“We aim to recover as many points as possible”
The MotoGP World Championship crosses its season equator next weekend as round ten of eighteen sees the Fiat Yamaha Team land in Germany for the first of another gruelling double-header.
The trucks and hospitality units
have made the short trip across the Dutch border from Assen to the Sachsenring circuit, where Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards will continue their challenge for maximum points, before leaving the teams and riders to take to the skies for the transatlantic trip to California and the US Grand Prix just seven days later.
The Fiat Yamaha Team arrives in Germany on a high following a morale-boosting victory for Rossi in Holland, where the Italian closed the gap on current series leader Casey Stoner to 21 points. That remarkable race was the third time Rossi has won from a qualifying position of eleventh - more times than any other rider in the history of the sport.
The first of his memorable charges came at Donington in 2001, when he crossed the line 1.794 seconds ahead of Max Biaggi, whilst his second came, coincidentally, at Sachsenring last year. After qualifying eleventh, only to be bumped up to tenth on the grid after Stoner was ruled out through injury, Rossi charged through to the lead before the halfway stage and then held off three rivals in a dramatic charge to the line that ended in the closest ever finish in MotoGP history, with just 0.307 seconds covering the first four riders.
Rossi's fifth Grand Prix win at the circuit sparked wild celebrations amongst the Italian fans, who had already celebrated on German soil just seven days previously, when their national football team won the World Cup with a dramatic victory against France in Berlin.
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 current circuit could not be more different, its ultra-modern nature showing in its relatively slow lap times, with slow corners juxtaposed with some dazzlingly fast ones - including a stomach-churning downhill right hander which was added in 2003.
Fiat Yamaha Team Director Davide Brivio says his staff were buoyed by Rossi's victory at Assen - not only because of the spine-tingling nature of his ride but also the technical progress made behind the scenes with Yamaha's technical partners. Rossi has now won each of the last two races held in dry conditions and clearly demonstrated the improvements being made with the speed of the YZR-M1 and the competitiveness of Michelin's slick tyres.
"The win at Assen was very good for our confidence levels and has given us extra motivation to take into the second half of the championship", says Brivio.
"It was a special performance from Valentino but above all it was gratifying for the whole team to see the progress we have made together with Michelin to get our bike working at its optimum level in dry conditions because this is something we have worked extremely hard towards over the past few weeks.”
"The characteristics of the circuit seemed to suit the bike but we are confident we can keep this level of performance going now at Sachsenring and Laguna Seca as we aim to recover as many points as possible. Colin had an excellent race at Donington but struggled to repeat that at Assen so hopefully he too can benefit from these improvements now. We will certainly be doing our best to help him get a good result and get him ready for his home race just seven days later!"