Estoril Moto GP: The PUMA Perspective

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Following a three-week break brought about by the postponement of the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, MotoGP returns to action this weekend with the 28-lap Grande Prémio de Portugal at the 4.182 km Estoril circuit.

The undulating circuit, whose layout resembles the Circuit de Catalunya, is named after the coastal resort situated seven kilometres away on Portugal’s south-western coast. This proximity to the Atlantic Ocean gives rise to unpredictable cross winds and stormy weather, which add further to the challenge of competing here.

Despite having the lowest average speed of the Moto GP tracks, the circuit includes ultra-fast sectors, including one of the longest straights of the year and Turn 5, whic is taken at approximately 200 km/h (124 mph).

Rain is forecast for all three days, although the likelihood diminishes as the weekend progresses, so the chances are strong wet rubber will be required during the preliminary runs, with full dry tyres  bolted on for the 28 lap race which starts at 13 00 local time.

Spain’s reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo, riding for Yamaha, leads the title chase after following up his second place in Qatar’s season opener with a win in the streaming Jerez round, so starts as favourite, particularly after winning here last year. But, this venue is considered one of the most unpredictable on the calendar, making foregone until the results are confirmed.

Dani Pedrosa is second on the log, but the Spaniard doubts his own fitness after undergoing an operation to a broken shoulder, but the Honda rider can never be discounted. Neither can third-placed man and team-mate Casey Stoner, who took the title for Ducati in 2007.

PUMA’s partner team Ducati heads to Estoril on the back of a comprehensive test session at Mugello, Italy, during which riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden put heavily reworked versions of the Desmosedici GP11 through their paces while simultaneously testing developments for the 2012 Ducati
MotoGP bike - built around the 1000cc engine regulations which kick in next year.