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DATE News (chronologically)
09/13/07
motogp
Estoril Track Preview
The 4.182km Autodromo Fernanda Pires da Silva Estoril is located about 30km from Lisbon on the Atlantic coast, and is renowned as the slowest of the 17 circuits on the current MotoGP calendar.

Estoril was opened in the early 1970s as a European Formula 2 venue, and following that was a Formula 1 track from the mid-1980s to 1996 before then becoming a MotoGP venue in 2000.

But while riders are forced to slow to as little as 60kmh in rounding the Variante chicane, which was added to the layout in 1994, they can also reach speeds of up to 325kmh at the end of the main straight, which is just under 1km in length.

Variante is one of four corners at Estoril that riders have to negotiate in first gear, and there are six more that are taken in second, giving the circuit the lowest average speed of any on the calendar.

As well as the tight corners, the weather can also play its part with strong winds and heavy rain other factors riders often have to contend with, although warm conditions do usually prevail which is why pre-season testing is often completed there.

Suspension also becomes a factor because while there is a corner that is taken in fifth gear at up to 230kmh that requires hard springs, the very bumpy straight surface calls for a softer suspension, and the hard springs aren't always suited to the front either despite the need for heavy braking at the end of the straight leading to the Parabolica Interior corner.

Tires also need to be chosen wisely as there are 10 right-hand corners which require a hard compound to withstand the wear from the race, while on the left side a softer compound is needed to handle the often cold conditions.

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