bwin Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, Brno: Pre-event press conference
The MotoGP™ pre-race Thursday press conference saw Repsol Honda Team’s championship leading rookie Marc Marquez joined by Yamaha Factory Racing duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, as well as Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Moto3™ leader Luis Salom, as they get set for the second race in successive weekends.
Marquez, despite his current form, does not believe he is the favourite for this weekend: “It’s an important moment of the season. It looks like Yamaha will be strong here because they have already done a test, especially Jorge looking strong; but we will see and try to do our best here and beat them. Every race will be close, with everybody fighting to be in front. We will see. At the remaining races the championship is quite close with many, many points left – still nearly half a season in front of us.”
Lorenzo on the other hand, despite having tested at this track during the summer with his teammate, is adamant that the Hondas remain the bikes to beat, and that he needs to get back to winning ways as soon as possible: ““It’s not so simple. I don’t think we’re the favourites at any race at the moment, but I do think this track will be good for my riding and the Yamaha…We didn’t crash at Indianapolis and got a podium after some weeks without it. Now, if we want to win this world title, we have to win as soon as possible. At the moment it’s not so simple, but we’re going to try.”
Rossi is hoping to start the weekend significantly better than he did at Indy, and spoke about his memories at the track where he took his first ever win in 1996: “We have to do better by being stronger in practice, starting further in front and being better in the race. On paper this track is good for the M1, but right now Honda – especially Marc – is very strong so we have to do a great job to stay with them.
“It’s a long, long time! But I’m very proud to still be here and to have stayed at the top. It was a moment I will never forget, because in a career of a rider, your first World Championship victory and your first pole is always fantastic. I like this track a lot.”
Hayden, who missed Brno through injury last year, believes that this race could suit them better than Indianapolis, and was not yet able to clarify the rumours surrounding his future: “I didn’t come to Brno last year, so I hope on paper we can be a bit more competitive with less bumps and longer straights – but I’m sure everybody thinks the same! Brno is a track I really love and I think everybody does. Let’s hope we can be more competitive than last week.
“I really can’t (tell you anything). It’s not just me, I really don’t know yet, but it does look exciting because a month ago I didn’t have this many options – some that are really quite exciting that got me looking forward to the future. These next few weeks are a crutch time, I would say, to make some choices, but I’m looking forward to making some decisions and see what is left.”
Abraham is still recovering from his big crash last weekend, and is hoping he can do well in front of his home crowd: “We tried to push at Indy but had some technical problems which basically kicked me off the seat. My left shoulder is almost dislocated and now really hurts. We have already made our decision. I definitely want to race on Sunday. We’re working really hard, physio on shoulder every day. It will probably be necessary to get some anaesthetic on the shoulder – don’t really want to – but it’s necessary.” He also confirmed that the team is in talks about buying Honda’s “production racer” for next year, yet said that nothing had been signed at this time.
Salom, another one to injure himself during Indianapolis, will be gritting his teeth this weekend to keep his lead in the championship: “I had an injection before the race but sometimes couldn’t feel my foot and for that reason kept putting the bike into neutral. Last night I went to hospital again, who did an x-ray and revealed the foot was broken. I don’t have so much pain now, so I’ll try to be back okay again. Yes, they are looking at Monday [to operate] but I really don’t know. We need to try tomorrow and see how it is after, but I hope not to have so much pain, to be able to go really fast, and not think so much about the foot.”