The Repsol Honda Team travels to the Sachsenring circuit in Germany this week in buoyant mood after Dani Pedrosa's dominant win at the US Grand Prix.
The Spaniard's flag-to-flag victory at the last round at Laguna Seca proved that the Honda RC212V race
machine is now a force to be reckoned with - and that Pedrosa himself is back to his brilliant best.
That's ominous news for Pedrosa's rivals. His excellent record at the short and technical 3.671km (2.280 miles).
Sachsenring track means he arrives in Germany full of confidence and ready to challenge for a repeat of his Laguna win. Pedrosa has scored three previous Grand Prix victories at the German circuit - twice in the 250cc class in 2004 and 2005, and again in MotoGP in 2007 where he obliterated the opposition with a winning margin of over 13 seconds. Though he fell whilst leading last year's wet race, Pedrosa is now approaching full physical fitness again after an injury-hit start to 2009, and will be targeting the top step of the podium this weekend.
"I've had some good results at this track and I take a lot of confidence into the race weekend at Sachsenring because we're probably in the best shape we've been in for a while. The win in Laguna Seca was really important for me and the team because it proves we've been making progress and we now have the pace to win races. However, we can't take anything for granted and I'm sure our rivals will be strong again and determined to fight back”, he said. “I really like the Sachsenring circuit too and, despite what happened last year, I think we can be competitive again here. I've had a good week since Laguna, and it was great to be able to go and see the start of the Tour de France stage in Barcelona on Friday. I've been able to get back in training on the bicycle, and seeing the Tour gave me even more motivation. So I' m feeling confident for this weekend and I'm looking forward to Germany."
His team-mate, Andrea Dovizioso, will be looking to convert his impressive recent pace into the race result he deserves after experiencing some bad luck in the last two races. The Italian has displayed consistent top five speed this season and he too has drawn confidence from Pedrosa's win at Laguna.
With the recent modifications to the RC212V's chassis clearly benefitting the Honda factory machine, Dovizioso will go into the German Grand Prix believing he can run with the frontrunners and battle for the podium.
"I'm very motivated to show my potential and the potential of the machine in Germany because at the last two races we have improved a lot, without getting the results to match”, he said. “The race results in Assen and Laguna were disappointing, but the recent signs have been encouraging, especially in Laguna where we were very close to the leaders and I had a good race pace and a package that meant I was capable of fighting for the front positions. Unfortunately I made a mistake, but it's just something you learn from and move on. I wouldn't say the Sachsenring racetrack is one of my favourites of the year but I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's is quite short, with a very slow first beginning section followed by a very fast second half. The team is getting stronger all the time and I'm confident we can have a good weekend."
The Sachsenring circuit near Dresden in the east of Germany bears interesting similarities to Laguna Seca which hosted the previous round of the championship, being short, running anti-clockwise and featuring dramatic elevation changes. The track starts with a tight, technical first section before plunging downhill through a series of fast left-handers which test both rider courage and machine balance.
As always, a huge crowd is expected as round nine of the MotoGP World Championship gets underway with first practice on Friday at 13.55. Sunday's 30-lap Grand Prix of Germany begins at 14.00.