“It's time to pack the bags back up”
The Repsol Honda Team resumes its World Championship campaign this weekend fully refreshed after the summer break and ready to tackle the iconic Brno circuit at the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic.
Round 12 of the 2007 MotoGP
season follows a fourweek break since the U.S. Grand Prix during which time riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa have taken the chance to recharge their batteries after the very busy midseason schedule.
Pedrosa comes to Brno lying in third place in the World Championship and aiming to close the 22-point gap to Valentino Rossi in second. The 21-year-old Spanish ace has a formidable record at the Brno circuit, having finished on the podium on his last five visits to the venue.
Pedrosa has won at Brno on two previous occasions – in 2003 in the 125cc class and in the 250cc series in 2005. Last year during his debut MotoGP season, Pedrosa climbed from ninth on the grid to battle with Rossi for second place, before settling for a creditable third at the flag.
Hayden arrives in the Czech Republic intent on carving out a strong result at a track he likes. The World Champion is looking to maintain the recent form that has seen him finish on the podium in two of the previous three races – in the Netherlands and Germany. Though a first lap incident put paid to his hopes at his home Grand Prix in July, the American – who celebrated his 26th birthday during the summer break – returns refreshed and fully motivated to attack the final seven races of the season.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of racing at the Brno circuit in its current form, though the first World Championship race, held on a longer road-based circuit, took place outside the attractive Czech city in 1965. The 5.403km (3.357-mile) Brno track is the second longest on the MotoGP calendar, with only the 5.548km (3.447-mile) Sepang circuit in Malaysia featuring a longer lap.
Due to the circuit's fast technical nature and the venue's place in the calendar at the end of the summer break, Brno is traditionally used by the MotoGP teams for testing following the Grand Prix. This year the Repsol Honda Team plans to remain in the Czech Republic to conduct two days of testing following Sunday's 22-lap race, which begins at 14.00hrs local time.
“I'm really looking forward to the Brno race because I feel in good condition and ready to go for it again. I've taken some holiday on the beach and spent time relaxing both the mind and the body which was really good, and then I got back into training as normal. I hope that we can find a strong package for Brno and that everything is correct and we can do a good job. The track has been good to me and I've had a couple of wins there so I'm feeling confident. It's a good challenge with high speed corners, both uphill and downhill – plus it's wide which means there's scope to try different lines. The target for the season now is to do as good a job as possible and fight at the front for wins.
I'm not thinking about the championship really because our priority is to make sure we have a competitive package at every race and can challenge at the front. Only then could I be thinking about the championship.”
“Well it's time to pack the bags back up and hit the road again which is good news for me. It's been a nice few weeks off and maybe just what I needed, but the truth is I'm glad the holidays are over because I'm definitely ready to get back on the bike. I can't really say I've been doing anything too exciting during the break – really just chilling out a bit and getting ready to make a start fresh and salvage what we can from the season. I have spent some time down in Florida with my trainer Aldon Baker and his other riders Ricky Carmichael and Ben Townley doing some fitness work, but not much else too exciting to report. Brno is track I quite like – I think most of the guys do because it's pretty exciting with climbs and downhill sections, and even though the surface is getting pretty used it's still got good grip. It's also a track where horsepower is your friend with some big uphill sections and pretty long straights. So it will be exciting to see what HRC brings back to the party this weekend.”