Following the September break in proceedings, MotoGP is back this weekend in Portugal and that means World Champion Valentino Rossi and his talented young Spanish team-mate Jorge Lorenzo are ready to resume their title fight with four rounds remaining.
Both riders have good records at Estoril and Rossi expects a strong challenge from Lorenzo, who finished right behind him last time out at Misano. The pair were in attendance at the bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal pre-event press conference on Thursday, in a packed media centre at the circuit which lies close to the Atlantic Coast.
On the challenge of retaining the MotoGP title over the forthcoming and concluding quartet of GPs, Rossi stated, “Now is the crucial moment when the championship will be decided, as we have four races in a short period of time. There are some good tracks ahead of us, Estoril, Phillip Island and Sepang are ok for me and 30 points is a nice advantage, but we have to stay focused because we have a strong rival and we will try to stay on the podium.”
The racewinner last year in Portugal, as he tasted MotoGP victory for the first time, Rossi’s team-mate and current closest challenger Lorenzo previewed the weekend saying, “Last year was a big surprise for me, it left a big impression on me and it was a huge day in my career. But now it is a very different situation, that was at the beginning of the year and this time we are close to the end of the championship. I also now have different tyres, so it is like starting from zero this weekend, but I am confident.”
Meanwhile, the press conference also saw Rossi asked about the arrival of Ben Spies in MotoGP, after it was announced that the American will ride for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 alongside Colin Edwards next year. Rossi remarked, “I think Ben has made the right decision to come at this time. He is still quite young and he has gained extra experience this year, so I expect him to be another great rival for next season.”