MotoGP Preview: Rossi To Return!

Press Release | July 14, 2010

The following is from Yamaha….The Fiat Yamaha Team is reunited at the Sachsenring this weekend, when runaway championship-leader Jorge Lorenzo will be joined by Valentino Rossi after the latter’s six-week absence. Rossi’s recovery from his broken leg in Mugello has gone so well that the reigning World Champion is hoping to return to action earlier than expected, although he will have to receive full approval from the Chief Medical Officer at the circuit tomorrow before he can confirm if he will ride. Wataru Yoshikawa will once again be present and will ride the second M1 if Rossi is unable to.The undulating wooded hills of the Sachsenring brought about another neck-and-neck Fiat Yamaha battle last year, with Lorenzo missing out by the skin of his teeth to his team-mate. This year however Lorenzo comes to the German track as the man-of-the-moment, having won three races on the bounce and an incredible five in total from seven rounds this season. The 23-year-old Mallorcan has only one Sachsenring podium to his name. but he will be planning to add another this weekend as he looks to extend a championship lead that already stands at 52 points.Rossi has missed four races over his injury and currently sits seventh in the championship standings. The 31-year-old has been recovering at home in Italy and has undergone an intensive rehabilitation programme, which has resulted in him being back on a bike earlier than expected. The nine-time champion has produced some masterful displays at the Sachsenring over the years, including a superb race in 2006 when he won from tenth position and he has a total of five wins at the track. The evergreen Italian has had two successful tests on a Yamaha R1 in the last week and has been given the all-clear by his doctors, he just has to await the decision of the event Chief Medic al Officer tomorrow before he can be sure of riding.Wataru Yoshikawa stood in for Rossi at the last round in Catalunya and the Japanese test rider will be present in Germany this weekend and ready to ride if needed. “Though only one month has passed since Mugello, Valentino is back and I am amazed at the marvellous recovery he has made.” Said the 41-year-old. “I respect his decision to try to ride, and it seems from the R1 test he did that he is still very fast! I am ready to ride if I need to, but it will be good if Valentino is back in his rightful place. I have learnt a lot riding the M1 in a racing environment and I think it will be useful in my future development work.”Jorge Lorenzo”A NICE CHALLENGE””Sachsenring is a track that I like, but I’ve never won there. It’s the same for Laguna so I’m excited about these two nice challenges before the holidays! Sachsenring is quite a difficult track, with a lot of ups and downs, and it’s also one of the shortest tracks in MotoGP. We don’t know about the weather, it can be very hot there but it would be better than rain. I’m happy Valentino is back, welcome to him!”Valentino Rossi”LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING BACK””I’m really excited that my doctors think I can ride this weekend. Tomorrow I will see the medical officer and then we will have the final decision. I felt good on the R1 but I know my M1 at the track is a different thing and it will be hard for me, but I miss my bike and my team and I want to try. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone and being back in the paddock; I was tired of being at home! Wataru will be there as well so if there is a problem he will ride my bike again.”Wilco Zeelengerg”WE CAN AFFORD TO BE CAREFUL””Sachsenring is an interesting track and it’s not one that I know, but it seems Yamaha has a good record there. Jorge has never won, in fact he only has one podium, and I don’t think it’s one of his favourites but he is in great form so we have to feel confident of a good weekend. We have won three in a row and I don’t think we can win every time so as usual our target will be to get onto the podium. We have a 52-point lead in the standings so we can afford to be careful and not to take too many risks.”Davide Brivio”HAPPY TO HAVE HIM BACK””Valentino has made big effort to be ready to race in Sachsenring this weekend. He really wanted to be back riding his M1 as soon as he could and so he’s worked hard to make his recovery as quick as possible. We expect him to take a couple of races to be up to speed and competitive at the top after his injury, but it’s very nice to see him back with us.”                  The battle for the 2010 MotoGP World Championship approaches its halfway point this weekend with the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring. Honda MotoGP riders go into this eighth race of 18 events holding three of the top five positions in the points chase, though with plenty more to do to challenge for the top prize.

 The following is from Honda….

Repsol Honda team-mates Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) are currently second and third overall, while impressive privateer Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) is running fifth, ahead of several factory rivals. Current World Championship leader is Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), who has won the last three races.Pedrosa aims to score a hat-trick of podium finishes at the Sachsenring on Sunday. The winner of last month’s Italian GP comes to Germany fresh from second-place finishes at Assen and Catalunya, knowing that Honda’s challenge is growing with every race. Pedrosa has good form at the Sachsenring, with three victories at the track: MotoGP in 2007 and 250s in 2004 and 2005. And, of course, he will have an extra spring in his step this weekend following’s Spain’s first-ever success in the football World Cup!Already four times on the podium this year, Dovizioso is currently enjoying his best-ever season in MotoGP. Two weeks ago at Catalunya he duelled with Lorenzo for his first win of the year, only to slide off. Dovizioso bravely remounted to finish 14th, but his earlier pace proved that the Italian is very close to being able to run race-winning speed aboard his RC212V.Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) has been the talk of the last few races with a series of stunning performances aboard his satellite-spec RC212V. The hard-riding Frenchman has started the last three races from the front row of the grid and at Catalunya rode to a fourth-place finish, his best result of the year so far. At Catalunya HRC rewarded de Puniet’s brilliant commitment with upgraded chassis parts.Team-mates Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) go into this race tied for ninth place in the world championship. The two Italians have had an up-and-down time at the last few GPs, Melandri missing the Assen race after dislocating his left shoulder in practice and rookie Simoncelli sliding off at Catalunya while battling for a best-ever top-six finish. Melandri’s ninth-place result at Catalunya was a remarkable performance, considering the nasty injury he had suffered just a week earlier. Simoncelli is in good spirits despite his fall, especially since he loves the Sachsenring, having won the German 250 GP on his last two visits.While Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) continues on the long road to recovery from the back injury he suffered during British GP warm-up, his place in the Interwetten Honda MotoGP squad has now been taken by Alex de Angelis. At the last two races Aoyama’s place was filled by HRC test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, but experienced MotoGP racer de Angelis will take over from this weekend until Aoyama is ready to return. De Angelis contested the 2008 and 2009 MotoGP seasons for Fausto Gresini’s squad, finishing eighth overall last year and scoring his first premier-class podium finish at the Indianapolis GP.With the halfway point almost reached in the contest for the first-ever Moto2 World Championship, the situation at the top of the points chart is getting tighter. Toni Elias says (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) seized the series lead with wins in the Spanish and French GPs back in May, but the Spaniard hasn’t won a race since, and at the last four events he has been out-performed by Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki). The Swiss rider has yet to score a win in the Honda-powered series, but he goes into the German round on the back of three consecutive podium results, despite a dislocated and broken collarbone. Luthi is currently 17 points behind Elias.Consistency is also paying dividends for Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter) whose third place at Catalunya promoted him to third place in the championship. Like Luthi, Simon has yet to win a Moto2 race, but there is every chance he will be in the running for victory in Germany.German youngster Marcel Schrötter (Interwetten Honda 125 Team) will be gunning for his best result of the year at the Sachsenring, a track he knows from his days on the national championship scene. Schrötter has already scored points on three occasions this season and currently holds fourth place in the 125 Rookies Cup award.The German GP will always hold a special place in Honda’s memory, because it was on German tarmac that the marque scored its maiden premier-class victory at Hockenheim in May 1966. The German GP is now staged at the Sachsenring in an area of Germany that has a strong tradition of motorcycle design and manufacture going back to the early days of the 20th century. This year one of the region’s most famous motorcycling names makes a return to GP racing after an absence of more than three decades. MZ (Motorradwerk Zschopau) was based in nearby Zschopau and was famous for its smaller-capacity two-strokes in the 1960s and 1970s, but later pulled out of racing. This year the recently reborn company has returned to GP racing to contest Moto2 with Australian rider Anthony West.Honda’s first premier-class victory at Hockenheim was won by Jim Redman. The Rhodesian raced the factory’s RC181 inline four to that success in the bike’s debut race, defeating Giacomo Agostini’s MV Agusta by almost half a minute. The East German GP on the original Sachsenring street circuit was one of the few events never conquered by Honda’s 500cc four-strokes during the 1960s. In more recent years, Honda has won 11 premier-class German GPs since the first ‘reunified’ event of 1991; that’s more than any other manufacturer.The current purpose-built Sachsenring circuit was constructed in the mid-1990s, in the early days after reunification. The track hosted its first GP event in 1998. At that time the short circuit was the slowest in GP racing, with a lap speed of just 143km/h (89mph). Revisions for 2000 upped the pace to 150km/h (93mph) and the addition of an extra loop in 2001 (which left out the sole remaining section of the old street circuit) increased lap speeds to the current 160km/h (95mph). Initially deemed too slow for MotoGP, the Sachsenring is now a popular venue with riders. The first few corners are indeed very slow, but then things speed up with a dizzying rush of high-speed left-handers that make up the challenging middle part of the circuit. The last two left-handers – ideal for last-lap passes – follow an awe-inspiringly quick right-hander that is both blind and off-camber.HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTESRepsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says: “It’s been nice to have some rest after three races in a row, but I’m already looking forward to facing the last two races before the summer break. The race at Catalunya was very positive for us, for me personally because I was able to give my friends and fans a good result, and for my team because they worked very hard again and we ended up with a second place – another podium after the one we got in Assen. I want to maintain this momentum and keep moving forward, and fight for the victory in the two next races. In addition, the three races on consecutive weekends we’ve just had helped me to achieve a very good physical condition and I feel really confident now. Sachsenring is a circuit where I enjoy racing and we’ve normally had a good performance there; even in 2008 when I crashed I was leading the race with a good gap, so it makes me feel that we can do well again this weekend. I want to be totally concentrated on not making any mistakes and be to ready to fight for the win. Finally, I want to congratulate the Spanish national football team for winning the World Cup.

I watched the match on TV and it was very emotional!”Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso says: “I’m look forward to racing in Germany again and I believe we can get a strong result this weekend.

In Barcelona we had a very good race pace that allowed us to stay with the leader for two thirds of the race – and this was really positive. At every race this season we are improving – we take one step forward at a time – and now we have to take the final step and really challenge for the win. At the last race in Catalunya we had the pace to fight for the top position and, even though the final result was not good, we can say that we improved a lot and proved that we are almost where we need to be. So, we will continue working towards being able to fight for the win, starting this weekend in Germany. The Sachsenring racetrack is quite short, with a very slow first section followed by a very fast second half.  Usually there are so many spectators all the way through the weekend. They are truly passionate about motorsport and the atmosphere is really good.”


LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet says: “We hope to continue our good work of the recent few races. Things are going well at the moment; it’s a great feeling to fight with the factory bikes and riders. And it’s good to see that HRC believe in us and are giving us some parts which can make a real difference. We will have to wait and see how things go at the Sachsenring. It is not an easy track on a MotoGP bike, so we will have to work very carefully on Friday and Saturday to make the bike as good as it can be for full race distance.”San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri says: “After the satisfaction of finishing the race in ninth place at Barcelona I went through the worst three days since suffering my injury. I have been in so much pain and it has made me realise that the decision not to get back on the bike immediately at Assen was the right one because it would have seriously hindered my recovery. Now I am feeling better and I go to Sachsenring feeling confident and hopeful of improving on that ninth place from Barcelona and getting back to the positions near the front, where I was running before the injury. I like the track – there isn’t a lot of braking so that is a good thing for my current condition, although on the other hand there are a lot of left-handers. It is still one of my favourite circuits, where I have several victories and should have one more from the 125cc race in 1998, when I crashed out of the lead. I won the following year and also took my first 250 win there too. In MotoGP in 2006 I had a great race with Rossi, Hayden and Pedrosa, finishing second just a few thousandths of a second behind Valentino.”San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli says: “At Barcelona I was just a small step away from a great result, which was a shame because it would have been another injection of confidence following up our recent progress. There was frustration after the crash but not disappointment because in any case I was able to see that I can be on the pace near the front. At Sachsenring, a circuit I like, I will try to confirm our recent progress and demonstrate it on track. I have won in Germany for the past two years in 250 and I always seem to get the best out of myself there so I hope I can have another good race and finish it with the result that eluded me in Barcelona.”Interwetten Honda MotoGP rider Alex de Angelis says: “This is a very good chance for me to continue in MotoGP as replacement for Hiroshi Aoyama. I am very, very happy to be getting back on a MotoGP bike. My result last year at Sachsenring was not bad, I finished fifth. I hope I will be able to adapt to this new position very fast and give the team the best result for the coming race as the Sachsenring GP is partly a home race for the team. I am looking forward to it for sure.”The following is from Ducati…Sachsenring is an unusual circuit, extremely tight in places and for the most part slow, twisty and largely unsuitable for the characteristics of a MotoGP bike. However, it remains extremely popular amongst riders and fans alike, with one of the largest and most passionate crowds of the year set to descend on the German track this weekend.Amongst its keenest admirers are the two Ducati MotoGP Team riders, who head into the German Grand Prix with confidence and motivation this weekend. Casey Stoner took the first podium of his career at Sachsenring in the 125cc race in 2003 and eventually followed up with MotoGP victory in 2008. Nicky Hayden, meanwhile, loves the anti-clockwise nature of the track and was on the podium here four times in a row between 2004 and 2007.CASEY STONER, Ducati MotoGP Team

“We have always had pretty good races at Sachsenring, I got my first-ever podium there and I’m definitely looking forward to it. We’re a little more confident with the bike, everything has worked well enough in the last three races and we just need to find a bit more speed – just a few tenths of a second. We have to try a few different things to get some grip without losing the good feeling we have with the bike at the moment. You definitely need good side grip at Sachsenring because through a lot of those long corners you need to keep the gas open as long as possible. Also when 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. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next race because if we can find a good set-up it can give us the opportunity to do well. I want to put some good results together and both myself and the team will be working hard and giving 100% to get them.”

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati MotoGP Team

“It is a very short lap at Sachsenring and the first part of it is very tight and technical, with probably the slowest run of corners on the whole calendar. Turns 1, 2, 3 and 4 are all in first gear – it’s like a car park! The back section is really fast though, with one of the coolest corners in MotoGP, which we call the ‘Waterfall’ – you arrive in fifth gear and nosedive into a blind corner… you have to be decisive there or you can easily lose a few tenths. It is a track I like a lot and on paper it is one of the best on the calendar for me. I really like left-hand corners and this track is full of them, so it is also important that we have dual compound tyres here.”


“Anything is possible at Sachsenring because our team has the ability to do well there. Both our riders like the track and even though it is not one of the fastest it always seems to have favoured the characteristics of the Desmosedici. Nicky has been on the podium there four times in the past and it was at this circuit last year where he began to show signs of progress with an excellent qualifying result. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to repeat it in the race but I would like him to do that this Sunday and I think he has every chance. Casey has always been strong at this track, he won in 2008 and after a tough start to this season he now has a good feeling with the bike and is highly motivated to finish his time with Ducati at the level we have become accustomed to.”THE TRACK

The history of MotoGP World Championship racing at Sachsenring began in 1961, when it was one of the fastest and most popular races on the calendar. However, it was also one of the most dangerous and as a result it was removed from the schedule in 1972. It returned in 1998 as one of the slowest tracks, with an average speed of just 143km/h, but modifications introduced in 2000 brought that speed up to over 150km/h and further adjustments in 2001 increased it to around 159km/h. However, the circuit, which runs anti-clockwise, remains tortuous and twisting – especially in the first sector, and requires good mid-range engine performance. Later in the lap a faster series of left-handers that lead into an incredible blind right require good side grip from the tyres.

By Press Release