The Repsol Honda Team heads to the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic this week in excellent shape and fully primed for the second phase of the MotoGP season.
With two victories from the last three races - one apiece for Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso - the factory Honda
squad has hit form and will be looking for further success at the dramatic Brno circuit which traditionally hosts the first race after the World Championship's short summer break.
Andrea Dovizioso comes into the weekend still on a high from his perfectly executed victory at the British Grand Prix three weekends ago. The 23-year-old fulfilled the promise he has showed all season by demonstrating his brilliance in the treacherous conditions at Donington and scoring his debut MotoGP win. Boosted by that important landmark, the 2004 125cc World Champion is now determined to repeat the performance in dry conditions and establish himself as a regular challenger for the top step of the podium.
Dovizioso has taken second place three times on his six previous visits to Brno and, with the extra confidence of a MotoGP race win under his belt, will be holding nothing back to go one better this weekend.
“I'm sure that me and the team arrive in Brno in a very positive mood thanks to the victory in the last race at Donington Park. I'm very motivated and I'm really looking forward to the race, and also to the test session on Monday because that should be valuable for us”, he said. “I spent the two weeks of the summer break at the seaside not far from where I live and I had the possibility to relax, spend some time with my friends and also do some training ready for this weekend because Brno is a difficult and physical track. It's a very fast circuit and I'm confident that our package can work well - in particular that we can make good use of the power of our engine. There are also many long turns that are quite demanding and you definitely need to quickly adjust your riding style to the characteristics of the track. I like the nature of this circuit, and the atmosphere created by the crowds of spectators on the hillsides is very special.”
Dani Pedrosa arrives in Brno targeting his second victory of the season after an impressive surge in recent performance. The Spaniard has been on the podium in two of the last three races, with a dominant win at Laguna Seca followed by a third place in Germany. He also looked like a potential winner at Donington before the race-day weather intervened. Having made use of the summer break to claw himself back to full fitness, the 23-year-old is now in a position to ride to his full potential and fight for victories at every race.
Brno is a circuit he likes too, with two victories and five podiums to his name here in the smaller Grand Prix formulae indicating that Pedrosa is odd-on to be in contention come Sunday.
“It was a short summer break, but it was long enough for me to get back into training properly and build my fitness to close to 100 per cent. So I'm feeling ready for the second half of the season and I'm really looking forward to getting back on the bike and fighting at the front again. It's going be very important that I can now concentrate totally on riding the bike without any pain, and these last two weekends off have helped me in that sense”, he explained. “Brno is a circuit that I like very much: it's technical and demanding. Plus the weather is usually good which would make a nice change. We have the final day's testing for the season on Monday and it'll be important for us to do some more evaluation work on the new engine and modified chassis which we've been running at the last few races. I'm feeling fit and ready for this race and me and the team are ready to get out there and put in a good result.”
The Grand Prix of the Czech Republic marks the introduction of new rules governing the use of engines in MotoGP. From this race until the end of the season, each rider may use only five engines - a regulation change which has been introduced with the intention of increasing engine life and therefore reducing the teams' costs. Each engine will be sealed and tagged by the MotoGP Technical Director so that no engine modifications or rebuilds can be undertaken. In 2010, the rules will demand further increases in engine life with each rider being limited to six engines for the whole 18-race series.
This weekend's track action begins as usual with first practice on Friday afternoon at 13.55. Sunday's 22-lap race begins at 14.00.