MotoGP Preview: Brno, Brno, Brno

Press Release | August 10, 2010

The following is from Yamaha…After a well-earned two-week summer break, the Fiat Yamaha Team will reform at Brno in the Czech Republic this weekend as the second half of the 18-race MotoGP season gets underway. Jorge Lorenzo lands in eastern Europe as the runaway championship leader and his team-mate Valentino Rossi is hoping to be back to his best after the time off has given him further opportunity to recover from the broken leg and injured shoulder he sustained earlier in the season.Lorenzo has won an incredible six out of nine races so far this season and come second in the remainder and he signed off the for the summer break in the best possible frame of mind, having won commandingly at Laguna Seca last time out. The 23-year-old has spent time fitness training and relaxing in the Dominican Republic during the holidays and is looking forward to getting back to the business of racing this weekend. He has three wins at Brno to his name, one in 125cc and two in 250cc, but he has had little luck there in MotoGP and last year he crashed out when sparring for the lead with Rossi, something he will be hoping to forget this time around.Brno is an historic track for World Champion Rossi as it was there that he took the first of his 104 Grand Prix wins, in the 125cc class in 1996. Since then he has gone on to take a further six wins at the track, five of them in MotoGP and including the last two years. The 31-year-old Italian made a sensational return to the podium at Laguna Seca only seven weeks after breaking his leg but he was not yet back to peak physical condition. A two -week holiday has given the nine-time champion another chance to work on his strength and fitness and he hopes to be in much better shape at this race and ready to mount a challenge for race wins over the remaining half of the season.A Grand Prix was first held on the Brno road circuit in 1965 and since then over 40 World Championship races have been contested there. Today the modern track retains much of the character of the original road circuit, with its winding chicanes and dramatic elevation changes and it is a favourite track with the riders, often bringing as it does fast and close racing.Jorge Lorenzo – “Targeting a first Brno MotoGP podium”

“The holidays were perfect. Ten days in the Caribbean for rest and fun, charging the batteries for the second half of the season. I needed it because the calendar has been busy in the last month and now I can focus on the rest of the season. We are going to Brno, a track I like and where I’ve won three times, but never in MotoGP. I haven’t even got a podium here and this is my challenge, my first podium in the second part of the season and in Brno. Czech Republic is a nice country, with amazing people at the race and also the track is impressive, fast and with some good hills. After the race I will stay in Brno to try something new on the bike, something to improve our bike until the end of championship. Good place to restart!”Valentino Rossi – “Aiming for a good second half!”

“I’ve had a good break and it’s helped me a lot to have this time to work on my physical condition. I’m feeling good about my leg and my shoulder and I hope that this weekend I’ll be feeling much stronger. Brno is a great track for me and it’s always special because it’s the first place I ever won at. Last year I had a great race, this year will be harder because I’m not completely fit yet but I am looking forward to getting back on the bike. We have half the season still to go and our aim is to have a good second half!”Wilco Zeelenberg – “Thinking about the podium and points”

“We already had a bit of a look at what happened last year and we’ve watched the race together. Jorge likes the track very much and he was in good shape, fighting with Valentino, but the crash was his mistake because he pushed a bit too far. This year however things are very different and he has a big cushion in the championship so he can relax, think about the podium and taking the maximum points he can in order to keep a comfortable lead.”

Davide Brivio – “We are ahead of ourselves!”

“We are about to start the second part of season and we are quite excited about it. Valentino has been working hard on his recovery and, although he won’t be at 100% yet at Brno, we are ahead of ourselves because after the initial injury we thought he wouldn’t be back until this race. It has been very important to be back in the last two races to get back to race pace. Now we will work towards a great end of the season, waiting to see Valentino fighting again for the victories. Brno will be the first real step of his recovery”

The following is from Honda…The 2010 MotoGP World Championship reconvenes at Brno this weekend, the traditional starting point for the second half of the World Championship calendar following the sport’s brief midseason hiatus.As usual, Honda’s MotoGP horde will be led by the Repsol Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V), who currently hold second and third places in the World Championship. Team-mates Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) are also flying high, Melandri on the mend following a recent injury and rookie Simoncelli showing glimmers of greatness at the last few races. Honda’s other two MotoGP entries have been troubled by injury. Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) is recuperating from the broken leg he sustained at last month’s German GP and is hoping to ride this weekend. Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) is still out of action, his place once again taken by Alex de Angelis.Sunday’s race is followed by an important all-teams MotoGP test session on Monday, the last tests this season and traditionally the moment that teams start evaluating solutions for the following year. After that, MotoGP returns to the USA for the Indianapolis GP on August 29 then rushes back to Europe for the San Marino GP on September 5.Pedrosa is anxious to get back on track following July’s United States Grand Prix, where he looked capable of scoring his third victory of the season until he slid out of the lead. Victory in that race would have kept the Spaniard very much in the title hunt, but the tumble leaves him 72 points behind series leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) with nine races to go. The championship is not an impossibility, but it is certainly unlikely unless Lorenzo encounters problems.Pedrosa traditionally goes well at Brno. He has scored two victories at the magnificent Czech venue (the 125 GP in 2003 and the 250 GP in 2005) and has also stood twice on the Brno podium during his MotoGP career – second last year and third in 2006.Team-mate Dovizioso has yet to taste podium champagne in the MotoGP class at Brno, but he has twice scored top-three finishes at the track in 250s – in 2006 and 2007 – and is looking forward to another podium chance this weekend. Dovizioso is having a great 2010 season, with four top-three finishes already. At Laguna Seca last month the Italian finished fourth after bravely bidding to take third place off Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) at the very last corner.Melandri and Simoncelli are both keen to get back to work so they can make further progress with the crucial electronics updates they received at Laguna. Melandri was particularly happy to have some time off after the US GP to undergo further physio on the left shoulder he dislocated at June’s Dutch TT. Since that fall he hasn’t been strong enough to fully exploit the performance of his RC212V, but he is hopeful that he will be close to 100 per cent fit this weekend. Melandri certainly has good form at Brno – he won the 125 GP at the track in 1998 and 1999 and the 250 GP in 2002 – though he has yet to make the podium in the big class.MotoGP rookie Simoncelli has more recent success at Brno – in fact he won on his last visit, taking an impressive 250 GP win last August. The

2008 250 World Champion has been showing super speed and aggression during his last few MotoGP rides. He did slide off during the race at Laguna, but he is definitely on an upward curve.De Puniet has been working hard to recover from the broken left tibia and fibula he sustained during the German GP on July 18. The Frenchman, who had been on a roll until the accident – scoring front-row starts and podiums on his satellite-spec RC212V – underwent surgery in Germany and has since been undergoing an intensive rehabilitation programme. He will be at Brno, where doctors will decide on Thursday whether he is fit to ride.While the vast majority of the MotoGP grid contests their tenth MotoGP race of the 2010 season, de Angelis rides only his third race in the class. The San Marino rider started 2010 in the Moto2 series, but was brought back into the premier category shortly after Aoyama broke a vertebra at Silverstone in June. De Angelis rode his first races on the team’s RC212V in Germany and the United States, scoring 12th place finishes on both occasions. The former 250 GP winner knows that he still needs more time on the bike to fully get up to speed, so Brno will be a vital weekend for him.The inaugural Moto2 World Championship resumes at Brno after its four week summer recess. The intermediate category wasn’t included in the US GP programme, so its riders have been resting and readying themselves for this race since the German GP on July 18. No doubt they will all be raring to go on Friday afternoon, and none more so than current leader Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki), who returned to his winning ways at the Sachsenring after a victory ‘drought’ that lasted almost two months. Elias has led the series since he scored the second of his first two wins at May’s French GP, but he then went four races without another victory. The German GP success has got the Spaniard back in the groove and he will be looking for more success at Brno, where he scored MotoGP podiums in 2008 and 2009.Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki) still holds second place in the Moto2 championship despite falling during the last race in Germany. Apart from that DNF, the Swiss rider has so far proved one of the most consistent performers in this topsy-turvy championship, with four podium finishes from the first eight races.Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) has been the biggest find of Moto2, the Italian often the fastest rider on the track. So far he is the only rider who has been able to run away at the front of the pace to win by a large margin. He won like that at Mugello and Assen and seemed set for another runaway win at the Sachsenring, until Elias hunted his down and passed him.Brno is a masterpiece of a motorcycle racing circuit. Constructed in the mid-1980s, it eschews the modern fashion of tight turns and hairpins for a mighty mix of fast sweepers and undulating corners that test rider talent and engineering to the limit. Most riders love the place because it’s challenging and also because it’s very fast.But Brno’s most significant characteristic is its constant changes of elevation – the circuit weaves its way across forested hillsides – which means that many of the turns are steeply cambered. Dealing with negative camber corners requires a perfectly set-up machine, deft riding skills and especially crucial input from tyre engineers. Horsepower is also a major consideration at Brno because this is one racetrack where MotoGP bikes, usually caged in by mostly slower venues, really get moving.The circuit was built to replace Brno’s treacherous street circuit that had hosted GPs since the mid-1960s; you still pass the old pit complex on the way from the city centre to the current venue.

Honda has experienced success with all kinds of premier-class machinery at Brno, from its RC181 four-stroke to the NSR500 two-stroke and RC211V four-stroke MotoGP bike. Mike Hailwood won the 1966 and 1967 Czech GPs around the old street circuit. Since the new circuit hosted its first GP in 1987, Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Alex Criville, Tadayuki Okada, Sete Gibernau and Valentino Rossi have also won for Honda at Brno.

HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTESRepsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says: “This has definitely been one of my best summer breaks of the last few years. I did nothing special, but I had a great time with my friends, enjoyed a lot surfing on the beach and was able to think only about having fun and relaxing, rather than working to recover from an injury, as has been the case in the last few years. It makes a big difference in order to recharge the batteries and go into the second part of the season with even more energy. Now I’m really looking forward to getting back on the bike at Brno. It’s one of the most difficult circuits on the calendar; physically it’s very demanding, but it’s also very enjoyable to ride on a MotoGP bike. You have everything there: big elevation changes, very fast corners where you need to let the bike run through, and also hard braking zones where stability is very important. I would say that there is only one good line, so it’s crucial to be focused during the whole lap to get a good lap time – and it’s a very long circuit. I’ve had many podiums in Brno, including two wins, so I would like to add another one in MotoGP. It’s going to be a busy weekend for everybody, not only with the race but also because we stay on Monday for testing. It’s the only test day remaining this season so we have to make sure we do a good job to help us in the upcoming races.”Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso says: “We are very motivated for the next race at Brno and I’m confident that we can get a good result. Our target is to fight for second position in the championship, and so to do that we have to be up there battling for race wins every Sunday starting from this Grand Prix. I’m looking forward to this race weekend and also to the test on Monday because that will be really important for us. We will have the opportunity to test some new material and it will be a good opportunity to make some further progress. Brno is a fast and challenging circuit. There are also many long turns that are quite demanding and you need to quickly adapt your riding style to the characteristics of the track and the technical nature of the layout. The atmosphere generated by the spectators on the banks and hillsides is always very special and it’s a circuit I enjoy racing at. I’m feeling good going into the weekend after a having some time away from the MotoGP paddock. I spent the two weeks of the summer break at the seaside not far from where I live, with my friends, my family and Sara, my little daughter. Now I’m ready to get back on track.”LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet says: “Laguna was the first GP I’ve watched on TV since my debut. It was a bit hard for me to just watch, but in the meantime it was good to me to take some rest. A couple of days after the surgery I left the hospital in Germany to begin the hyperbaric chamber sessions in Saint Marguerite Hospital in Marseilles under the supervision of Dr. Mathieu Coulange and his team. This machine increases both the pressure and oxygen levels to help repair the tissues of the body at a faster rate. Then I moved to Cannes to pursue my

rehabilitation supported by Doctor Marc Saramito and the physiotherapist Bernard Achou. I made ultrasound sessions to strengthen my bones a little more. Then I moved back home in Andorra, pursuing the ultrasound sessions with a domestic machine and I finally started to do some sports.

Every day I go to the gym for cycling and I am training the top of my body with rubber bands and exercises. The doctors are always surprised with the speed with which I recover, and I have to admit that I am as surprised as they are! I use my crutches less and less. I still hope to be back for Brno, however the final decision will be made at Brno on Thursday when the circuit doctor together with Doctor Costa will examine my leg and my overall physical condition.”San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri says: “I expected to do better at Laguna Seca but unfortunately I was forced to accept that physically I wasn’t up to it. My shoulder wasn’t painful during the race but after ten laps I was exhausted. I had no feeling on the way into the corners and I couldn’t ride as fast as I’d hoped. Since then I took a short holiday near the sea but I’ve continued with constant physiotherapy in the hope that I can be back to full fitness for Brno. I like the circuit and if I have recovered as well as I hope and I can stay strong over race distance then I should be fighting near the front. I am not happy with the current situation because I don’t like to be making up the numbers in MotoGP!”San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli says: “The crash at Laguna left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. To be honest, after practice and qualifying I thought I could do really well, but I struggled more than I expected in the race and then I crashed, which wasn’t good. Whenever that happens you head home with your tail between your legs, but I took a short break in Sardinia and then began to prepare myself for this weekend because it is going to be a very important Grand Prix for me. Brno is a circuit I like a lot and I have always had good races there – especially the last two years, finishing third in 2008 and winning last year [in the 250cc class]. The Czech Republic has been kind to me in the past so I hope I can be strong again this weekend. We have more confidence now with the electronics package given to us by Honda in America, so we should get more performance out of the bike. “Interwetten Honda MotoGP rider Alex de Angelis says: “I am happy that once again I am on a MotoGP Honda in Brno. Honda will give me some new electronic parts which will help to make the set-up of the bike easier. The test after Brno will be very important for me to get a better feeling with the bike. Now there are at least two races remaining for me in MotoGP and I hope that they will be better than the two before. Brno is a very fast track and I like to go fast, so I hope I can get the team a better result.”

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