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MotoGP paddock dries out at Sachsenring

MotoGP paddock dries out at Sachsenring

MotoGP paddock dries out at Sachsenring

Five days after packing up in the torrential rain of Donington Park, the MotoGP World Championship paddock unfolded at the Sachsenring circuit beneath clear blue skies today as warm sunshine greeted the world's premier motorcycle racing series to Germany. The Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland this weekend represents the tenth round of the 2005 season and the final event before a month-long summer break before the action resumes in the Czech Republic on 28th August.

The rest could not come at a better time for reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi, who makes his 150th Grand Prix appearance this weekend and defends a 104-point advantage over Marco Melandri in the championship standings after an exhausting start to the season that has seen him take seven wins from nine races. "Things have gone very well in the first half of the year but we have some tracks coming up that I don't like – especially Sachsenring and Brno," admitted Rossi. "I am not so fast at Sachsenring like Donington, also last year we had some problems with the M1, but I think we are more competitive this season and will be able to fight for the podium."

Rossi will have an extra rival this weekend as Olivier Jacque makes his third appearance of the season as a wildcard for Kawasaki. The Frenchman took pole position for the MotoGP race at this circuit three seasons ago and is looking to build on impressive performances earlier this year at Shanghai, where he finished second to Rossi, and Le Mans. "This will only be my third Grand Prix of the season but it's great to be back with Kawasaki, especially at a track where I have some good memories," said Jacque. "I've been training hard and this race is really the beginning of my programme as test rider, so I'm looking forward to the challenge, and working with the team to further improve the ZX-RR. It is already a very strong package and I think it will feel at home at the Sachsenring."

Jacque will team up with regular Kawasaki riders Shinya Nakano and Alex Hofmann, who has a special motivation this weekend as he rides in front of an expectant crowd of over 100,000. "Of course you always want to do well in your home race but the dedication the people show to MotoGP in this area deserves an extra effort," said the German. "The sport is getting more and more popular in this country and we have to keep it this way so I want to do my part by finishing as high as possible in the race. With Olivier in the team it will be more crowded in the garage but my goal is to beat him and Shinya."

Hofmann was one of several riders to take time out of their preparations today to line-up for a MotoGP XI in a charity football tournament. The local favourite proved to be the centre of attention at the annual event, which also featured Ruben Xaus, John Hopkins, Carlos Checa and James Ellison.


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