GRAND PRIX OF TURKEY-Dorna Press release

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16/04/2007 at 13:58
GRAND PRIX OF TURKEY
ROUND THREE OF THE 2007 MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
SUNDAY APRIL 22



PREVIEW


ROSSI LEADS CHARGE INTO THE UNKNOWN

Championship leader Valentino Rossi leads the MotoGP charge into the unknown in the third round of the title chase at the superb Istanbul Park circuit on Sunday. The seven times World Champion, riding the Fiat Yamaha, leads the championship by nine points with the young pretenders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa snapping at his heels.

The first two rounds of the championship were held in Qatar and Jerez, both circuits on which the teams and riders had tested the new 800cc machines and the new tyre regulations before the start of the season. They all arrive in Turkey with a blank piece of paper and the practice and qualifying sessions will be crucial before the start of the 22-lap race round the undulating 3.318 miles circuit.

Italian Rossi arrives full of confidence after his impressive victory in Jerez but he has never won in Istanbul while 21-year old Australian Stoner who was victorious at the opening round in Qatar riding the Marlboro Ducati, won the 250cc race two years ago and finished second in a fabulous MotoGP race with Marco Melandri last year. Italian Melandri is chasing a hat trick of MotoGP victories in Turkey but has struggled in the opening two rounds this year. Riding the Gresini Honda, he's fifth in the championship already 26 points behind Rossi and will be looking for his season to kick off as he gets better acquainted with the Bridgestone tyres.

Pedrosa may have never won in Turkey but he has an impressive record on the Repsol Honda. He finished second to Stoner by less than one hundredth of a second in the 250cc race two years ago and last year crashed out of third place on the last lap of the MotoGP race which he'd started from 16th place on the grid.

Former World Superbike Champion and Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards looks very comfortable on the new 800cc machines and his third place in Jerez pushed him into fourth place but his fellow countryman Nicky Hayden is hanging on by his finger nails.

The World Champion finished third in Turkey last year but is struggling on the Repsol Honda this year as he defends that hard won title. Hayden is sixth but 28 points adrift of Rossi who's determined to grab the Championship back from the American.

Last year Australian Chris Vermeulen took pole position in the rain at Istanbul Park on just his third MotoGP appearance on the Rizla Suzuki. He returns after a solid start to the season which finds him in seventh place, three points in front of team-mate John Hopkins who's made a blistering start to the season despite riding with an injured hand. The Anglo/American was fourth in Qatar and was pushing for a podium finish in Jerez when he crashed out. The four-week break should see him fit and ready for battle on Sunday.

Melandri's team-mate Spaniard Toni Elias finished an impressive fourth in Jerez. He was fifth in Turkey last year and set the lap record while the likes of Loris Capirossi, Shinya Nakano and former World Champion Kenny Roberts, riding for the Oxfordshire-based Team Roberts Honda, will be looking to start some serious points scoring as the 18-round season really gets underway after an elongated start.

Twenty year-old Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo arrives in Istanbul with a full house of 250cc points after victories in both Qatar and Jerez on the Fortuna Aprilia. However, both races have been absolute crackers and the World Champion can expect another rough ride in the 20-lap race on Sunday.

The Master-MVA Aspar Aprilia pair of Alex De Angelis and World 125cc Champion Alvaro Bautista have both claimed second places while the ever consistent Italian Andre Dovizioso is third riding the Scott Racing Honda. Throw in the likes of Hiroshi Aoyama who gave KTM their maiden 250cc win in Turkey last year, his brother Shuhei who brought down pole setter Lorenzo at the first bend last year and Hector Barbara and it could be a repeat of last year where six tenths of a second separated the first four riders.

The 125cc Championship is the closest after two rounds with Hungarian Gabor Talmacsi leading team-mate Hector Faubel by just four points. Both have won a race on their Bancaja Aspar Aprilias but Spaniard Faubel will be favourite on Sunday after winning the race last year. All eyes will be on 15 year-old Spaniard Pol Espargaro who finished a brilliant fourth in Jerez.

BRITISH RIDERS

COGHLAN GETS BIG CHANCE

Scottish teenager Kev Coghlan gets a grand prix chance with a ride in the 125cc race in Turkey. Coghlan who is joint leader of the British 125cc Championship will replace the injured Frenchman and Istanbul winner Mike Di Meglio on the Honda in the 19-lap race on Sunday.

He will be joined by 16 year-old Bradley Smith from Oxford who looked set for a top eight finish in Jerez before being brought down from his Repsol Honda and 16 year-old Kent-based Danny Webb who's been dogged by bad luck at the opening two rounds.

Twenty year-old Ulsterman Eugene Laverty continues his grand prix education riding the 250cc LCR Honda fresh from his points scoring 14th place in just his second grand prix in Jerez.

It's a real step into the unknown for the British riders apart from Smith who competed in Turkey last year.

Quotes

KEV COGLHAN - €œI'm absolutely thrilled to be given a grand prix chance especially after it appeared that my grand prix dream had ended. It's a frantic time. I finished third in the 125cc British Championship race at Thruxton on Sunday and had my medical there. On Monday I was in Rugby to sort out my international licence and I fly out to Turkey on Wednesday morning. I can't wait.€

BRADLEY SMITH - €œIt's been a long wait since the last race and I can't wait to get racing again. It's just a case of keeping fit and preparing for the very busy schedule ahead. I've been training and riding the moto-cross bike. I went to Donington to watch the World Superbikes on the pillion of my Dad's road bike while the whole family went to Thruxton to watch the British Superbikes last weekend. Watching racing just makes me more impatient to get started again.€

DANNY WEBB - €œI've had a good look at the circuit and so I know where it goes. I'm to meet up with the team on Tuesday and we can go through the gears etc. from last year and we fly out on Wednesday. The circuit looks great and the break has given my injured fingers time to heal.€

EUGENE LAVERTY - €œIt's been a steady start to my grand prix career and I was pleased to get my first points with that 14th place at Jerez which was just my second grand prix. I'm beginning to understand the 250cc machine and get to know the team. I'm relishing the challenge of riding at circuits where I've never been before. I know what I'm capable off and I want to be a regular points scorer in the next few weeks.€

TRACKS FACTS

The Istanbul Park circuit may not be sited in the most picturesque area of Turkey and not generate the local interest and atmosphere of Jerez and Mugello but for the riders it's a superb venue. The long 3.318 mile circuit situated on the Asian side of the Bosphorus was completed less than two years ago and unlike some of its Formula One style counterparts offers a tremendous challenge to riders, engineers and tyre technicians.

It's undulating with a vast array of corners culminating in the turn 11, the right hand bend which was the fastest of the year for the 990cc MotoGP machines. It was taken flat out in fifth gear, or in Marco Melandri's case sixth gear by mistake, the new 800cc machines with that extra corner speed may get through in sixth but it will certainly be the place to watch.

Length: 3.318 miles
Pole position: Right.
Width: 14 - 21 metres
Right corners: Six
Left corners: Eight
Longest Straight: 0.447 miles
Constructed: 2005.

Flashback


Winners 2006

MotoGP: Marco Melandri (Honda) 41m54.065s
Lap record: Toni Elias (Honda) 1m52.877s
Pole record (2005) Sete Gibernau (Honda) 1m52.334s

250cc: Hiroshi Aoyama (KTM) 40.02.376s
Lap record: Alex de Angelis (Aprilia) 1m58.469s
Pole record: Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) 1m57.841s


125cc: Hector Faubel (Aprilia) 39m30.095s
Lap record: Joan Olive (Aprilia) 2m03.825s
Pole record: Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) 2m.04.35s

I was fast once.....
now its a distant memory!
16/04/2007 at 13:58
TELEVISION TIMES



The practice, qualifying and races will be shown at the following times on British television. Check listings.



BBC

Qualifying Saturday BBC i 11.45 - 13.00

Race Sunday: BBC 2 12.30 - 14.00

MotoGP Extra Sunday BBC i 14.00 - 14.30.



EUROSPORT

Friday

07.30 - 08.45

10.00 - 11.00 MotoGP

11.00 - 11.45 125cc Live

11.45 - 13.00 MotoGP Live

13.00 - 13.45 250cc Live



Saturday

09.00 - 10.00 MotoGP

11.00 - 11.45 125cc Live

11.45 - 13.00 MotoGP Live

18.00 - 19.00 Highlights



Sunday

08.45 - 09.15 Introduction

09.15 - 09.45 MotoGP Warm-up

09.45 - 11.00 125cc Live

11.00 - 12.15 250cc Live

12.15 - 14.00 MotoGP Live

16.45 - 18.00 Highlights

I was fast once.....
now its a distant memory!
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