At the Sachsenring
The Repsol Honda Team travels to Germany this week for round 10 of the MotoGP World Championship at the Sachsenring circuit near Dresden.
Following their strong showing at the previous race in the Netherlands where Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa
scored third and fourth places, the factory Honda squad will be looking to once again take the fight to their MotoGP rivals at the tight and undulating German track.
World Champion Nicky Hayden has hit form in the last two races and is eager to maintain that momentum at a circuit he really likes. The American ace's spectacular ride from thirteenth on the grid to third at the chequered flag in Assen proved that he's gained extra confidence in his 800cc Honda RC212V and is once again ready to battle for the top step of the podium.
What's more, with Hayden's background as a dirt-track champion he's especially strong in fast left-hand corners, of which there are several at Sachsenring. Hayden has taken third place at the German Grand Prix for the previous three seasons and will be more determined than ever to return to the podium again this weekend.
Dani Pedrosa is also looking to take his championship challenge to the next level at Sachsenring and close the gap to leaders Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi. The 21- year-old Spaniard has scored four podium finishes and three fourth places so far in 2007 and lies third in the World Championship. He has yet to take a victory though, and that's something he'll be looking to rectify this weekend.
Pedrosa's record at Sachsenring certainly suggests another strong result is possible. As a MotoGP rookie he took pole position at this event last year and also set the fastest lap of the race. In the 250cc class Pedrosa took victory here in 2004 and 2005 on his way to the second and third of his world titles.
In fact, both Repsol Honda riders view the 2006 race at Sachsenring as one they could have won.
In a thrilling encounter Nicky Hayden crossed the line in third place, with Dani Pedrosa right behind in fourth. Valentino Rossi won from Marco Melandri, with the front quartet covered by just 0.307s – the closest top-four finish in MotoGP history. Dani Pedrosa
“I'm looking forward to another good race at Sachsenring. The track is quite tight and it's a short lap which usually leads to some close racing. Last year the result was not bad and I was very close to the podium, though having set pole position and the fastest lap of the race it was a little frustrating to finish fourth of course. We'll see if we can improve on that this weekend. It'll be interesting to see how the new 800cc machine differs to last year's 990s. We could be quicker through the tight parts of the track, but then again the straight begins by coming out of an uphill corner which will test the engine, so we'll have to wait and see whether the 800s are quicker. This isn't really my favourite track of the season but it's one where I know I can go well and I'll be looking for a good result here this weekend.” Nicky Hayden
“I am very excited to go to Germany because I've found a much better set-up and feeling with the machine recently and it's a lot more fun to be riding up front again. We've still got some work to do if we want to move up to where the real fun is though. I hope we can continue improving the set-up over the weekend and get the bike turning better. Also we need to dial in the clutch a little more to smooth out the corner entry. In the past the Sachsenring has been a good track to me. It's quite tight, short and has been a little bumpy which meant you had to be pretty scrappy to get around there quickly. But I like it – it's got a few fast left-handers and the downhill Waterfall corner is pretty sick. The lap times are always very close as it's a short lap. The word is that the circuit's been repaved for this year which should improve it, so if we can get some good weather to go with it that will be nice. But either way I can't wait to get there.”