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GP Week : Issue 152
This was the 13th Portuguese GP at Estoril. It will almost certainly be the last at the scenic and interesting circuit, close to the coast just north of the capital Lisbon, at least for the foreseeable future. A combination of the country’s economic woes and the desire to add new races (including India, Argentina and Austin, Texas) have elbowed the event off the calendar. Probably. Many will miss the event. The scenic and pleasant location apart, and the often violent weather aside, the track is a proper old-school circuit, full of character, variety and challenge. In fact Estoril was only a last-minute addition to this year’s schedule, mainly for the economic reasons mentioned above. Backing from the local government saved the day ... and enabled organisers to ensure that at least they would get a good crowd. A sell-out, in fact, they said, with an official figure of 48,951 far exceeding previous years. This was achieved by sensationally low ticket prices. The cheapest, standing room on race day only, was only two Euros, a fraction of the usual price. The circuit, built in 1972, is typical old-school 4,182 km long and full of variety and character – a welcome relief from sterile modern tracks. “It is very complex and very narrow,” said Lorenzo, while Stoner added: “It’s a complete circuit – you have everything: on camber, off camber, slow turns, fast sweepers, up- and downhill. There are a lot of opportunities for passing, also a lot of opportunities for making mistakes.” It may be force of circumstances rather than a mistake that puts paid to the race. But it feels like a mistake. UNLUCKY THIRTEEN FOR A FAVOURITE RACE 30 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> ESTORIL