Round 3 Preview - Portugal 4-6 May 2012
Moto3 - 23 laps
Moto2 - 26 laps
MotoGP - 28 laps
125cc - Gabor TALMACSI, Aprilia (2007) 1:45.027 = 143.345km/h
Moto2 - Andrea IANNONE, Suter (2011) 1:42.026 = 147.562km/h
MotoGP - Dani PEDROSA, Honda (2009) 1:36.937 = 155.309km/h
2011 - Nicolas TEROL, Aprilia
2010 - Marc MARQUEZ, Derbi
2009 - Pol ESPARGARO, Derbi
2008 - Simone CORSI, Aprilia
2007 - Hector FAUBEL, Aprilia
2011 - Stefan BRADL, Kalex
2010 - Stefan BRADL, Suter
2009 - Marco SIMONCHELLI, Gilera
2008 - Alvaro BAUTISTA, Aprilia
2007 - Alvaro BAUTISTA, Aprilia
2011 - Dani PEDROSA, Honda
2010 - Jorge LORENZO, Yamaha
2009 - Jorge LORENZO, Yamaha
2008 - Jorge LORENZO, Yamaha
2007 - Valentino ROSSI, Yamaha
MOTOGP: Last hurrah for Estoril
Estoril enjoyed high standing as a Formula 1 venue in the Eighties and Nineties before it became a MotoGP venue in 2000 – the Portuguese round of the World Championship had previously been staged twice in Spain! This season’s is the last World Championship round scheduled for the circuit near the Atlantic seaboard north of Lisbon.
Bridgestone will offer the riders an asymmetric rear tyre as Estoril has a notoriously difficult blend of left- and right-hand corners, heavy braking and long straights which makes the bike hard to set up. The left side of the tyre suffers less than the right, which comes under particular stress on the long right-hand Turn 13 known as the Parabolica.
It’s unique in at least one respect: Estoril is the only venue on the current calendar where Casey Stoner has yet to record a victory in the senior class. The Aussie Honda ace is still not happy with his arm pump problem, but on the plus side, his Jerez success, the 41st of his Grand Prix career, elevated him into the top 10 race-winners of all time.
In contrast to Stoner, Yamaha’s table-topping Jorge Lorenzo has a stellar senior class record in Portugal. He claimed three victories in a row from pole position in 2008-09-10, the first of those being his maiden victory in the premier class. Lorenzo turns 25 at the start of the Estoril weekend.
Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa (below) needs just one more podium finish to reach the 100 mark in his own GP career, and that’s a milestone only six riders have ever passed. Top of the list is Valentino Rossi, the only other current rider to figure. Pedrosa is the Estoril lap record-holder and also won the race last season.
Rossi has five Estoril wins on his remarkable record, but none since 2005, although he is making some more positive noises despite his difficult start on the 2012 Ducati. For Yamaha, Ben Spies needs a decent finish to kick-start his season, but two previous crashes at this circuit don’t bode well. And watch out once more for Cal Crutchlow: the Yamaha privateer set fastest race lap in Jerez last time out – the first British rider to achieve that feat since the late, great Barry Sheene way back in 1984. His first MotoGP podium is coming…
Moto2: can Tom make it a three-horse race?
Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro are the men leading the way in the Moto2 class this year – Espargaro comes to the second Iberian round after taking his maiden win at Jerez last time out, and he already has as many podium finishes to his name this season as he had in the whole of 2011.
Marquez has finished first and second so far, but keep an eye on Tom Lüthi: the Suter star is third at the moment but has been knocking at the door, while Scott Redding is the other man on the rise. And forgotten man Alex de Angelis is set to make his 200th Grand Prix start in a career that stretches way back to 2000.
Moto3: all eyes lead to Romano
Not since Noburu Ueda in 1991 has a rider stood on the podium at his first two World Championship races, but Romano Fenati has been the star of 2012 with second place in Qatar and victory in Spain. The man in the plain white helmet is the youngest rider ever to lead the standings – he was just 16 years and 105 days old when he took the flag at Jerez.
Our headline is slightly misleading: some local eyes will certainly be on Miguel Oliveira, the Estrella Galicia youngster who is Portugal’s sole representative. A top-five finisher in Qatar, Oliveira actually led the Jerez round before crashing out in the treacherous conditions. We wait to see how falls there have affected the race fitness of Aussies Jack Miller and Arthur Sissis.