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MotoGP whirlwind tour heads to Donington

MotoGP whirlwind tour heads to Donington

MotoGP whirlwind tour heads to Donington

Although marking the culmination of the MotoGP triple-header of three races in as many weekends, the teams and riders can't afford to look ahead to a well deserved break just yet. Last week's A-Style GP Assen has turned the championship on its head, and there are surely more surprises to come this weekend at the historic Donington Park circuit. Nicky Hayden heads to Great Britain in the World Championship driving seat, courtesy of a first Grand Prix win of 2006 in a breathtaking last corner duel with Colin Edwards at Assen. The Kentucky Kid leads the standings by 42 points, with team-mate and rookie sensation Dani Pedrosa moving up into second after a third place in Holland. The third, fourth and fifth places in the classification are occupied by some of MotoGP's walking wounded. Loris Capirossi, Valentino Rossi and Marco Melandri were all doubts for the race last time out, Capirossi and Melandri as a result of a huge crash in Catalunya and Rossi through a nasty looking tumble in the first Assen practice session. That they were able to race at all at the Dutch track was a testament to the heart and desire of a MotoGP rider, showing the depth of talent present in the premier class. Rossi is the "King of Donington," with five premier class wins under his belt at the British track, but will have to recover quickly from a broken bone in his hand to make it six this weekend. Casey Stoner's tremendous debut year continues to impress, with the young Australian taking fourth at the A-Style TT Assen after a tremendous battle with rival Pedrosa. Colin Edwards suffered heartbreak on the final corner last weekend, a daring manoeuvre to push for the victory seeing him crash just metres from the finish line. With the Texas Tornado hungry for victory, could Donington Park be his opportunity for redemption? He lies six points ahead of Shinya Nakano in the overall standings, the Japanese rider benefiting from Edwards' misfortune to take second place. Kenny Roberts Jr and Makoto Tamada complete the top ten. Sete Gibernau will miss his second consecutive race as he recovers from collarbone surgery, once again being replaced by Alex Hofmann behind the bars of the Desmosedici GP06. Ivan Silva will in turn continue to replace Hofmann in the Pramac d'Antin outfit. The title race is hotting up in the 250cc category, with Andrea Dovizioso just sixteen points ahead of the in-form Jorge Lorenzo. Dovizioso has been on the podium at every race this season, whilst Lorenzo's runaway victory last weekend gives his rival little margin for error. Third placed Yuki Takahashi heads a close pack of consistent performers in the standings, with Hiroshi Aoyama, Alex de Angelis and Roberto Locatelli all within 8 points of each other. Chaz Davies will make his return to the 250cc category for Molenaar racing, having cycled to Donington from his home town in Wales on the Tuesday in aid of worthy cause Riders For Health. Mika Kallio's crucial victory in Assen aided his championship cause somewhat, although he still trails Alvaro Bautista by 47 points. Bautista's mathematical domination of the category doesn't reflect the tightness of the 125cc races, which have been a guarantee of close races throughout the first half of the season. The Master MVA Aspar team are willing to battle amongst each other for the victory, with Sergio Gadea, Hector Faubel and Mattia Pasini all in the top five, with Derbi's Lukas Pesek just behind. Built in 1931 to stage motorcycle events, but closed down during the Second World War, a derelict Donington circuit was bought in 1971 by local businessman and motor sport enthusiast Tom Wheatcroft. It was re-opened in 1977 after huge investment and is now regarded as one of the best circuits in Britain, with a recent facelift to the pits, race control and media centre complex hoping to make sure the off-track experience is as good as on it. Located in beautiful countryside near to the village of Castle Donington in the English Midlands, the circuit is set in a natural amphitheatre that facilitates excellent viewing possibilities. Its flowing layout is broken up by a slow second-half of tight corners meaning a combination of smooth racing and good corner speed must be combined with last-gasp braking and hard acceleration.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, GAS BRITISH GRAND PRIX

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