Team Preview: Sachsenring MotoGP

Press Release | July 7, 2008

The following is from Yamaha… 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.” The following is from Suzuki… Loris Capirossi is ready to make his Rizla Suzuki MotoGP comeback at the Sachsenring circuit in eastern Germany this weekend as he continues his fight-back to full fitness. Capirossi sustained a large puncture wound in his right arm in an accident at Assen in The Netherlands and was unable to compete in the Dutch TT after Dr Costa and his staff performed an operation to repair the damage. The experienced Italian has worked hard with his own doctors to continue with the healing of the injury and is convinced he is fit enough to return to the GP arena at a circuit that he finished second at last year – a result that is the best finish for Bridgestone at the 3,671m German track. The wound to Capirossi’s arm was the second injury the Italian had suffered in three races, after breaking his right hand at Catalunya. Although that fracture has now fully repaired, the arm injury from Assen is not 100% healed but Capirossi, Suzuki and senior medical staff have all assessed the situation and considered every safety issue before deciding that he is fit to ride. Chris Vermeulen will be looking to improve on his record in Germany which has seen him score a best-placed finish of seventh from his previous two starts. He suffered from a jump-start in last year’s race, resulting in a ride-through penalty, but he showed good race pace over the remaining laps at the complicated circuit and fought his way back through the field. The Australian is in confident mood that the Sachsenring circuit could be the ideal catalyst to kick-start the second half of the season for the Rizla Suzuki team. The Sachsenring track is situated in the town of Hohenstein-Ernstthal, about 80km from Dresden. It was originally a street circuit and when the new track was built it incorporated a part of the old circuit within it, but since recent modifications and alterations have been made to the layout that part of the historic track is no longer used. The anti-clockwise layout is certainly a circuit of two halves; the first part is as tight-and-twisty as any track on the calendar, before it opens out to include a fast downhill section, sweeping bends and a scary right-hand blind crest taken at over 200km/h. Rizla Suzuki MotoGP takes to the track on Friday for two free practice sessions, followed by a further practice session on Saturday morning with a qualifying session in the afternoon. Sunday’s 30-lap race is round 10 of the season and the action gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT). Loris Capirossi: “I just can’t wait to get back on my bike! My arm is still mending and it’s quite painful, but it is strong enough to ride with. Also, I have had lots of good advice about how the injury is repairing, and what I should consider about racing. But I know my own body very well and the experience I have gathered from riding tells me that I will be able to compete at Sachsenring and give it all I’ve got. I have missed three races and it is now important for me to get back on the bike again, not just for myself but for the whole team and for Suzuki! I like Sachsenring and I made a good result there last year that I was really happy about – now I need to get a good result for Suzuki to re-pay them for missing the last three races!” Chris Vermeulen: “Sachsenring is a circuit I really enjoy and I’m looking forward to it as it is such an amazing event. Last year I made a jump start and had to do a ride through penalty, but I got my head down and passed a few other guys, before we lost a bit of grip. The track is one that I think suits the Suzuki well and we should be competitive there from the start. I am looking forward to see how the improvements we have made to the GSV-R will work on the tight twisty track of Sachsenring and that – along with the fact that Bridgestone has worked hard on improving its tyres for this track – should make it possible to push for a good result.”

By Press Release