News 2 Sep 2011

MotoGP riders speak out as Misano gets five-year contract extension

Rossi, Perdrosa, Stoner, Spies and Capirossi were all on hand at the San Marino press conference.

Rossi, Pedrosa, Stoner, Spies and Capirossi were all on hand at the San Marino press conference on Thursday.

Thursday proved to be a busy day at the Misano World Circuit as preparations for the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini took shape.

Early in the day a renewal of the contract currently held between the circuit and Championship organisers Dorna Sports was announced until at least 2016, as San Marino Secretary of State for Tourism and Sport, Fabio Berardi, and Dorna Sports CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, attended a special press conference.

Commenting on the deal Mr Ezpeleta said: “It is a pleasure to be here to renew the contract with the Misano World Circuit, to continue working with the Republic of San Marino, Riviera di Rimini and Santamonica S.p.a. and to be able to sign a deal in an economic period such as this. We are highly satisfied with our relationship and we first started to speak about a renewal last year. The San Marino Grand Prix is a very important one for us and I am certain it will continue to get better and better with every year.”

Following that Championship leader Casey Stoner, who holds a 44-point lead at the top of the standings, was joined by Dani Pedrosa, Ben Spies, Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi in the pre-event press conference.

The Repsol Honda rider will be going for a fourth consecutive win this weekend having taken victory at Laguna Seca, Brno and most recently Indianapolis and despite his advantage at the top of the standings is taking nothing for granted.

“So far things are going well but we’ve had a fair lead taken down a bit in the Championship before, and we had to grow it back again,” said Stoner.

“There are still quite a few races to go and we need to make sure we stay as competitive as we can.”

“I hope to be able to fight for the win here and if not minimise the damage to the points. I think it’ll be another hot weekend here, and we’ll have to see how the track conditions and the tyres are,” Stoner continued.

Stoner’s team mate Pedrosa made it a Repsol Honda one two at Indianapolis and the Spaniard, who won here last year, is targeting a better lead into the race having started from the second row last weekend.

“I hope here we can have a better qualifying,” said Pedrosa.

“Of course if it’s warm again it’ll be harder, also with the jetlag, but it’s the same for everybody and hopefully we are fit enough to perform at our best.”

Pedrosa is also aiming for a strong final run in the campaign as it enters its final third.

“In the Championship I’m really far down but I hope I can have some good races before the end of the season. I hope I can get some wins and podiums and have a good end,” Pedrosa added.

This weekend will see plenty of focus fall on Rossi with the Misano circuit so close to the Italian’s hometown. It will also have the added significance of the nine-time World Champion racing for the first time here on the Ducati.

“For me, Ducati and the fans this is important,” he said.

“A lot of people will try to fight with us, but unfortunately this year we’ve been unable to give the right results. We have to try, not just for us but all the people here. It’s a difficult season and we come from a bad race last week, but we’ll have great support from the fans.”

Spies comes into Round 13 full of confidence after his podium finish in his home race where, despite a mistake on the opening lap which cost him many positions, he managed to finish third having run a good race pace.

“This is a track I like and it’s a special atmosphere,” said the Yamaha Factory Racing rider.

“It was a good race for us in Indy, I made a mistake at the start but we had good speed and it’s a confidence booster. I just need to take that to this weekend and have fun again. Hopefully we have the same feeling with the bike as we did at Indy and we can challenge at the front throughout the weekend.”

Last to speak was Capirossi who announced that after a long and illustrious career in the World Championship, which has delivered three titles, 29 Grand Prix wins and 99 podiums, he will retire at the end of the current campaign.

“It’s difficult for me to say this because after 22 seasons this will be my last race in Italy as I have decided to stop,” said an emotional Capirossi, who received a standing ovation from the media present.

“I have thought a lot about stopping and I think this is the right decision for me.”