Following two sets of back-to-back races in Italy, Catalunya, Britain and the Netherlands in June, MotoGP's action-packed 2008 tour continues with a third consecutive double-header, starting with this weekend's trip to Germany, another of...
Following two sets of back-to-back races in Italy, Catalunya, Britain and the Netherlands in June, MotoGP's action-packed 2008 tour continues with a third consecutive double-header, starting with this weekend's trip to Germany, another of motorcycle racing's most frequented destinations.
This year's event will be the 23rd premier class event to be held at the Sachsenring, which hosted its first race back in 1961, but will be the 66th race in total to be held on German soil since the championship began back in 1949. Sachsenring held the East German GP uninterrupted from 1961-1972 on a closed-road circuit, but rejoined the calendar with a brand new circuit in 1998, where it has remained since.
Loris Capirossi scored the best ever result at Sachsenring for a Bridgestone-shod rider in last year's German GP, taking second place for Ducati in difficult conditions with track temperatures soaring above 50o.C. Having enjoyed debut dry weather victories in Mugello, Donington and Assen in recent weeks, Bridgestone will be hoping to cross Sachsenring off its 'to do' list this weekend, but is aware of the technical hurdles that it must first overcome.
Bridgestone has been kept busy in the time since Casey Stoner scored his dominant Assen victory just under two weeks ago, including an important two-day test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the United States, the first test session to be held at the new-look MotoGP track. Bridgestone gathered important data with Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha teams, and riders Niccolo' Canepa, Olivier Jacque, Ben Spies and Wataru Yoshikawa respectively.
Hiroshi Yamada - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Motorcycle Sport Unit
"Our frantic season continues at full steam with the next set of back-to-back races in Germany and Laguna Seca already upon us, two tracks at which we experienced contrasting fortunes last season. Sachsenring is another of the few circuits at which we have yet to take MotoGP victory, but we are highly motivated after recent results in Mugello, Donington and Assen. The German GP is a home event for a lot of our on-site team, especially our team of fitters, who are based in Speyer near Hockenheim, so a strong result would be a great reward for all their hard work this season."
Tohru Ubukata - Bridgestone Motorsport - Manager, Race Tyre Development
"Sachsenring proved to be one of our more difficult circuits last year with the asymmetrical nature of the track and extreme heat combining to make life hard for our tyres over the full race distance. Loris was nevertheless able to take second place, a great achievement, and the best ever result for a rider on Bridgestone tyres at Sachsenring. We know it will not be an easy race weekend, but we will do our maximum to provide our teams with race-winning rubber. We will also be keeping an eye on the weather conditions because the rain has been a keen follower of MotoGP this season. After Assen, we conducted a two-day test at Indianapolis, which allowed us to carry out fundamental tyre studies at this new track configuration. The circuit is not completely unknown to Bridgestone because it incorporates some parts of the old Formula 1 layout, as well as some of the traditional oval course, at which we have raced in four-wheel championships. It is a complex layout with different types of asphalt, as well as slow and high speed elements, which will provide us with an exciting challenge when we race there in September."
"Casey Stoner set an impressive standard in Friday practice at the resurfaced Sachsenring in 2007, breaking the previous year's best lap by 0.6s. Hotter conditions greeted teams and riders for the remainder of the weekend and qualifying was a closely-fought battle with 0.013s separating the front row riders, led by Stoner on pole. Marco Melandri qualified third for Honda Gresini as four Bridgestone-shod riders filled the top five. Race day was tough for Bridgestone riders with competitive tyre performance not lasting the full race distance. Loris Capirossi scored a fine second place, while Stoner's fifth place nevertheless extended his lead of the championship."