next races [triple header] with confidence. We're trying to take positives from the last race." And speaking about the AragÃ³n track, the British rider said: "It seems a difficult circuit for me, I don't know why. I could have done with a test here, but we were unable to come [when the Yamaha and Honda factories tested here]."
Ducati Team's Rossi, fresh from his second place finish in Misano, is keen to verify the team's progress once he heads out on track: "It is a big test for us this weekend to understand our level a bit better. We have to see here, and in the next four races, if it was a step forward. I like this track, but it's difficult to go fast. I need to improve my line and my style." With regards to the post-Misano test he carried out with the team the Italian commented: "We found something that I didn't like, but also something that is better."
San Carlo Honda Gresini's Ãlvaro Bautista, who scored his first ever podium in the last race, would welcome a continuation of this form, and will test some parts in practice to help him achieve this: "For sure it's a big test. But the weather forecast is not the best to test our new Showa parts. I will again try and stay in the fight for the podium. In the past I did two good races here, but I'm on a new bike with new suspension now." Much speculation has surrounded the Spaniard's future with the team next season, to which he said: "At the moment I can't say anything about next year. Nothing is clear."
Earlier in the day, Spanish Dakar truck driver Pep Vila gave some of the riders a somewhat different racing experience at the AragÃ³n track, as he took them around the track's AutoCross Circuit in his Petronas De Rooy Iveco Trakker race truck. Crutchlow, Interwetten-Paddock's Tom LÃ¼thi, Blusens Avintia's Maverick ViÃ±ales, RW Racing GP's Luis Salom and Team Italia FMI's Romano Fenati were each strapped into the race-ready passenger seat before Vila commenced the 900hp fuelled off-road ride. A couple of laps a piece proved enough as the truck was sliding around corners and tackling the track with ease with Fenati being the only one who was treated to the truck briefly going up on two wheels on its side.
Vila is himself a ten times Dakar veteran, boasting nine finishes and a best finish of sixth, only once being robbed of fourth due to a technical fault. His Iveco Trakker, part of the five vehicle-strong Dutch De Rooy team, features a 13-litre diesel engine putting out 900hp to propel the ten tonne machine. It has a top speed of 205km/h, yet Vila explained that this is limited to 150km/h during the rally. The team's owner, Gerard de Rooy, took victory in last year's Dakar, with other Dutch teammate Hans Stacey coming in second.