Having wrapped up the Riders' and Teams' titles already this season, the victorious Fiat Yamaha Team returns to European shores this weekend for the penultimate round of the season at Estoril in Portugal. New MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and his team-mate Valentino Rossi are eager to end the season on a high and hopeful that good results in the final two races will help Yamaha wrap up the coveted Triple Crown.
Lorenzo has swept all before him this season and the 23-year-old has a flawless record at Estoril, having won from pole position in both his MotoGP appearances at the track. The track was the scene of his first premier-class win and he was equally dominant last year, taking his fourth win of the season. This year he has taken seven victories but, having not won since Brno, the 23-year-old is keen to stand on the top step of the podium at least once more before the circus shuts down for the winter.
Rossi is still the most successful rider in history at Estoril and has taken five wins there. Last year was the first time in his ten visits to the track when he finished off the podium and he will be determined to return to it this year. The flyaway races saw an upturn in his fortunes and he took three podiums, including his stunning win in Malaysia, which have somewhat put the gloss back on a difficult season. With just two races left with Yamaha, the Italian hero is hopeful of ending on a high and will be going for the maximum this weekend. Estoril circuit is located just seven kilometres from the Atlantic and is notorious for dramatic changes in weather, with spells of warm sunshine often interrupted by wild gusts of cold wind and rain. The layout of the Autodromo Fernanda Pires de Silva is similarly contrasting, featuring one of the longest main straights in MotoGP and one of the slowest corners. Several other twisty sections make for the lowest average speed in the championship but the 200km/h kink at turn five and the final Parabolica corner are two of the toughest tests of any rider's skill and bravery. The final two races will feature a revised practice timetable, with four 45-minutes sessions over Friday and Saturday taking the place of the usual three one-hour ones.
Jorge Lorenzo - "I always feel so good there"
"We now have the last two races in a row, and they are two very special races. The first one is Estoril, where I've had some of my best moments in MotoGP in the last two seasons. I had never won there before in 125 or 250, but since 2008 I have had two victories. It's the only one place where I've won twice in this category! I like the Estoril track and I always seem to feel so good there. Also it always seems a bit like another Spanish GP. Many people from home are coming and I am looking forward to feeling their support, because it's the first time I've ridden so close to home since becoming World Champion. I am still on a high and I would try to win again, like last year when the astronaut arrived!"
Valentino Rossi - "I want to finish the season on a high"
"The flyaways were very good for us, three podiums including one win - we were happy with how much we had improved the bike and also the level of my shoulder. Now we return to Europe and I feel very strongly that I want to enjoy these final two races and try to win again. Estoril was not a good track for me last year, we had some problems and I couldn't make it onto the podium so we will be trying to change that this year. After Phillip Island we hope the weather will be a bit warmer but Estoril can change very quickly so it could be a factor again."