Repsol Honda RC212V riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden roar back into action at Brno following MotoGP's traditional three-weekend summer break.
The Czech Grand Prix commences the crucial second part of the MotoGP season, with just seven of 18 races remaining,
three in Europe and four outside Europe.
The sport's 25 day recess between the US and Czech GPs is no real holiday for the riders – Pedrosa, Hayden and their rivals have all been working through much of the break. Pedrosa has been recuperating from the fractured left wrist and fractured left index finger he suffered at last month's German GP which prevented him from competing in the US GP.
Hayden meanwhile has been training back home in Kentucky, USA, working to keep in prime physical condition. The 2006 MotoGP champ also took part in the Supermoto event at the X Games in Los Angeles. Hayden hurt his right heel when he made a heavy landing during practice for the event on Friday August 1 but is hopeful the injury won't prevent him from riding at Brno. Further details will be released as soon as they are available.
Brno has been part of the World Championship calendar since the mid 1960s, when the nation's grand prix was staged around a 10.92km/6.785 mile street circuit on the outskirts of the city. Mike Hailwood won the 1966 and 1967 500 GPs there on his Honda RC181 four, but eventually the circuit was deemed too dangerous and hosted its last premier-class GP in 1977. It took a decade before the current Brno circuit was completed. Honda has enjoyed great success at this fast, undulating circuit which features many tricky downhill corners that require a perfect chassis set-up. Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Tadayuki Okada, Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau have all won races with Honda at the modern Brno venue.
The Repsol Honda Team will remain at Brno for crucial post-race tests, during which Pedrosa is likely to try the pneumatic-valve RC212V engine that Hayden been using since June's British GP.
“The holiday period gave me a good chance to relax and recover, so I hope I will be fine for Brno.
When I returned from Laguna Seca my doctor told me I needed a week and a half of complete rest. I couldn't train so I spent an enjoyable few days in Mallorca, disconnecting from everything and resting both my hand and foot. I had the stitches removed from my hand in Barcelona and then I started rehabilitation. The hand still hurts but the wrist has good mobility and the fingers are no longer swollen. The foot is still taped, just to avoid rough movements. I started training last week, mostly on my bicycle. I hope I can have a good race at Brno to start the second part of the championship in the best possible way. Brno is a good circuit, with some interesting uphill and downhill sections, very much in the style of the classic circuits. The track is medium speed to very high speed with some good corners and fast straights. It's the kind of circuit that demands a gentle, fine riding style, you don't need to be aggressive when taking the corners. It has just been resurfaced, so we will have to wait and see what the grip is like. The atmosphere is always great, with a big and enthusiastic crowd on race day. Getting the set-up right for this track is always a delicate operation, aiming to get the best compromise between cornering ability and braking stability.”
“Hopefully I'll be fit for Brno. I didn't crash, I just landed wrong. I'm not sure if my foot came off the ‘peg or what, but it feels pretty fragile. I'm pretty bummed out about it because I want to get out there and finish this season strong. Also, I can't wait to try out the new surface at Brno. The last couple of years the surface has gotten quite old, not really bumpy but just so abrasive and cracked, so I think with a brand new surface the track is going to be awesome. I heard they didn't just reseal it, or just put something on top, they did it the right way and started over. That's going to be crucial for tyre wear, so we'll probably have a bigger range of tyres than we normally do, both front and rear, to make sure we've got something. Brno is quite fast and open. It'll be the first time we've taken this new bike – with the pneumatic valves – to any place where we can really stretch its legs and see what she's really got. Brno's got a little bit of everything, it's not the kind of track where you can just set up the bike for just one thing. Good traction is certainly important to get off those corners good because there's a few big straightaways, especially the uphill run to the final left and right. You also need something that's stable on the brakes, because there's a lot of hard braking.”