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Onboard lap of the Sachsenring circuit

Onboard lap of the Sachsenring circuit

Onboard lap of the Sachsenring circuit

Located in the heartland of the former East Germany's once glorious motorcycle racing industry, the Sachsenring is built right next to the old road course, a characteristic the track shares with Brno in the nearby Czech Republic.

The current circuit could not be more different, its ultra-modern nature showing in its relatively slow lap time, with a surfeit of slow corners juxtaposed with some dazzlingly fast corners.

The 3.671km circuit has already changed its layout since it was first used for MotoGP in 1998, with the addition of a fast downhill right-hander in 2003. With a relatively short 780m pit straight, running sharply uphill from the long Queckenberg hairpin, and the throttle only fully open for 10% of the lap, outright power is not the key at Sachsenring.

Some riders use only four of the possible six gear ratios on a flying lap. The ability to set-up the machine to deal with the disparity between fast and slow corners is one main goal and as the track is relatively new, bumps are not that much of a concern in relation to other circuits.

The main consideration in preparation for Sachsenring is the fact that the track features only four right-handers, but has no less than ten lefts, meaning that the machine is heeled over to that side for half of the entire lap distance.

That feature in particular left a lasting impression on Colin Edwards, who rode here for the first time last year. "This is a strange, tight track," said the Texan. "The tyres are under a lot of strain and it's vital to make the right choice so they don't overheat on the left-side.

"Then there's the downhill right that you have to be careful on in the first few laps because that side of the tyre takes a bit more time to get up to temperature."

Sete Gibernau also finds it tough here, despite his impressive win last year. "It's slow and difficult," he said. "But then again it was one of the best races of my life last year. The last two turns offer good overtaking opportunities and the descent is the quickest and the most difficult part of the track. The bike settings need to be spot-on to get drive out of the slower turns."

For Max Biaggi the Sachsenring represents a challenge and the Roman appreciates the demands it makes on a rider. "The track is winding with no real straight," he said. "It's unique. You need a very agile bike and you need it set-up by Saturday because the way qualifying is going these days a front row start is a must.

"A good grid position is vital here because the first part of the track is very narrow and it doesn't open out until the last part you don't have time to make up positions if you get a bad start here."

Take an onboard lap of the Sachsenring circuit by clicking the video link at the top of the page.


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