Comments by Dani, Roberts, and Melandri in the linky here...
HAYDEN HOT TO MAKE ESTORIL HIS AS TITLE RACE TIGHTENS
With just two rounds to go in this gripping MotoGP finale, it looks as if
series points leader Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) has found new
resolve when it really counts. After successful tests after the Japanese
round at Motegi, the American is optimistic he has what it takes to secure
the biggest prize in motorcycle sport.
Four riders are still realistically in with a chance of taking the World
Crown: Hayden on 236 points, Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) with 224, Marco
Melandri (Fortuna Honda RC211V)
on 209 and Loris Capirossi (Ducati) with 205. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda
RC211V) has 202.
The title is a long shot for Melandri and Capirossi and probably now out of
Pedrosaís reach, but Rossi is in form at the right time with four podiums
(including a win) in the last four races, while Hayden has laboured to a
ninth, a fourth and two fifth places.
But Nicky is nothing if not resilient, and as the only rider to have scored
points at every round so far, he is now in the position of being confident
enough to recapture the form that saw him win in Holland and the USA.
Portugal has not been a happy hunting ground for Hayden so far. Nicky was
seventh here last year, but the American ace has upped his game now to such
an extent that this weekendís outing is likely to bear little relation to
previous visits here.
Nicky said, ďIím quite excited about the whole weekend in Portugal. Itís a
huge race for me Ė I know that and Iím prepared for it. The team had a
couple of days testing after the last race in Japan and we made some
progress there, so Iím definitely looking forward to this one. Last year I
didnít have a very good result here and I struggled a lot so Iím looking
forward to definitely improving this time around.Ē
Dani said, ďThe target is to get a good result here because the last two
results in Australia and Japan have been a little disappointing for me.
Estoril is not one of my favourite tracks and my previous results here
could have been better, but Iíve been on pole position twice before so itís
a track I can go well at. I havenít ridden the RC211V here before though,
so Iíll have to learn the track quickly on Friday. Of course the weather
could play a part because itís quite unstable at Estoril and it often rains.Ē