After a break to take in some of the European summer break this weekend it is time to burn some Michelins again as MotoGP gets set to light up Brno.
Championship leader Marc Marquez was first to speak at the pre-event press conference.
“The second part of the season will be the most important. Summer break has been very good. Time to relax, disconnect but also time to prepare for the second part of the season together with my brother and yeah, it’s time to rejoin the Championship. We will try to restart the same way we finished. We will see here in Brno and let’s enjoy it on the track! The first part of the season has been interesting. At some tracks it was one manufacturer, at others it was another but the main thing is we were always there. We were always there to have a small chance of victory or second place and this will be the target for the rest of the season. Here we will see which rider and which manufacturer will be there, but our goal is to fight for the podium, try to fight for the victory until the end of the race and yeah this is the way. If that’s impossible then it’s time to survive and time to take points for the Championship.”
Andrea Dovizioso is currently second in the championship, 58-points behind Marquez, and has collected five podiums in total at Brno and is keen to take advantage of the characteristics of both the track and the Desmosedici GP to cut the gap from the leader.
“The summer break is always a good time to recharge and put things into perspective. Despite the fact that our position on the finish line at Assen and Sachsenring was acceptable, our feeling on the bike wasn’t been the best in those circuits. Without a doubt, we need to stay positive in this moment: we’ve worked hard under each aspect during these three weeks and we’re ready to tackle the second half of the season with great motivation. We’ll race on tracks where we should be very competitive and able to show our full potential.”
Maverick Viñales was on the podium last time out in Germany and is looking forward to an even stronger second half of season 2019.
“I am full of energy because I finished the last two races in a good way. For me, this summer break was very long because I was waiting to be on the bike, the mood I had was really good. With the same mentality, we have nothing to lose and we will try to push at the maximum from the first lap on Friday. I feel good, calm and we need to keep trying to take the maximum from the bike, try and be at the front and understand and a learnt a lot. I think it will be very different, we will try a different way, as the bike is different to last year. I feel like we can profit from this layout and I am curious to see and I hope in the second half of the season we can prove our potential.”
Team-mate Rossi spoke next, a man who was on a more difficult run heading into the holidays. He’s now ready to start trying to unlock the secret to speed on the 2019 machine, having already taken podiums but then started to struggle a little more of late.
“For sure the break is a good chance to recharge the battery and take the right energy for the second half. The last races of the first part were very tough and very difficult. We expected to be stronger, so we need to concentrate and work better to be stronger for this second part. From Jerez, Quartararo and Maverick were very strong so this means the bike is competitive. We need to find another way to find the good feeling with the bike to ride at the limit.”
For Crutchlow, 2019 has also been more of a challenge at times. But the Brit dug deep and impressed in Germany to take a rostrum finish despite carrying a cycling injury, and Brno holds good memories of his first Grand Prix win.
“I went into the summer break obviously very happy with the result in the Sachsenring. I took a few days off and then me and Lucy had a few days away in London, so it was nice to be able to do that, then I went back to the Isle of Man and was in training. It was typical summer weather over there, raining most days, but I enjoyed the three weeks off overall. Now I’m looking forward to getting back riding again, but Brno is a strange circuit. I always expect to go well here, some years I go really well and some years I don’t go great. Last year I went quite well until the last three or four laps, but didn’t manage my rear tyre well enough at the start of the race, so we’ll look to try and improve that. We’re happy with the setting we got in the Sachsenring, but whether that will work here we’ll have to see as it’s a completely different circuit. But we’ll try our best and I’m definitely looking forward to the second half of the year.”
Next on the mic’ was home hero Karel Abraham. He’s had a tougher year so far but Brno is always a special home race for the Czech rider.
“It’s been a very difficult season so far, if we’re scoring points anytime that’s a success and it will be a success for this weekend as well so I think that we have done a lot of work with our team and we have improved, especially on Friday and Saturday but Sunday is where it counts. We need to get better on Sunday but if we score points, as I mentioned, it will be a nice weekend. You can see the field is very close and it’s very difficult for me to get better results, like top ten would be a dream but it’s very hard. We have to work very hard for it, especially to make all the laps constant which is what counts.”
The assembled press at the conference also heard from Brad Binder. The South African has taken two intermediate class podiums in a row after a hard beginning to the season, and he’s also now confirmed as moving to the premier class next year.
“Looking forward from now, I am super excited to be stepping up to MotoGP next year. I know it is going to be a massive task but all in all, I am ready for the challenge and I am really excited. This year has been a bit of a disaster to say the least, but each weekend we have found a little bit more. Basically, now we have a new bike and looking forward, I hope it is what we are looking for so we can chase after more victories and get some points back.”
The Suzuki riders were not at the press conference but both Alex Rins and Joan Mir spent their holidays enjoying some rest, but also training hard to stay in shape for the remaining races. Likewise, the engineers – both in Hamamatsu and Europe – used the time to revise data and prepare for the second part of the season.
Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager
“It’s good to be back at the races, we’re ready to take advantage of our strong first half of the season and we hope we can continue on this good path. We’ve already shown that we are competitive, and our target now is to continue to prove this potential. Alex is able to fight among the top positions in every race, while Joan is steadily getting closer to the top. The circuit of Brno is a fascinating track – maybe on paper it’s not one of our best tracks, but the progress we’ve made so far in terms of performance give us positivity for this weekend. It will be an important race for moral as well, because it will kick off of the second half of the championship and we want to go to Austria in good spirits too.”
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