The penultimate round of the 2010 MotoGP season kicks off this weekend at Estoril. Jorge Lorenzo has already secured the MotoGP championship, but there are plenty of other riders fighting for the remaining spots on the podium.
Dani Pedrosa was sitting comfortably in second place, but an injury that forced him to sit out the last three rounds has put his position in jeopardy. Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi, and Pedrosa’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, all have a shot at second place.
Stoner is the biggest threat right now. Stoner trails Pedrosa by just 13 points, and is currently the hottest rider in the MotoGP paddock. Stoner is riding his best races of the season, and has taken victories at the last three MotoGP races.
“I was fast there last year,” said Stoner. “But Jorge was a little faster. He is very strong at this circuit and I think we can expect him to be so again on Sunday.”
And Lorenzo will be tough to beat. Not only does Lorenzo have the confidence of being the 2010 MotoGP champ, but he also has an impressive record at Estoril. Lorenzo has earned two race wins at Estoril, both from the pole position.
“We now have the last two races in a row, and they are two very special races,” Lorenzo said. “The first one is Estoril, where I've had some of my best moments in MotoGP in the last two seasons. I had never won there before in 125 or 250, but since 2008 I have had two victories. It's the only place where I've won twice in this category!”
Lorenzo’s record at Estoril is impressive, but it doesn’t hold a candle to his teammate, Valentino Rossi’s record. Rossi has won 5 times at the Estoril circuit. He’s also finished on the podium 9 out of the 10 times he’s raced there. The only time he missed the podium he finished fourth. Rossi is also coming off of three podium finishes, including one race win, and is looking to end his season, and career with Yamaha, on a positive note.
“The flyaways were very good for us, three podiums including one win - we were happy with how much we had improved the bike and also the level of my shoulder,” Rossi said. “Now we return to Europe and I feel very strongly that I want to enjoy these final two races and try to win again. Estoril was not a good track for me last year, we had some problems and I couldn't make it onto the podium so we will be trying to change that this year. After Phillip Island we hope the weather will be a bit warmer, but Estoril can change very quickly so it could be a factor again."
Andrea Dovizioso has an outside chance at second place, but is still in strong contention for the final spot on the podium.