Thursday, 24 April 2008 14:54
MotoGP preview : -
Repsol Honda duo set for Chinese challenge.
Repsol Honda RC212V riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden travel to China aiming to build on the good work undertaken at the first three races of the 2008 MotoGP World Championship. Pedrosa, who holds equal first place in the points chase, will be aiming to repeat his 2006 Shanghai victory, his first success in the MotoGP class, to boost his 2008 title challenge.
Hayden has had a tougher start to the season but shows every sign of challenging up front. At Jerez he rode to a close fourth-place result and at Estoril he was chasing a podium finish when he slid off.
Shanghai was built to host its first Formula One car Grand Prix in 2005 and staged its first MotoGP event the same year. It is an unusual circuit, the layout inspired by the Chinese character ‘shang’, meaning ‘above’, which is the origin of the historic port’s name, Shanghai meaning ‘above the ocean’.
The track is most notable for featuring MotoGP’s longest and fastest straight (the back straight which measures 1.202km-0.747 miles) and its longest corner (the turn one/two right-hander which takes riders through 300 degrees). Pedrosa and Hayden enjoyed their best weekend at the track with a superb one-two finish at the 2006 Chinese GP.
“We have had quite a good start to the season – on the podium at each of the first three races and one victory – and we are working hard to stay very competitive. The tests we did at Estoril were useful, we worked on a few things that should help us in China, like improving front-end feeling and stability on the brakes. What I like the most about Shanghai is the width of the track. The surface is of good quality but a bit rough, probably due to the Formula One cars. The circuit layout isn’t that great, it features some very strange corners and the balance between the straights, the tight corners and the faster corners isn’t very good. One of the most important parts of the track is the back straight, which is very long, so you need good engine performance here. Braking is also very important at Shanghai. It’s an unusual track and you need to ride relaxed and easy. The atmosphere is almost non-existent because the crowd isn’t very big but the grandstands are huge.”
“It seems like we’re making progress, Honda’s working hard, the Michelin tyres are working good and I really enjoyed the bike at Estoril. We were up there all weekend, so we’ve just got to put the crash behind us and move on. Shanghai is a strange track, my favourite thing is the surface, seems like it’s always good and consistent. The track has got two big straightaways, the back straightaway is the highest top speed of the year and right after you’ve got one of the slowest corners in MotoGP, so it’s really important to be stable on the brakes, so we worked on that during our tests at Estoril. You also need something good on horsepower, something you can do some drafting with. Turn one/two is quite unique and technical, with a lot of different lines, either sweep wide or stay low. And the corner coming onto the back straightaway is super important because it sets you up for that sixth-gear run. The facilities are amazing, it’s probably the most over-the-top facility I’ve seen in my life, saying that, Indy is pretty spectacular too.”
SHANGHAI - TRACK DATA
Width: 14 m
Pole position: Left
Right corners: 7
Straight: 1202 m
MotoGP Race: 22 laps
Circuit record: Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 1’59”318 (2006)
Pole position: Rossi (Yamaha) 1’58”424 (2007)
2007 Results: 1st Stoner (Ducati) 2nd Rossi (Yamaha) 3rd Hopkins (Suzuki)
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