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Fans hope for more surprises at Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland

Fans hope for more surprises at Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland

Fans hope for more surprises at Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland

Record crowds are expected this weekend as the Sachsenring circuit plays host to the ninth round of one of the most open and entertaining MotoGP seasons so far. With all three Grand Prix classes having burst into life over the last four events, with an unbelievable twelve different winners from the last twelve races, around 200,000 fans are expected to fill the German venue over the course of the weekend.

At the halfway point of the season there have already been fourteen winners in all classes – equalling the total figure throughout the whole of last year. In the MotoGP class Loris Capirossi, Valentino Rossi, Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi have each claimed recent victories, as reigning World Champion Rossi has been forced to endure one of his most challenging periods since bursting to the fore of premier-class racing four years ago.

The Italian was denied victory at Donington Park last weekend after unwittingly overtaking under a yellow flag, his ten second penalty relegating him from the top of the rostrum to third place after thirty hard laps as great rival Biaggi inherited the 25 points. Having also been beaten by Gibernau in the rain at Assen two weeks previously and by Capirossi in the dry at Catalunya before that, Rossi has not won since Mugello in round five – his longest spell without a win since recording his second ever top class victory at Rio in 2000.

However, with a 100% podium record so far this season, the Italian maintains a comfortable 34 point advantage at the top of the championship and suitors to his title will have to pull off another surprise win if they are to extend his relatively barren spell and keep the pressure on the series leader.

Biaggi, in particular, will be on the hunt for another maximum points haul after the inspiration of his first victory of the season and an impressive showing at a packed MotoGP test at Brno last week. Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, Aprilia, Kawasaki and Proton were all out in force at the Czech Republic circuit, where Biaggi set unofficial times around 0.8 seconds quicker than his pole position record there.

Whilst former World Champion Kenny Roberts was not at Brno, he will be back on board his Suzuki at the Sachsenring having finally recovered from a troublesome chest and shoulder injury sustained at Mugello in June. Alex Hofmann was at the test, however, and he stayed with the factory Kawasaki team as they headed north to his home Grand Prix.

The German youngster is set to make his fourth wildcard appearance of the season in front of his own fans and will be looking to repeat his top ten finishes from Assen four weeks ago and from this very race last season, when he rode as a replacement for Loris Capirossi on the Honda NSR500. Norick Abe also rides as a wildcard with Yamaha.

Hofmann´s team-mate last year Alex Barros, who is fighting to be fit after missing the race at Donington due to a hand injury sustained in the warm-up, had looked set to win before being wiped out by current Yamaha colleague Olivier Jacque, as the pair dominated the tight and twisty circuit riding their two-strokes machines.

It was touted as the final swan-song for the 500 machines, but they will get one final hurrah this weekend after Proton Team KR were forced to delay the public development of their new four-stroke V5 due to a shortage of upgraded engine parts. Jeremy McWilliams and Nobuatsu Aoki will therefore revert to the old KR3 machine whilst the team work on a new crankshaft for the V5, which they expect to be ready after the short summer break when racing resumes at Brno on August 17th.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland

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