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Round two of the MotoGP World Championship ignites the Free State Province
this weekend, as the Phakisa Freeway Circuit in Welkom hosts the Africa’s
Grand Prix on 21 April. It is the first time both Kanemoto Racing and their
tyre partner Bridgestone has competed in the premier class of the series at
the 4.242km (2.636miles) circuit.

At the season-opening Japanese Grand Prix, Team rider Jurgen vd Goorbergh
was one of nine fallers in a race run in torrential rain conditions. The
Dutch rider, however, was fastest in the very wet Suzuka morning practise
session, signalling the potential of the Team and the performance of the
wet-weather Bridgestone's as they take on the new era of MotoGP, racing the
two-stroke Honda NSR500 against the new four-stroke 990cc entries.

“We made good progress at the opening race in Japan, especially in proving
the ability of the wet weather Bridgestone’s. Welkom is more likely to be
dry and the tighter circuit definitely a place where the two-strokes can be
competitive. However, I know we have to be patient, continue the tyre
development, before we can really start challenging for the top
placings.” explained Jurgen vd Goorbergh ahead of the South African action.

Built among the gold mines of Welkom, Jurgen vd Goorbergh has previous
experience of the short, tight and complicated circuit, where lap-record
breaking speeds average little over 100mph. The high altitude of the region
also has significant effects on engine performance, with estimates
suggesting up to a 15 per cent reduction in power. There are no long
straights on the circuit, which incorporates part of a banked tri-oval
NASCAR-style track, most of the 14 corners are medium to fast, which could
suit the two-strokes. The expected hot weather should also suit the
Bridgestone tyres, however, the frequent local dust storms provide an extra
challenge for all, with debris often settling on the track surface.

“Welkom is another first for us and Bridgestone and another opportunity to
gather valuable data in this development year. Every circuit, in a way, is
new to us and we are looking forward to racing here. It is difficult to
predict our results at this stage as we are testing so many different
aspects of our race set-up.” relayed Erv Kanemoto from the Welkom circuit.

The altitude and the grip will be a challenge but Kanemoto Racing are again
set to give the new four-strokes a tough time in their first African adventure.


Constructed through an initiative of the South African Government to bring
new employment and economic development to the Goldfields area of the Free
State Province, the Phakisa Freeway circuit was built in 1999. The 4.242km
road circuit is surrounded by a banked NASCAR Speedway style track and
staged its first Motorcycle Grand Prix in 1999.
· Due to the altitude of the circuit both two-stroke and four-stroke
machines will suffer a power loss of around 15 per cent. Also because of
it's barren surroundings the track is often covered by a layer of sand and
grit making early practice and qualifying sessions very slippery.

Length: 4.242km
Width: 12 metres
Direction: Anti-clockwise
Pole Position: Right
Right Corners: Nine
Left Corners: five
Longest Straight: 413m
Constructed: 1999
Lap record: Valentino Rossi (Honda)1m35.508s - 159.508kmh (22/4/01)
Pole-setting lap 2001: Valentino Rossi (Honda) 1m34.629s
500cc Race Winner 2001: Valentino Rossi (Honda) 45m03.414s - 158.168kmh

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