On the eve of the last MotoGP race weekend at Donington Park some typical occasional showers at the Midlands track provided uncertainty over the weather for the next three days of on-track action at the British Grand Prix.
Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Toni Elías, Marco Melandri and James Toseland attended the official pre-event press conference, to talk over their expectations for the race ahead. Of the quintet only Elías has not lived in the British Isles, and there is strong motivation for everyone involved to take a win this weekend.
World Champion and current standings leader Rossi, who has won at Donington seven times in all three classes including five victories in the premier class (in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005), noted the great support he receives from fans in the UK.
The Italian commented, “I lived in London for seven years; during a period when there have not been so many British riders in the premier class I have won a lot of fans here. They are very passionate about motorcycles in this country and if we can deal with the famous English weather we hope to have a good weekend here.”
Victor of the past two races at the track, Stoner reiterated his desire to get back to winning ways, whilst Toseland expressed his hopes of a better outcome than last year’s opening corner crash.
Toseland had previously been joined by 125cc youngsters Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Danny Webb in London on Wednesday and, although all four riders’ school days are behind them, they headed to the library for a special press conference and photo session.
The British Library near Euston Station hosted the home foursome, as well as former London resident Jorge Lorenzo and ex-MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden.
Rounding off the customary pre-event schedule at Donington Park, the annual Day of Champions ride in, auction and concert gave fans the opportunity for early enjoyment whilst at the same time raising money for official MotoGP charity, Riders for Health. The auction –attended by the top riders in the premier class giving up their time and personal memorabilia in order to help the worthy cause- always brings in huge funds, and this year should be no different.
Practice for the British Grand Prix begins on Friday at 12.40pm for the 125cc riders, 1.55pm for the MotoGP class and 3.10pm for the 250cc category.