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MotoGP ready to break new borders in Turkey

MotoGP ready to break new borders in Turkey

MotoGP ready to break new borders in Turkey

The MotoGP World Championship will land in the 29th country of its 56-year history this weekend as the Istanbul Park circuit in Turkey plays host to the penultimate round of the 2005 season. Just days after Valentino Rossi's eleventh victory of the year at Phillip Island in Australia the world's premier teams and riders will arrive at the purpose-built venue, located some sixty kilometres outside of the city of Istanbul, with attention turning to the Italian's attempt to set a new win record in the series, as well as the chase for second place in the rider championship.

Rossi heads to the exciting new venue, designed by famed German architect Hermann Tilke, looking to conquer new territory as well as continue a season of unprecedented success. Along with Laguna Seca, which returned after a ten-year absence this season, Istanbul Park is one of only two circuits on the current calendar where Rossi has not celebrated victory in at least one of the three Grand Prix classes whilst success in Sunday's race will keep him on course to beat Mick Doohan's record of twelve MotoGP victories in a single season.

With Rossi having clinched the championship with four rounds to spare in Malaysia last month, the title of ‘best of the rest' is up for grabs and looks to be heading for a two-way battle between in-form Honda youngsters Nicky Hayden and Marco Melandri. Hayden's second consecutive podium at Phillip Island, combined with fourth place for Melandri and a crash for Max Biaggi, means that the pair are now level on points in second place, with Yamaha's Colin Edwards a further eight points further back.

One man who is almost certainly out of the battle for the number two plate, however, is Loris Capirossi. The Ducati rider suffered a nasty crash in free practice at Phillip Island and has flown back to Italy for further treatment on his damaged lung. is His place this weekend will be taken by test rider Shinichi Ito, the Japanese veteran joining the in-form Carlos Checa at the Italian team, with the Spaniard high on confidence after scoring his second podium finish in three races at Phillip Island. Suzuki rider Kenny Roberts will also miss the race after breaking his left wrist in a similar practice crash although the former World Champion will not be replaced for this race, meaning John Hopkins will be the factory's sole representative.

Elsewhere, Chris Vermeulen will continue in place of the injured Troy Bayliss at Honda after making an impressive MotoGP debut in his home Grand Prix last Sunday. Vermeulen finished the race in eleventh place and gets his second chance to impress this weekend alongside temporary team-mate Alex Barros, who is expected to be fit despite suffering a heavy crash in Australia.


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