On To Sachsenring

Press Release | July 14, 2009

The following is from Ducati…Ducati Marlboro Team take their good team performance from Laguna Seca to Germany this weekend as they prepare for an even tougher challenge than usual. Whilst the recent progress made with the GP9 allowed Casey Stoner to finish at the foot of the podium despite being physically drained and Nicky Hayden to score his best result of the season so far in his home Grand Prix, now the Australian is faced with another battle against his own physical condition, which were confirmed at Laguna Seca as being far from ideal, and the American must back up his improved form and show that development is on the right lines.Stoner stayed on in the United States following the last race to undergo a series of examinations designed at pinpointing the exact nature and cause of his current illness. The examinations have confirmed a slight gastritis and mild anaemia, which left him weak and for which he will continue to receive treatment in the coming weeks as he attempts to recover full strength. Doctors are sure that with the right treatment he will be back to full fitness in a matter of weeks.LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP Project Director

“This is a delicate time for Casey but we know he is made of stern stuff. He will continue to fight like a lion, as he has done in the past few races, even though the crash at Laguna left hits mark on him and that certainly won’t help. Nicky again rides at a circuit where he has always gone well at in the past and I’m sure he will be able to confirm that the improvement made at Laguna is only the start!”


CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team (3rd in the championship on 135 points)”I have been in USA until Saturday to do all the tests. First of all I’d like to thanks all the Doctors involved in this, Dr. Ting and Dr. Tuan in the Fremont Surgery Center, Dr. Macchiagodena, Dr. Catani, Dr. Ceccarelli and of course my physiotherapist Freddy. Hopefully step by step I will feel better with their indications. I still don’t feel like I am 100% but the biggest problem now is the ribs that are very painful after the crash in the USA GP Qualifying. It will be probably another hard week end, but as always, we will do our best to stay as much as possible close to the lead of the Championship”.NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team (12th in the championship on 38 points)”We have made some real progress the last few weeks and I hope we can keep it going because bringing up the rear of the pack is not fun. We still have a big gap to the front guys so we have a lot of work to do to close that down and we must stay very focused. Germany is another small, twisty track with lap times almost exactly the same as Laguna – in fact they are the two shortest tracks on the tour – but it’s a track I like and where I have gone well at in the past. The first section is super tight and is the part I think will be the hardest for me on our bike, but I hope to be strong in the second half, which includes the ‘waterfall’ corner,’ which is about as good as it gets if you like fast, blind corners that take your breath away! Normally in Germany on race day it’s a completely full house with fans stacked everywhere so that makes for a great atmosphere!”THE TRACK

The history of MotoGP World Championship racing at Sachsenring can be divided into two parts – the first from 1961 to 1972, when the original road circuit of almost nine kilometres played host to the East German Grand Prix and the second, modern, era beginning just over a decade ago in 1998. Initially a high-speed road circuit, it was removed from the calendar because it was deemed to be too dangerous so it is ironic that it returned as the slowest track, with an average speed of just 143km/h. Modifications introduced in 2000 and 2001 brought that speed up to 159km/h but the track is the second shortest behind Laguna Seca, the only other current venue that measures less than four kilometres in length. However, that is not the only peculiarity about Sachsenring, where a tortuous sequence of twisting corners gives the riders fewer opportunities to fully open the throttle than anywhere else in the world. Indeed, the first section is a veritable tangle of turns before a faster series of left-handers that lead into an incredible blind right, followed by a dramatic descent and a braking zone that always provides the best opportunity to make an overtake stick.The following is from Yamaha…After their American foray to Laguna Seca just ten days ago, the Fiat Yamaha Team is preparing for a return to European shores with the first of a double-header of races this weekend at the Sachsenring in Germany. It will be the start of a tough fortnight for the riders, with this race followed immediately by the British Grand Prix at Donington. Now at its halfway point, the MotoGP World Championship remains tight at the top but Fiat Yamaha continues to lead the way with Valentino Rossi nine points ahead of 22-year-old team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who in turn holds an advantage of seven points over Casey Stoner.The wooded hills of the Sachsenring have produced some stunning racing over recent years, not least in 2006 when Rossi started from 10th to produce a master class of overtaking and lead home the closest ever finish in MotoGP, with the top four separated by just 0.307 seconds. The 30-year-old has three other wins at the German track and last year finished an important second in torrential rain as several riders slid out. With three wins under his belt so far this season he will be hoping for career victory number 101 this weekend, as he looks to extend his lead at the top of the standings and give himself some breathing space as the paddock goes into its summer break in two week’s time.Mallorcan-born Lorenzo put up a brilliant performance last time out in the States to finish third after a crash in qualifying left him with a separated shoulder and a badly bruised foot. A week of rest at home in Barcelona has left him in better shape and, while he does not expect to be back to full fitness this weekend, he is confident that with the help of the Mobile Clinic he will be able to play a major part in the weekend’s proceedings. Last year he slid out early on in the rain-struck race and with only one previous podium at the Sachsenring to his name, he will be looking to improve his German record this weekend with a trip to the podium despite his injuries.Located in the heartland of the former East Germany’s once illustrious 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, which the paddock will visit in mid August. It is the second shortest track on the calendar and features a series of tight and relatively slow corners mixed in with some dazzlingly fast ones – including a stomach-churning downhill right hander which was added in 2003.Valentino Rossi – “Rested and recharged”

“Thank goodness we’ve had some time to rest after the last two races because I was really quite tired after Laguna! The next two races are back to back and again it will be very hard, and it’s also a very important stage of the championship, the halfway point. Sachsenring isn’t one of my favourite tracks but I’ve had some great races there and generally it suits Yamaha well, which is good. We need another good result to keep our lead because our rivals are so strong and we can’t afford to make any mistakes. Last year there was a lot of rain in Germany but in fact we were able to take a great second place. I hope this year we can go one better.”Jorge Lorenzo – “In better shape”

“Germany is one of the circuits where I’ve never done particularly well, in fact I’ve only had one podium there, in 2006 when I was third in 250cc. Last year it rained a lot and unfortunately I fell on the third lap, so it wasn’t a weekend to remember but I hope this one will be very different. Following my injuries in Laguna Seca, I am feeling a lot better after a week of rest but I won’t be at 100% this weekend; I have some pain in my foot when walking and also in my shoulder joint, so the first thing I will do when I get to Sachsenring is go to the Clinica Mobile! My aim as ever this weekend is to be on the podium and to try to get as many points as possible compared to the rivals that are in front of me.”Davide Brivio – “A positive moment”

“Sachsenring isn’t one of our favourites but we’re going there after good results in the last few races and we’re enjoying a positive moment so hopefully we can continue the momentum this weekend. As always our first target is the podium and we’ve achieved this at all but one race this season so we will look to continue that trend! Last year it was very wet in Germany but we were able to take an important second place, which gave Valentino key points for his championship battle. This time we arrive in the lead but we have to maintain focus because these are two very important races before the summer break and it’s important to everyone that we go into the ‘holiday’ at the top.”Daniele Romagnoli – “An exciting stage”

“We’re happy to report that Jorge’s condition is a lot better after a week of rest. He won’t be in perfect condition but he will be a lot stronger and therefore able to push harder on the bike this weekend than he could in Laguna. In America Jorge showed once again that he has a great determination to achieve his potential whatever condition he is in and so we hope that in Germany we can be in good shape once again, be at the front and fight for the podium. We need to try to recover some points as we look to the summer break. It’s an exciting stage of the championship and everyone is dedicated to our goal and working very hard.”The following is from Repsol Honda…The Repsol Honda Team travels to the Sachsenring circuit in Germany this week in buoyant mood after Dani Pedrosa’s dominant win at the US Grand Prix. The Spaniard’s flag-to-flag victory at the last round at Laguna Seca proved that the Honda RC212V race machine is now a force to be reckoned with – and that Pedrosa himself is back to his brilliant best.That’s ominous news for Pedrosa’s rivals. His excellent record at the short and technical 3.671km (2.280 miles) Sachsenring track means he arrives in Germany full of confidence and ready to challenge for a repeat of his Laguna win. Pedrosa has scored three previous Grand Prix victories at the German circuit – twice in the 250cc class in 2004 and 2005, and again in MotoGP in 2007 where he obliterated the opposition with a winning margin of over 13 seconds. Though he fell whilst leading last year’s wet race, Pedrosa is now approaching full physical fitness again after an injury-hit start to 2009, and will be targeting the top step of the podium this weekend.His team-mate, Andrea Dovizioso, will be looking to convert his impressive recent pace into the race result he deserves after experiencing some bad luck in the last two races. The Italian has displayed consistent top five speed this season and he too has drawn confidence from Pedrosa’s win at Laguna. With the recent modifications to the RC212V’s chassis clearly benefitting the Honda factory machine, Dovizioso will go into the German Grand Prix believing he can run with the frontrunners and battle for the podium.The Sachsenring circuit near Dresden in the east of Germany bears interesting similarities to Laguna Seca which hosted the previous round of the championship, being short, running anti-clockwise and featuring dramatic elevation changes. The track starts with a tight, technical first section before plunging down hill through a series of fast left-handers which test both rider courage and machine balance. As always, a huge crowd is expected as round nine of the MotoGP World Championship gets underway with first practice on Friday at 13.55. Sunday’s 30-lap Grand Prix of Germany begins at 14.00.DANI PEDROSA – World championship position: 4th

“I’ve had some good results at this track and I take a lot of confidence into the race weekend at Sachsenring because we’re probably in the best shape we’ve been in for a while. The win in Laguna Seca was really important for me and the team because it proves we’ve been making progress and we now have the pace to win races. However, we can’t take anything for granted and I’m sure our rivals will be strong again and determined to fight back. I really like the Sachsenring circuit too and, despite what happened last year, I think we can be competitive again here. I’ve had a good week since Laguna, and it was great to be able to go and see the start of the Tour de France stage in Barcelona on Friday. I’ve been able to get back in training on the bicycle, and seeing the Tour gave me even more motivation. So I’m feeling confident for this weekend and I’m looking forward to Germany.”ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World championship position: 6th

“I’m very motivated to show my potential and the potential of the machine in Germany because at the last two races we have improved a lot, without getting the results to match. The race results in Assen and Laguna were disappointing, but the recent signs have been encouraging, especially in Laguna where we were very close to the leaders and I had a good race pace and a package that meant I was capable of fighting for the front positions. Unfortunately I made a mistake, but it’s just something you learn from and move on. I wouldn’t say the Sachsenring racetrack is one of my favourites of the year but I’m looking forward to the challenge. It’s is quite short, with a very slow first beginning section followed by a very fast second half. The team is getting stronger all the time and I’m confident we can have a good weekend.”The following is from Suzuki…Rizla Suzuki is on the way to the eastern German circuit at Sachsenring in a determined mood to find the breakthrough that will give the team its first podium of the season.Following recent good results in Europe – where Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen scored three successive fifth place finishes between them – the last Grand Prix at Laguna Seca proved to be a tough weekend and the team is focused on maximising its potential in Germany.Vermeulen scored a fantastic wet-weather podium at the 3,671m Sachsenring circuit in 2008 and is planning to try and repeat that achievement this season – whatever the conditions. Capirossi was still suffering with a severe arm injury at last year’s German Grand Prix, but that didn’t stop him battling until the end of the 30-lap race and overtaking Randy De Puniet on the very last corner to give him a hard-earned – and painful – seventh.Sachsenring is situated near the town of Hohenstein-Ernstthal in eastern Germany, approximately 85 kms from Dresden. It is close to the borders of both the Czech Republic and Poland, and this – allied to a huge German fan-base – adds to an amazing event with over 200,000 spectators expected to pass through the gates during the weekend. The track itself features many long corners, most of them taken at high lean angle and on the left-hand-side of the tyre. The main distinguishing feature of the track is a high-speed section that starts with a blind crest which flows steeply downhill before braking for a hard left-hand turn at the bottom of the hill. With the early part of the track being as twisty as any circuit on the MotoGP calendar, the layout gives the riders, teams and especially Bridgestone a huge challenge to get the best performance from the tyre options available.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP will take to the track on Friday for the first of two free practice sessions, followed by the second on Saturday morning. Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon to decide grid positions for round nine of the MotoGP World Championship that gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 19th July.Chris Vermeulen:

“The last race was very disappointing as we had such high hopes for Laguna, but we must learn from that and move forward in Germany. I got a third at Sachsenring last year and although that was in the wet I am sure we can try and repeat that this year in whatever weather we have to contend with. The bike is still working well and seems to improve every time we go out on it The crew have got a good base package and if that works from the start at Sachsenring – and we can get the tyres to match the bike – then I see no reason why we can’t be competitive from the first day.”Loris Capirossi:

“The last couple of races have been a bit tough on us, which has been pretty difficult as we have worked so hard to get everything right. The crew have certainly been giving all they can and we just didn’t get the solutions we were looking for. We have still managed to learn a lot of things about how the Suzuki GSV-R behaves in different situations and on different types of Bridgestone tyres, so all that will be very useful to us in Germany. Sachsenring is not a track that needs a lot of power and speed, but it does require careful balance because you are on the side of the tyre so much. I got podium at Sachsenring in 2007 and I’ve also had a couple of other good results there. It is a track that I certainly enjoy racing at and believe that we can do well at – we will just have to see what happens this weekend!”

By Press Release