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estoril_circuitThe MotoGP riders have had nearly a month off since the second round of the season in Jerez, but they’ll return to the track this weekend for round three of the 2011 MotoGP season. Jorge Lorenzo is the man to beat as the MotoGP riders prepare to take to the grid in Portugal.

Lorenzo has won the last three races at Estoril. And even more impressive, he’s done so each time from the pole position. Lorenzo currently leads the series, taking a win in Jerez and a second place finish in Qatar, and could be tough to beat this weekend.

“This week we will be in Portugal, a country where I’ve had nice moments,” Lorenzo said. “In Estoril I got my first victory in the MotoGP class in 2008 which I repeated over the last two seasons. The track has turned into a talisman for me and it is the place where the astronaut always comes back.

“We have been training for a month, and I hope that this makes us fit for a good race. We are in front of the standings, but it is very early and it is just the beginning. This week will also be important since we are testing on Monday and we will certainly be able to check a lot of things for the future set-up.”

Lorenzo is sure to get a lot of competition from the Repsol Honda team. Casey Stoner has been the hands on favorite this season, but a crash during the race in Jerez dropped him from first to third in the overall standings. Stoner will be looking to make up those lost points this weekend.

Dani Pedrosa should also be fighting for the podium. Pedrosa has managed to find the podium twice the season, despite an ailing shoulder. Pedrosa was able to have corrective surgery over the break. If Pedrosa is healthy this weekend, he’ll be challenging at the front of the race.

Valentino Rossi will also be looking for his first podium. Rossi also benefited from the extended break, giving him some extra time to rest his shoulder. Rossi has 5 victories at Estoril and an additional 5 podiums. The Doctor has been feeling better and better, and he is eager to return to glory.

Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden will also be looking for his first podium of the season. Hayden is currently in fourth place behind Lorenzo, Pedrosa, and Stoner, but hasn’t been able to break onto the podium just yet. Hayden has a best finish of fourth at Estoril something that he’ll be trying to improve upon this weekend.

Ben Spies was dangerously close to scoring his first podium of the season at Jerez, but lost control of his bike late in the race and crashed out of contention. Spies is one of the fastest riders on the track, and he’ll be looking for redemption in Estoril.

MotoGP Overall Standings

  1. Lorenzo – Yamaha – 45
  2. Pedrosa – Honda – 36
  3. Stoner – Honda – 25
  4. Hayden – Ducati – 23
  5. Rossi – Ducati – 20
  6. Aoyama – Honda – 19
  7. Dovizioso – Honda – 17
  8. Barbera – Ducati – 14
  9. Crutchlow – Yamaha – 13
  10. Abraham – Ducati – 12

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

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