Rossi VS Stoner, Who Will Win at Donington Park?

The 4.023kms long Donington circuit is set in a natural arena in the English countryside, and few sights in MotoGP can match the whole field of bikes streaming into Craner Curves on the first lap. The track also features many other exciting corners and elevation changes over its length. And the final section, which features three hard braking zones, means the bike also has to be good under braking and makes set-up a quest for compromise between agility and stability.

Valentino Rossi heads north to Donington Park after a brief stay in his hometown of London. The 28-year-old has lived in the English capital since 2000 and has built up an army of local fans, who have cheered him to victory on seven occasions at the East Midlands circuit. After conceding defeat to Dani Pedrosa when riding through injury to second place last year, Rossi is doubly keen to lead the celebrations again this time around.

"Donington is always like my second home race because I live quite close, in London. It's one of my favourite racetracks in the world and I've had some fantastic victories there in the past, including my first ever 500cc win back in 2000 after a great battle with Jeremy McWilliams and Kenny Roberts. Last year I had a bad injury after my problem in Assen but I was still able to finish second, which was a great achievement I think."

"This year though it's going to be really hard of course with Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa riding so well at the moment. Even though it hasn't been one of his best tracks in the past I am expecting Casey to be strong again and Dani won last year so we can expect him to be fighting too. Anyway, it's a great track, fun to ride, the straight is not too long and the fans there are wonderful, so I hope we can win again!"

"I had a lot bigger aspirations for this season than my recent results have shown. After our first few tests and first few races I thought we would be consistently in the top five, but unfortunately that hasn't been the case recently so it's a bit discouraging. At the same time I think you have to bring the positives out of every weekend and learn what you can. I think with Donington coming up we have the chance to turn things around; it's a track that I've always liked - I've won a few races there, stemming back from my World Superbike days."

"I've got nothing but high hopes going there - I know the track like the back of my hand so I'm staying positive. As far as I am concerned, the rest of my year involves winning some races. Winning races was my goal in March and it's still my goal now and, despite the last few races, I know we can do it. I think the next two races at Donington and Assen are prime opportunities."

The 21 year old Australian has had a truly remarkable short career with the Italian factory team. He has won four of the opening seven races and leads seven times World Champion Valentino Rossi by 140 points in the Championship. His performance in the Grand Prix of Catalunya where he fought off everything that Rossi could throw at him to win by 0.069 of a second was that of a potential World Champion.

"We are still learning and going forward, always gaining experience with the Ducati. After Barcelona we go to Donington with a positive attitude, it could be a tough track for us but we've already proved this year that the Ducati is good at a lot of circuits. I've never really cracked Donington but we'll see how we can piece it together this time. The flowing part is tough, down through Craner and into the Old Hairpin you're braking on the side of the tyres and the bike's moving around. I find the circuit a little dangerous in some points, if they improved that it'd probably be more enjoyable. Some of the other turns are a little bit funny, so it's really hard to try and compromise the set-up - whether you set it up for the tight and twisty bits, which are very important at the end of the race if you're in a battle, or if you set it up for the faster bits, where you make the time. I'm still not thinking about the championship, maybe later in the season we can start aiming for it, but the way we're going now is just perfect, so we're going to continue doing the same thing."

1 comment:

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