DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM READY FOR THE 'RING
The Ducati Marlboro Team commences the second half of the 2007 MotoGP season at the Sachsenring with the remarkable Casey Stoner leading the riders' World Championship on five wins and two further podium places from the first nine GPs. Team-mate Loris Capirossi has had a less lucky run of races in recent weeks and currently holds ninth place in the points chase, but the Bologna-based squad still heads the teams' championship, with Ducati also ahead in the constructors' points table.
The German Grand Prix follows a busy sequence of four races over five weekends and is immediately succeeded by the United States GP on July 22. MotoGP then gets a well-deserved four-week break before the Czech GP on August 19.
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project director
"We start the second half of the season still leading the championship and very much looking forward to the next nine races. During this period there are several circuits that suit our machine package, so that is a positive for us. The Sachsenring is quite a strange circuit, quite tight in places and with no big straights, but we have always gone quite well there, so we go into this race feeling fairly confident of a good result."
CASEY STONER, World Championship leader on 185 points
"Every race we are still learning about the set-up of the bike, especially when we go to different types of circuit. The Ducati and the Bridgestones have been working well at pretty much every circuit, so when we get to Germany we'll just concentrate and keep doing what we've been doing. I got my first-ever podium at the Sachsenring, the track is fun on a 125 but it's a little bit more difficult to negotiate some of those turns on a MotoGP bike. You definitely need good side grip because through a lot of those long corners you need to keep the gas open as long as possible. You also need to get your head around those uphill and downhill corners - coming down the hill into those fast lefts gets a bit scary, you have to make sure your suspension doesn't bottom out, then you head back up the hill and then down again. As you come over the top at turn 12 the rear gets very light and wants to wriggle around, so you really need some traction over the top there."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 9th overall on 57 points
"I really like the Sachsenring, even if it always feels a little strange on a MotoGP bike, because there are so many slow and tight corners. I think the track will be more fun on the 800 than it was on the 990 because the new bikes are a bit more nimble, so they are a bit faster into the corners and through the corners. The first part is too slow, but from turn six or seven it gets quite interesting. Turn 12 is a very exciting corner, because it's blind and you throw the bike in there at over 200 km/h, then you go steeply downhill on the run to turn 13. We go into this race after a couple of difficult weekends at Donington and Assen. But this is racing, sometimes things don't go your way and the only answer is to keep cool and keep working to make things better. We have been making some improvements to the bike over the last few races but so far we haven't been able to turn these improvements into a good result."
The Sachsenring first appeared on the World Championship calendar way back in 1961. The high-speed street circuit quickly became one of racing's most popular venues, regularly attracting a quarter of a million sports-starved East German fans.
The lethal street circuit hosted its last GP in 1972, an all-new short circuit returning the venue to the world calendar in 1998. At that time the new circuit was the slowest in GP racing, with a lap speed of just 143km/h-89mph. Revisions for 2000 upped the pace to 150 km/h-93mph and the addition of an extra loop in 2001 increased lap speeds to the current 158km/h-98mph record. Nevertheless the character of the anti-clockwise circuit is still tight and twisty, putting the emphasis on delicate mid-range engine performance rather than brute top-end horsepower.
Lap record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda), 1m 23.355s, 158.546km/h-98.516mph
Pole position 2006: Pedrosa (Honda), 1m 21.815s