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Thursday thunder hits Sachsenring

Thursday thunder hits Sachsenring

Thursday thunder hits Sachsenring

With a burst of thunder and a flash of lightening the Sachsenring circuit was this afternoon swamped by a flash storm which had the MotoGP teams and riders assembled here for the Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland running for cover and anxiously checking the weather forecasts. The ninth round of the season already presents them with a demanding challenge at the tight and twisty German track, and the leading protagonists were quick to express their anxiety at the changeable Central European climate. Last year's winner and current World Champion Valentino Rossi had particular reason for concern as he turned up at the circuit wrapped in a thick scarf, nursing a slight fever which has dogged him throughout the season.

`I always seem to have this cold, I don´t know why´, said Rossi, who revealed that he was close to signing a new contract with Honda despite rumours linking him with a switch to Ducati for next season. `I am talking with Honda at the moment and there are just a couple of problems to resolve. They are my first option and I hope to be able to make an announcement in the next two or three weeks´. Turning his attention back to this weekend, the Italian added: `I don´t particularly like this track but, apart from in 2001, I always seem to have done well here. There is usually a close battle which is decided on the last lap so hopefully we can get the bike set-up well and have a dry race´.

Max Biaggi, who inherited his first victory of the season at Donington Park two weeks ago when Rossi was docked ten seconds for overtaking under a yellow flag, also had news from his own negotiations with Honda, quashing rumours that he was due to be given a factory RC211V within the next two race meetings. `I have spoken with Honda and I have been told that I will not be getting a new bike´, he declared. `Hopefully that means I will be getting new parts instead, but we will have to wait and see what happens´. Biaggi won here two years ago but, like Rossi, insisted it is not one of his favourite tracks. `I have to say that this circuit is not great, but the racing is usually good. After this we have a three week break until the next race so it would be nice to have a short holiday feeling relaxed after another good result´.

Elsewhere in the paddock Alex Barros was taking shelter from the rain in the Clinica Mobile, where he received physiotherapy on the hand injury he sustained in the warm-up at Donington Park, which forced him to miss the race. `Alex had a clean break in his hand which has been operated on and he is healing well´, said MotoGP medic Doctor Costa. `He is still in a lot of pain but he will ride in the morning and we will assess if he is fit enough to race´. The Brazilian was forced to sit out his second favourite sport today as a group of his fellow riders including Biaggi, Carlos Checa, Noriyuki Haga and Jeremy McWillians took part in a charity football match in aid of Riders for Health against a team featuring German sports stars and celebrities.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003, Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland

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