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MotoGP gets back into the groove at Brno after summer break

MotoGP gets back into the groove at Brno after summer break

MotoGP action is set to recommence after a short summer break, with the riders returning to the track for the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky on August 19th.

MotoGP action is set to recommence after a short summer break, with the riders returning to the track for the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky on August 19th.

For the MotoGP field, the return to the Automotodrom Brno is the completion of a full circle in the 800cc era, with two bikes having had their debut runouts as prototypes in last years post-race test. The first two out of the box included those used by MotoGPs current top duo, World Championship leader Casey Stoner and five time former king Valentino Rossi.

Stoners Desmosedici GP7 has been first past the chequered flag on six occasions so far this season, and an astonishingly consistent record that sees his lowest finish being fifth place has given him a 44 point lead at the top of the standings. The Australian has brought an end to the MotoGP pole position hoodoo of no rider winning from the head of the grid at the last race at Laguna Seca, and is in a commanding position heading to the track where Ducati took victory last year.

For Rossi, making up the gap will be a tough task, but not impossible based on last years comeback. The Italian clawed back a larger margin last season to lead the classification at the start of the final round at Valencia, but will need to return to the podium for the first time in three races to hit the ground running after the early-August downtime. Rossi has won three times at Brno in MotoGP, and both he and tyre manufacturer Michelin have a point to prove after Bridgestone took the triumph in 2006 courtesy of Loris Capirossi.

Trailing Rossi by 22 points, 66 behind former 250cc rival Stoner, Dani Pedrosa has won twice in the Czech Republic in the 125cc and 250cc categories. Victorious in Germany, the Spaniard was unable to follow up on his return to winning ways at the U.S. visit, with the 2007 title looking ever more elusive. Pedrosa was on the podium last year at Brno with a third place finish.

Two rostrum finishers at the last round at Laguna Seca had an eventful time post-race. Level on 113 points, Chris Vermeulen and Marco Melandri both made announcements about their 2008 rides immediately after stepping onto the podium, with Vermeulen staying with Suzuki and Marco Melandri making a long-rumoured link to Ducati. The Italians performance stateside was made all the more impressive by the revelation that he had been riding with an undiscovered ankle fracture, one that makes his participation in the Czech Republic uncertain. Gresini Honda team-mate Toni Elias will return after two races away recovering from a fractured femur.

John Hopkins completes the top six in the standings, the only other rider to have reached the 100 points mark. He had a disappointing home race in America, colliding with World Champion Nicky Hayden on the opening lap, and will want to rectify the situation and push his way up the table. A group of four riders round off the top ten, consisting of Colin Edwards, Loris Capirossi, Alex Barros and Hayden.

Another rider spending August resting up has been Alex Hofmann, recovering from a broken hand suffered in practice for the previous race. One metal plate and fifteen screws were used to fix the German riders injury in a three hour operation, and the recovery process means that he will sit out the latest date to be replaced by Ivan Silva.

His ascendance to MotoGP having been confirmed by Yamaha a fortnight ago, Jorge Lorenzos quest to bow out of the 250cc class in style continues on track. 22 points ahead of nearest rival Alex de Angelis, a repeat of his 2006 triumph would push him ever closer to retaining the quarter litre crown. Set to become a permanent fixture on the grid next season, Alex Debon makes another wild card appearance for Aprilia at Brno to act as a spoiler for team-mate Lorenzo.

The consistent De Angelis, who has not finished outside the top four this year, is still chasing his first win of the season, and holds a slim advantage over Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso. Both are some way ahead of the rest of the field, with the remainder of the top six consisting of Alvaro Bautista, Hector Barbera and the level on points KTM duo of Hiroshi Aoyama and Mika Kallio.

Gabor Talmacsi leads the way in 125cc, just two points separating himself and team-mate Hector Faubel at the top of the tree. Only half of last years top six finishers at Brno remain in the class, with Talmacsi the highest placing of the trio. Faubel failed to reach the chequered flag in 2006, as did home rider Lukas Pesek, whilst the duo are split by a resurgent Tomoyoshi Koyama in the overall standings.

Sergio Gadea and Simone Corsi complete a top six comprised entirely of 2007 race winners, in an unpredictable and competitive category.

The worlds most famous riders have taken part in GP events in Brno since 1930, where up until 1982 they would race through the villages and western parts of the city on a road track named after the first Czechoslovak President - T.G. Masaryk. A new circuit was built during the 1980s with the aim of attracting Formula 1 to Czechoslovakia, and in 1987 it played host to the FIM Czech Grand Prix. Popular with both fans and riders, the new circuit is built in a natural bowl which is banked in places to offer spectators an excellent view. Brno constantly changes in elevation as it sweeps across forested hillsides and its fast undulating corners test rider talent and engineering to the limit.

The Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky takes place on Sunday August 19th, with practice beginning on the preceding Friday.


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