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MotoGP returns to Europe for British Grand Prix

MotoGP returns to Europe for British Grand Prix

MotoGP returns to Europe for British Grand Prix

After a groundbreaking first Grand Prix on American soil in over a decade two weeks ago, the MotoGP World Championship returns to more familiar territory this weekend as the Donington Park circuit in England opens its gates to the series for the 19th consecutive season. The British Grand Prix is the ninth round of this year's championship and sees Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi leading the standings by 79 points, with an intense battle taking place behind him for second place.

After crashing out of the last round at Laguna Seca, Marco Melandri is now being closely chased by Honda colleagues Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau and Yamaha's Colin Edwards, who are all within 14 points of the youngster. Edwards, in particular, will be looking to make up further ground at a circuit where he took his best result of last season with a second-place finish behind Rossi and set the lap record. The American scored consecutive podiums for the first time in his MotoGP career in the last round at Laguna Seca and is now aiming to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Nicky Hayden by taking his first victory in the series to complete the hat-trick.

Hayden's debut win will no doubt see the Honda youngster arrive in Great Britain on top confidence and determined to prove that victory in his home Grand Prix was no fluke. Hayden finished fourth in last year's race at Donington, only six seconds down on Rossi, and is looking to become the first rider to follow up his maiden win with another victory since his compatriot Kenny Roberts in 1999.

However, whilst the competition for honours this weekend is sure to be tough, the man to beat again looks certain to be Rossi. The Italian took his debut win at Donington Park in 2000, following up previous successes there in the 125cc and 250cc classes, and has only failed to win on one occasion since, when he was stripped of victory after the 2003 race for overtaking Loris Capirossi under a yellow flag. Biaggi was consequently handed his first and only premier-class victory at the circuit to follow up 250cc success in both 1995 and 1996, and would like nothing better than a repeat result as he chases his first victory in almost a year.

Whilst Biaggi hasn't won since the Sachsenring last season, Gibernau has now gone eleven races without a Grand Prix victory since winning the inaugural race at Qatar last October. The Spaniard has endured his worst start to a season since joining Honda in 2003 but will be looking to turn things around at Donington, where he has finished on the podium for the last two years.


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