“It was the only way to keep the championship open”
Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) rode a superbly determined 250cc race to win the Estoril GP and keep his World Championship hopes alive. His series rival Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) could do no better than
fifth here and Dovi now goes to Valencia next week with his title hopes firmly alive. Lorenzo has 276 points to Dovi's 263.
Roberto Locatelli (Aprilia) powered away from pole to lead into turn one with Lorenzo in pursuit, Hiroshi Aoyama (KTM) holding third and with Dovi fourth. But by lap two Dovi had disposed of Aoyama to begin hounding Lorenzo for second. It took one more lap, and as Dovi began eating into Locatelli's lead, Lorenzo was off the pace and dropping back.
Alex De Angelis (Aprilia) was now in the running by mid-race distance of this 26-lap contest and a front four of Dovi, Locatelli, Aoyama and De Angelis would now fight for the win while Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Racing Honda RS250RW) and Marco Simoncelli (Gilera) relegated Lorenzo to seventh.
The final laps were a master-class in race tactics from Dovi. He led into turn one on the final lap, using his Honda's superb stability under braking, and then rode defensively while De Angelis and Aoyama fought for second. Dovi got superb drive out of the final turn to cross the line just one hundredth of a second ahead of Aoyama in second and De Angelis third.
Lorenzo eventually finished fifth ahead of Takahashi in sixth, while Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) retired with machine trouble with 11 laps remaining. Aprilia leads the Constructors' World Championship by 332 points to Honda's 280 points.
250cc HONDA RIDERS QUOTES:
Andrea Dovizioso (Humangest Honda - 1st): “All the races are difficult, but this time has been particularly tough because I suffered a problem at the visor of the helmet. It kept getting foggy despite I prepared it for wet conditions. So, I wasn't sure I could win here also because at the beginning Locatelli pushed very hard and I struggled a bit to catch him. It has been a very strange race; I actually knew I could be competitive but I didn't expect to have such a good rhythm. I tried everything to win today because it was the only way to keep the championship open and in the last lap I pushed hard even though I wasn't sure it was the final one. Now we go in Valencia and see what happens: he still has a good margin to manage, but I don't have anything to loose. Maybe Lorenzo could feel the pressure like here.”
Yuki Takahashi (Humangest Honda - 6th): “I didn't start very well and I passed some riders but not as many as I expected. Then, I was able to lap with such a good rhythm that I even passed Lorenzo, but then the tyre start to slide and I had to slow down. At three laps to go, though, I made a big mistake and Lorenzo passed me and I couldn't recover anymore.”
Aleix Espargaro (Wurth Honda BQR - 13th): “My start was not so bad and I was up with the front group and I had a good rhythm but very quickly the bike started to slide and I could not understand why. Slowly the problem got worse and the slides bigger I had to drop back. After the race I discovered that the rear tyre had been leaking air on the rim. I finished 13th but when you start from eighth lace on the grid you expect more. I am very disappointed but what could I do but try and take as many points as possible.”
David de Gea (replacement rider for martin Cardenas, Repsol Honda - 14th): “I'm happy. It was important to finish the race today, although I was hoping to finish somewhat more in the front despite starting from the back. I had trouble getting the pace because he bike went as well in the beginning as in the end and I only managed to do well towards the end. This means that I'm lacking experience with this bike and that I still need to find the pace. But, well, I have finished the race which was out aim for today, as well as getting experience on this bike, and now I know it much better. I have one more race of experience for Valencia as well as the feeling during the 27 laps of the race which will be very important for the next race. I hope to be able to do better in Valencia, both in the practices and in the race.”
Fabrizio Perren (Stop and Go Racing - 17th): “I got a good start and made up a few positions. I was racing with De Gea and comfortable Then after half race distance I felt something in the engine and the noise was strange so I eased off the gas. I didn't want to risk too much because of the feeling I was getting from the bike. When I got back to the pits at the end of the race we found one tooth missing from third gear so I was lucky not to crash. When the front tyre started to slide I just took 17th place.”
Arturo Tizon (Wurth Honda BQR - 20th): “I have not felt comfortable on the bike all weekend and it is a painful experience to be so far behind in a race. In the race I did not get a very fast start and made little progress. I was alone towards the end of the race no one to follow. Now we go to Valencia and I have to find my rhythm on Friday and keep going that way all weekend.”
Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda - dnf - technical problem): “I made a quite god start, and the first part of the race was good as well. Then I made a little mistake that made me loose some time but I was able to recover positions. And then the engine broke down at the end of the straight, when I was going into the first corner. Just when I was braking before the corner I noticed the rear tyre sliding and then the engine was gone. I'm very disappointed.”
Press Release HRC