The German Grand Prix will represent the start of the second half of this year's 18-race MotoGP world championship with Bridgestone-shod Ducati Corse rider Casey Stoner leading the classification by 21 points over his nearest challenger, former multi world champion Valentino Rossi.
Bridgestone Motorsport will enjoy something of a home grand prix this weekend as over half of its on-track team hail from Germany and the team's European service hub is located in Speyer, near to Hockenheim. The tight and twisty track usually produces closely-contested race finishes with less than one second separating the race winner and runner-up at each of the five previous MotoGP rounds held there, including three occasions where the top two have been split by less than 0.4s at the chequered flag.
No Bridgestone-shod rider has yet to finish a German MotoGP event on the podium but increased performance from its range of tyres in the first half of the season has resulted in an all-round increase in competitiveness among the tyre manufacturers this season which Bridgestone hopes will continue this weekend. Ducati's Loris Capirossi was the highest-placed rider on Bridgestone tyres in last season's German GP in fifth place, leading a quartet of Bridgestone-equipped riders across the line at the end of the thirty lap race.
Tyre Talk with Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Department:
What technical characteristics must tyre manufacturers consider for the Sachsenring?
"Sachsenring is one of the slowest tracks on the calendar and also one of the shortest laps we experience during the season at just 3.671km. The circuit is run in an anti-clockwise direction and we must deal with an asymmetrical composition of corners with ten left and four right-hand turns. From a tyre perspective, this means we must ensure good warm-up on the right-hand side of the tyre, particularly considering the middle section when riders must spent around a third of the lap constantly using the left-hand side of the tyre."
What compounds will Bridgestone riders have at their disposal?
"Taking into consideration the amount of pressure that the left-hand side of the tyre is under, we will be bringing medium and hard compound rears for our teams both 16'' and 16.5''. The asphalt at Sachsenring has been recently resurfaced which will inevitably require some adaptation from teams and tyre manufacturers, but I hope that we will not experience any unpleasant surprises when we start practice on Friday morning."
Does tyre durability remain an issue for Bridgestone?
"I think we can be quite satisfied with the improvements madewith tyre durability during the course of this season. In my opinion, this is one of our most important steps, but it is also an area where we must always keep focus. We are actively working on improving all round grip levels as we look to raise our competitiveness yet further with the championship heading into the second half of the season. The German event is like a home grand prix for some of our staff, so I hope we can celebrate a good result this weekend as a fitting reward for all their hard work so far this year."
Riding Perspective with Pramac d'Antin's Alex Hofmann:
"The German GP is a very special weekend for me and it is always a pleasure to ride in front of the passionate German fans. They flock to the track in their thousands and always seem to enjoy a party atmosphere. The race is the highlight of the year for me personally and especially this year, I feel we can head to the race in an optimistic frame of mind. The previous race in Assen was one of the best race weekends I have had and I got a good feeling with the Ducati bike and Bridgestone tyres in wet and dry conditions, we just need to keep doing a good job and the results will keep coming. I have been pleased with my return to Bridgestone tyres this season and the technical advances they have made since I last raced with Bridgestone tyres are incredible. I hope the Sachsenring event will give us the opportunity once again to show what our entire package is capable of."