Archive - Interview
August 2nd, 2011
The Repsol Media Service continue to bombard the press with press-release interviews with their riders. This time, Repsol spoke to Dani Pedrosa about how his season has gone so far, and how he is recovering from injury.
Below is the press release interview with Pedrosa:
"I want to be on top form to be able to confront my rivals"
The Repsol rider takes advantage of the summer break to recover physically and confront the last eight Grand Prix of the season in the best form
The Le Mans crash, which prevented him to take points in four races, did not reduce Dani Pedrosa's confidence, and he came back to the championship more eager than ever. The Repsol Honda Team rider already has two victories and three podium —two of them consecutive in the last two races—, with still half of the season to be held. Pedrosa is confident to achieve a good form, before the next round in Brno, in order to increase the number of wins to his name.
Laguna Seca is always the halfway point of the season and the start of the short summer break. Will you be able to switch off? What are your plans?
One of the more interesting side entertainments at last weekend's Laguna Seca MotoGP round was the return of King Kenny Roberts, who did a couple of demonstration laps on both his 1980 YZR500 and on a specially prepared Yamaha YZF-M1 MotoGP bike. After the ride, he spoke to a small group of (mainly Italian) journalists about the experience of riding the two bikes, and the comparison between the two. Fortunately, the select group of journalists included Jensen Beeler, editor of the excellent motorcycle website Asphalt & Rubber, and Jensen was gracious enough to share the audio of Kenny Roberts talking about the bikes with MotoMatters.com.
Roberts' comments offer a fascinating insight into the difference between the bikes from 30 years ago and the bikes of today, and the difficulties that each bike presents. Back in the late seventies and early eighties, Roberts suggested, you could compensate for a failure in bike setup by over-riding the bike, pushing it to do things it didn't want to do and sliding the bike to compensate. Modern MotoGP machines - exacerbated by electronics and the Bridgestone tires - will go about as fast as physics allowed. The old 500cc two strokes would allow room for creativity, but the modern bikes reward only one thing: complete precision. Where previously, running wide at a corner could be compensated, now, the difference between success and failure is hitting your lines to within a few centimeters. Over-riding a modern MotoGP machine will get you precisely nowhere, and is likely to either make you radically slower or leave you rolling through the gravel traps.
Back in the spring of 2010, I was asked by Chris Jonnum, editor of the late and very much lamented motorcycle racing monthly Road Racer X to do a story on the bikes that won the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca throughout the years. The story meant I got to talk to a lot of people about a single subject, and turned up some fascinating material. One of the most interesting interviews I did was with Valentino Rossi's veteran crew chief, Jeremy Burgess about the race that Rossi won at Laguna Seca in 2008, when he beat Casey Stoner in one of the most thrilling races of recent history.
Burgess spoke to me prior to the 2010 French MotoGP round at Le Mans, while Rossi and Burgess were still with the factory Yamaha team, and talked about their strategy in taking on and beating Casey Stoner and the Ducati, what it takes to win at Laguna Seca, and the difference between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. Here's the interview:
MotoMatters: How did the victory at Laguna Seca in 2008 come about?
Jeremy Burgess: I'd have to say it was a pivotal point in the championship to make a statement with Casey. The bike certainly wasn't faster than Casey's bike, but with Laguna being such a unique track, where the straight has a corner on it, a long corner. So it was more of a tactical race than a bike performance race. It was a case of making sure that we were in front of Casey.
The Honda PR machine continues to work overtime, producing yet another interview, this time with MotoGP championship leader Casey Stoner. Once again, they have excelled themselves, producing a frank and interesting interview that does not sound like it has been through the corporate sanitization process that so many team press releases seem to generate. In it, Stoner talks about the development of the 1000cc 2012 Honda MotoGP machine, how the 1000s might change the racing next year, and how he works with his pit crew to find a setup. An interesting read.
Below is the Honda press release:
CASEY STONER INTERVIEW
Casey Stoner is the most successful rider of the 800cc era. Since the 800cc motors were introduced at Qatar in 2007, where Stoner celebrated his first premier class victory, through last weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, Stoner had won 27 races. The majority came in 2007, when he collected ten race victories en route to the 2007 MotoGP World Championship.
With a brilliant start to this season, the 25-year-old Australian has continued to add to his tally. Through the first eight races Stoner has four wins, a second, and two thirds. The only time he's failed to finish on the podium was at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez when he was knocked out of second place early in the race.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway press office organized yet another teleconference in the run up to the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at the end of August. This time, the subject of the interview was Ben Spies, a timely choice of interviewee given that the factory Yamaha rider is coming off his first ever MotoGP victory. Here's what Spies had to tell reporters:
2011 RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GP-YAMAHA TELECONFERENCE
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Note: American MotoGP star Ben Spies participated in a Red Bull Indianapolis GP teleconference Thursday, June 30 after earning his first career MotoGP victory June 25 at TT Assen at Assen, Netherlands. It was the first MotoGP victory for an American rider since 2006. Spies, 26, from Longview, Texas, led every lap on a Yamaha Factory Racing machine.
Spies will join fellow American MotoGP riders Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 26-28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
MODERATOR: It's been kind of rush going from Assen to Mugello. Has it sunk in yet, the victory, or has it just been so busy that you're in the race routine?
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Teleconference: Colin Edwards On Injuries, Repaving Indy, And The Honda And Ducati
The ever-industrious press office at Indianapolis Motor Speedway organized another one of its press teleconferences, this time featuring fan and media favorite Colin Edwards. Reporters got a chance to ask some very interesting questions, allowing Edwards to give his opinions on a whole host of subjects, including racing with injury, the repaved sections at Indy, the state of the Hondas and Ducati compared to the Yamaha, riding a satellite bike and the Bridgestone tires. Always fun to listen to, here's what the Texas Tornado had to say:
2011 RED BULL INDIANAPOLIS GP TELECONFERENCE
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Note: American MotoGP star Colin Edwards participated in a Red Bull Indianapolis GP teleconference Thursday, June 16 after a stirring third-place finish Sunday, June 12 at the Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone. It was the first podium finish since July 2009 for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Edwards, 37, from Houston. But the sensational result also came just eight days after Edwards had 13 screws and a titanium plate placed into his collarbone, which was broken in five places during a practice crash Friday, June 3 at the Grand Prix of Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. Edwards also suffered torn rib muscles in the crash.
Tom Montano began racing motorcycles in the early 1980s in California, and his career highlights include being WERA D Superbike champion, a 9th at Daytona, and AMA Pro Thunder champ in 2001 on a Ducati 748. At the Isle of Man he finished tenth on a privateer 600 in the Junior TT, and 13th twice, in 2003 on a Ducati 998 and in 2005 on a MV Agusta, both in the Senior TT. He has been an instructor in several racing schools and has continued to race endurance events in Europe. In 2009 Tom rode the first TTXGP aboard the Mission Motors electric motorcycle. I spoke to Tom in December, 2010, about his experience on the e-bike.
MM: Did you get much time on the Mission Motors TTXGP bike before you arrived at the Isle of Man?
Montano: Infineon Raceway said we could come ride the bike between 5 and 7pm any night we wanted, because the bike was quiet and Infineon was one of the sponsors of the bike, so they provided track time. I probably rode it five times just trying to figure out battery and motor usage, that kind of stuff.
MM: What were your first impressions of the electric bike, having ridden gas-powered bikes for so long?
The latest subject of Miller Motorsports Park's series of interviews with top World Superbike riders is Yamaha's Eugene Laverty. In it, Laverty talks to Miller's John Gardner about his double victory at Monza, working with Melandri, comparisons with Ben Spies and the penalty for Max Biaggi. A very interesting read:
Miller Motorsports Park Presents: Five Questions with Eugene Laverty
A chat with World Superbike's newest overnight sensation
TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 17, 2011) — Miller Motorsports Park will again host the USA Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship on The BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, May 28-30. Leading up to the round at Miller, we have been visiting with race winners and other notable riders participating in the championship after each race during the 2011 season to bring you a new chapter in the "Five Questions with" series.
The weight controversy rumbles on in MotoGP, with the taller and heavier riders - most notably Marco Simoncelli - complaining about the unfair advantages that lighter riders have. Our earlier analysis suggested that if such an advantage did exist, it was hard to see it in the results the riders had obtained, despite the intuitively obvious advantage that lighter weight would appear to convey. That in itself suggested that any advantages that a smaller, lighter rider may have are offset by the disadvantages, and so at Estoril, we went in search of answers.
The obvious place to start when looking for answers as to whether lighter riders have an advantage or a disadvantage is the crew chief of the lightest rider on the grid, Mike Leitner of the Repsol Honda team, chief mechanic to Dani Pedrosa. We spent fifteen minutes at Estoril questioning him about the reality behind being a lighter rider in MotoGP, and his answers were very enlightening. Here's what Leitner had to say.
November 20th, 2010
On Tuesday, Miller Motorsports Park organized its final teleconference of the year with the stars of the World Superbike championship. This time, it was the turn of Max Biaggi to talk, and he fielded questions from the press on a range of subjects, from the role of electronics in World Superbikes, on the development of the Aprilia RSV4, on his thoughts on retiring, and on the prospect of a return to MotoGP. Here's what Biaggi had to say:
Moderator: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. My name is John Gardner, and I am the Media Manager for Miller Motorsports Park. This will be our final teleconference of the year with riders from the Superbike World Championship. Today, we're happy to have the 2010 Superbike World Champion, Max Biaggi, with us. Max, as you know, won 10 races this year, riding the No. 3 Aprilia RSV4 1000F for Aprilia Alitalia Racing. He swept the weekends here at Miller Motorsports Park as well as at Misano, Monza and Portimao. He also had single victories at his favorite track, Brno, as well as at Magny-Cours.
So Max, welcome, again.
Max Biaggi: Yeah, well, hi. Thank you. Thank you. How are you?
Moderator: Good. And congratulations on your championship.
On the first day of testing after the Valencia MotoGP round, all eyes were on two newcomers: Valentino Rossi on the Ducati and Casey Stoner on the Honda. Yamaha had not allowed Valentino Rossi from talking to the press at the tests, so the media crowded in to the Repsol Honda hospitality to hear what Casey Stoner had to say. Everyone was particularly eager to hear from the Australian, as he had been the second fastest rider on his very first outing on the Honda RC212V, and had looked immensely smooth.
Naturally, Stoner was also bombarded by questions relating to the Ducati, questions that Stoner had said before the tests started that he would refuse to answer, "out of respect for Ducati" as he had phrased it. It didn't stop journalists from asking, but Stoner dealt with them remarkably deftly. As a result, there are one or two places in the transcript where it looks like Stoner is avoiding the question, which he is doing to avoid comparison with the Ducati. The fault, though, lies with the journalists who are asking the questions, rather than the rider answering them.
Here's what Casey Stoner had to say on Tuesday evening:
Q: Your first impression of the bike, of today?
After a brave race in front of his home crowd at Valencia, Dani Pedrosa spoke to a small group of journalists. During the debrief, he spoke about the nerve damage and weakness he has suffered after his broken collarbone, which caused him to fade in the second half of the race, and he also talks about why he will be running the #26 plate again next season, despite being entitled to use the #2, as he has done in the past. Here's what Pedrosa had to say:
Q: That was an amazing race for someone who was injured, especially those first corners. How did you manage?
Dani Pedrosa: I don't know, I was fresh, I have power then. I was on, on for the race and I started well. I did the first corner not so bad. And then I just looked for the space, and I was aggressive. After that, I was there, in the top area, I was not really aware of my possibilities. So I was just pushing and I see I could keep Casey's rhythm. Maybe he was on the wrong tire choice, that was my feeling, looking from behind.
I was there for some laps when I was fresh. I did the fastest lap, so this is not so bad, even though if you look at the practice, I was never on the top, so. It was very impressive to be up front. And until I had this weakness, I became tired. I could not hold my body in the right way, in braking, when I tried to keep my body in the right position, I just...
Though MotoGP fans around the world focus on their favorite riders, there is a growing awareness of the importance of the crews that surround those riders, as witnessed by the constant harassment that Rossi's mechanic Alex Briggs received from his many followers on Twitter. As MotoGP bikes grow ever more complex, the role of the pit crew becomes ever more important, and the trust between rider and crew has become paramount.
This shift has led to most of the top riders switching teams this year also ensuring that they will be bringing their pit crews along with them. Valentino Rossi will be bringing Jerry Burgess and his Australian (and Belgian and Italian) crew members with him from Yamaha to Ducati; Casey Stoner will be taking Cristian Gabbarini and his Italian crew to Honda from Ducati; and even Ben Spies will be taking his former AMA pit crew and Yamaha World Superbike manager to the factory Yamaha squad next year.
During the rider debriefs on Thursday, several members of the press asked Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi to talk about the importance of taking their crews with them to their new teams. Casey Stoner had the most to say on the subject, and so his replies are shown first, while Valentino Rossi's responses were shorter, and are shown further below:
After the canceled practice session at Estoril, Casey Stoner spoke to the press during his regular media debrief. In that session, Stoner spoke about a number of issues, including electronics, fuel limits, Ducati's screamer vs. big bang engines, and the engine penalties. Here's what he had to say, in his own words:
Q: I spoke to Carmelo Ezpeleta yesterday, and I asked him about electronics, whether there was any plan to limit them, and he said that nobody has been complaining about electronics for the past six months, and he gave you as an example, that you turned your electronics right down, and there is nothing wrong with the current situation. What do you feel about the amount of electronics?
After the press conference at Estoril, Valentino Rossi talked to the press about his all too brief battle with Jorge Lorenzo, and why he had not been able to fight with his Fiat Yamaha teammate and bitter rival as he had in the past couple of races. The difference, Rossi explained, was the lack of dry practice time, as Jorge Lorenzo could use the setting which he used to win the race last year, while Rossi had struggled at the Estoril circuit in 2009. Lorenzo had earlier confirmed that they had done little to the bike except plug in the setting from last year, and the Spaniard had been able to walk away from the front.
Here's what Rossi had to say about the race, talking to the press at Estoril:
Valentino Rossi: The bigger difference, I think that, like Jorge said, they put the setting last year that was very good and the work is finished, you know. We race with a big difference in the setting compared to last year, because last year we had a bad result, but we worked very well in the wet.