Estoril : Konica Minolta Honda - Preview
After the race results of the long extra European tour, the Portuguese GP still arouses a great interest for the challenge, not yet solved, for the Premier Class World Title.
The circuit of Estoril, situated 28 Km far from
Lisbon and close the Atlantic coast, was built in 1972 but only in 1984, after some modifications, could host the first Formula 1 GP. Since 2000, after a major renovation, it has been used for the Grand Prix of Portugal of the MotoGP World Championship.
The Portuguese track alternates from medium-slow to absolutely fast parts, as the super- fast final straight, making the circuit selective for riders and bikes. The weather conditions are unpredictable due to the closeness of the Atlantic coast; the zone is characterized by sudden atmospheric changes and remarkable temperature ranges.
In Portugal, Makoto Tamada obtained his best result in 2004 when he finished the race in second position after having started from the Pole Position and set the race fastest lap. Last season, instead, things went differently: at the beginning of the qualifying session, Makoto fall and suffered a right hand fracture; the accident obliged him to miss the three following GPs.
Gianluca Montiron – Konica Minolta Honda General Director: "The results obtained in the three extra European Grand Prix were not as we expected. Just a few times, we could attract the attention, especially during the first practice sessions on Fridays. There are only two races remaining till the end of the season and Makoto, in the recent past, could be protagonist and gave us big emotions in Portugal and Valencia as well. Therefore, we will make our best to give our rider the trust he needs to make the best use of the technical package potential we have."
Makoto Tamada: "I like the Estoril track. Here, in 2004, I set the Pole Position and ended up the race in second position.
These moments are still alive in my mind; I hope to find the solution for the problems I'm facing since a long time and to be competitive again. I also hope for a good weather in order to start working immediately on the bike setting for the race."
Giulio Bernardelle – Konica Minolta Honda Technical Director: "Estoril is an “old style” track full of rhythm changes and quite selective for riders and bikes. The long descent straight is one of the faster in the World Championship and, probably, it could result the fastest if, at the end, the riders would not have to strongly brake to enter a not too wide second gear corner. Apart from this, the MotoGP bikes reach approximately 330km/h. From the straight end a medium-slow part of the track starts. This part is characterized by a series of three corners to be approached in first and second gear. Then, there is another fast part with the back straight, split by a super fast fourth gear corner the riders approach at 230 km/h. The final part is perhaps the most beautiful because it presents the long corners to be ridden in acceleration. Here, there is the slower corner of the entire season: it is the entrance of an uphill “S” the MotoGP cover at 60 km/h."
Konica Minolta Honda