Fiat Yamaha Team face final push before summer break The Fiat Yamaha Team faces the first half of a transatlantic double-header this weekend as the MotoGP World Championship heads to Germany for the tenth round of the season, followed...
Fiat Yamaha Team face final push before summer break
The Fiat Yamaha Team faces the first half of a transatlantic double-header this weekend as the MotoGP World Championship heads to Germany for the tenth round of the season, followed immediately by a trip to the USA for round eleven. The two races are separated by just seven days and a distance of some 9,400 kilometres, representing a gruelling final push before the four-week summer break.
The Sachsenring circuit traditionally produces close racing and Valentino Rossi has unsurprisingly been involved over recent years, starring in some of the most exciting MotoGP race finishes of all time. The most memorable was in 2006, when the Italian stormed from eleventh on the grid on his Yamaha to lead home the closest top-four ever in MotoGP, separated as they were by just 0.307 seconds. Rossi, who is set to break Max Biaggi's record of 201 consecutive Grand Prix appearances this weekend, has had three other victories at Sachsenring in all classes and he is keen to add to that tally as the season crosses its midseason equator with Dani Pedrosa on the top of the standings - just four points clear of the Italian.
Rossi took time out of his training schedule last weekend to visit Misano for Yamaha Fest, where he was joined for the first time by his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. After recovering his confidence with two sixth place finishes in the last two rounds, the 21-year-old Mallorcan is relaxed and ready to re-ignite his challenge for the top positions at a circuit where he has only once previously made the podium, in the 250cc race in 2006.
Located in the heartland of the former East Germany's once glorious motorcycle racing industry, the Sachsenring is built right next to the old road course, a characteristic the track shares with Brno in the nearby Czech Republic. The second shortest track on the calendar features a series of tight and relatively slow corners juxtaposed with some dazzlingly fast ones - including a stomach-churning downhill right hander which was added in 2003.
Valentino Rossi - No more mistakes
"Last year in Sachsenring I made a mistake and crashed, and at the last race in Assen I also made a mistake, so I hope that I've now had my bad moment for this year! Sachsenring has been a great track for me in the past and it's a great place to race at; it's very tight and twisty but it generally suits the Yamaha very well and in 2006 I had a fantastic race there, winning from 11th. We are going there having lost our championship lead but we're only four points behind so the situation is certainly much better than it was at this point last season. I was disappointed with myself in Assen because I missed a great chance but I have put that behind me and I am completely focused on the next race now. We need to be at 100% from the first practice and hopefully we can have a good weekend with no more mistakes!"
Jorge Lorenzo - Back in training
"I have recently started to train normally again after a gap of two months, which has been quite hard for me and I have been very tired lately! Since the accident in China I haven't been able to use the exercise bike or do proper cardiovascular work until last week, so I am just having to take my regime step-by-step to try to build my strength; I know that building my fitness back up is the best way to return to my former level. Even though it's been a hard time for me through the last two months I think that the crashes have made me stronger mentally; when you win it's easy but when things are going badly, this is when you learn more about yourself and this is very important to make you a better competitor. For the next race I have to keep trying to build my confidence with the bike. Sachsenring is a complicated track and my best result there is only third, but I don't think about statistics when I race. I just want to arrive at Sachsenring feeling relaxed and do my best to enjoy it."
Davide Brivio - Striving for perfection
"We are coming into the second half of the season and it seems the competition is getting harder and harder. Of course, Casey Stoner is in great shape - he has won two consecutive races - and Dani Pedrosa is also very consistent so we have to try to respond. Our target, as always, going into the weekend is the podium but we will work our hardest during practice to try and achieve the maximum on Sunday. I think when our package is at the same level as the others it is difficult to beat Valentino but currently in MotoGP everything has to be perfect. The rider who achieves this is normally able to dominate so we have to do our job in practice. It doesn't mean any more pressure than normal because we always strive for perfection and when you fight for championships this is what you get used to. Basically we will try not to make any mistakes and hope everything is in place for Valentino to fight for victory, as he did a couple of races ago."
Daniele Romagnoli - Positive and optimistic
"It has not been an easy period for Jorge but he is getting more confidence back with every practice session and this is the important thing. Unfortunately his progress wasn't reflected in the race at Assen because the setting was not perfect, specifically in the electronics and the chassis, but we know which areas we need to work on and we are confident we can give him a better package at Sachsenring. It is a different kind of circuit, a different kind of setting and we have to make a clean start on Friday morning. Side grip is very important at Sachsenring because the riders spend a lot of time a maximum angle on the left-hand side, so this is an area we will be looking to strengthen. It is not Jorge's favourite track so I'm sure it will be a difficult Grand Prix but we are all approaching it in a very positive and optimistic way."