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Back into the fray at Brno

Back into the fray at Brno

Back into the fray at Brno

The summer holidays are over and the refreshed MotoGP stars return to the fray at the Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske Republiky at Brno on Sunday. They last competed at Sachsenring five weeks ago where 23 year-old Italian Valentino Rossi secured his eighth MotoGP victory of the season, riding the RC211V 990cc five cylinder four-stroke Honda. Rossi will be a tough nut to crack with an excellent record at Brno. The Italian secured his first Grand Prix victory there, the 1996 125cc race, and followed up with 250 and 500cc victories in 1999 and 2001.

Rossi holds a massive 96-point championship lead over his team-mate Tohru Ukawa and the Japanese rider is the only person to beat Rossi this season. However, they are joined by another RCV Honda in the 22-lap race on Sunday. The current 250cc World Champion Daijiro Kato will ride the new generation Honda in the remaining seven Grands Prix starting this Sunday for the Honda Gresini team. The Japanese rider currently lies eighth in the championship, riding the NSR two-stroke Honda, but is no stranger to four-strokes having won the Suzuka Eight Hour race for Honda earlier this month.

Another rider with a great record at Brno is Yamaha's Max Biaggi. The Italian won four consecutive 250cc races there between 1994-1997 and the 500cc race in 1998 and 2000. Biaggi has already announced he will be leaving Yamaha at the end of the season and will want to go out with a bang, riding the M1 four-stroke machine. The bike has come on dramatically since the start of the season and Biaggi, who lies third in the championship, has finished second behind Rossi in the last two races.

Just two points behind Barros is Biaggi's team-mate, Spaniard Carlos Checa. He will be staying with Yamaha next year and will be looking to improve on his three third places this season. Just three points behind him is another Yamaha but the YZR500 ridden by Japanese rider Norick Abe who has had a superb season. Riding for the Yamaha D'Antin squad, he's only failed to finish one race, and finished fourth at Brno last year.

On the injury front Loris Capirossi returns for West Honda Pons after missing the last two races with a broken wrist whilst Americans Kenny Roberts (Telefonica Movistar Suzuki), John Hopkins (Red Bull Yamaha) and Pere Riba (Luis d´Antin) all return from a one race absence. Meanwhile the Yamaha Tech 3 team will field three YZR500 Yamahas, with test rider Sylvain Guintoli making his first MotoGP start alongside regulars Olivier Jacque and Shinya Nakano.


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