“We must keep our heads down”
The Ducati Marlboro Team travels to Brno to commence the second part of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship with Casey Stoner leading the riders' World Championship, Ducati ahead in the constructors' series and the team itself heading the teams'
Following the sport's traditional three-week summer break, Stoner brings an impressive 44-point lead to the Czech Republic but the Australian is determined to keep pushing to add to his tally of six race victories as he pursues motorcycling's greatest prize.
Team-mate Capirossi is also looking forward to returning to action at Brno, where he won last year's Czech GP in superb style.
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project director
"It's good to be starting the second part of the season with Casey leading the riders' championship and with us leading the teams' and constructors' championships. But we must keep our heads down and work to give Casey and Loris the best we can at every race. Over the past couple of years the second part of the season has traditionally been the best for our package. But this year the new tyre rule changes everything. So sometimes we might arrive at a track where we expect to be competitive and we have a tough weekend, and sometimes the opposite, like Laguna Seca, where we had a great weekend despite having struggled there in the past. So we will take each race as it comes, just like we did during the first part of this season.
CASEY STONER, World Championship leader on 221 points
"It's good to be going racing again after getting back to Australia for a bit during the summer break. I want to keep pushing and win more races, that's my plan. I've always had very good results at Brno, I like the circuit a lot. It's another of those fast, flowing circuits, a little bit like Mugello and Phillip Island, so it's always been one of my favourites. But we'll have to see how we go when we get there. I'm not saying I'm going be any faster there than anywhere else, but I do really enjoy the circuit. Looking at the Ducati and Bridgestone package, Loris did really well at Brno last year, but saying that he also did really well at Jerez last year and we kind of struggled a bit at Jerez at the start of this season, so we just have to wait and see how it'll be. Anyway, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to find out all the bugs and we hope to be strong again on race day."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, 8th overall on 77 points
"I feel ready to start the second part of the season and continue the good direction we found at the last couple of races. Of course, I love Brno, I won there last year and for sure it is one of my best tracks. I love to ride the circuit because it's a fast track with plenty of fast corners, but it is also quite complicated with some downhill sections and some uphill sections, so you need to make the bike work well there, you need a balanced machine to give you the confidence. We rode the 800 for the first time at Brno last year, so it will be interesting to go back there because the bike has come a long way, it's very different now. You also need good horsepower at Brno. I think we will probably start practice with two different engine specs - the standard spec plus the new spec we first used a few races ago - then we will decide which spec to use for the race."
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 machine performance to the limit. Most riders love the place because it's challenging and also because it's pretty fast.
But Brno's most significant characteristic is its constant changes of elevation - the circuit weaves its way across forested hillsides outside the Czech Republic's second city - 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 slower venues, really get moving.