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MotoGP gets back in business at Brno

MotoGP gets back in business at Brno

The title race resumes for the premier class competitors in the Czech Republic after a brief respite.

The MotoGP World Championship returns from a summer break at the Cardion AB Grand Prix Ceske republiky, which takes place on August 17th at the Brno circuit. The title chase has separated into a three-rider breakaway group, but any number of competitors could provide the talking points as MotoGP heads to the Czech Republic.

The winner of the final pre-break race, Valentino Rossi holds the all-important advantage in the standings with a 25-point lead. Fiat Yamaha´s five-time World Champion confirmed his stay with the Japanese company for the next two years in the run-up to his summer vacations, and promptly showed just why Yamaha were so keen to keep him onboard with a remarkable first American victory of his career at Laguna Seca.

Rossi will need to avoid a repeat of his 2007 home stretch performance if he is to continue at the head of the classification, however. The Italian was on the podium just twice at the final seven races last year –and his only win was at the Portuguese round whose corresponding event has already been and gone in 2008. An enviable record of premier class victories at Brno in 2001, 2003 and 2005 nonetheless makes Rossi one of the more successful riders in the Czech Republic in recent years.

Runner-up at Laguna Seca in an epic battle with his arch rival, Casey Stoner is the closest to catching Rossi after an outstanding return to form. Four wins to his name, and a host of circuits at which he dominated in 2007 on the horizon, suggest that the last word has not been said in the title battle. Ducati Marlboro´s reigning World Champion took the full points haul last year at Brno, in another peerless performance from pole position, and his fellow MotoGP competitors will be out to stifle the Australian in the way only Rossi has managed since Stoner´s Desmosedici GP8 breakthrough at the post-race Catalunya test.

Repsol Honda´s Dani Pedrosa was unable to have any say in proceedings stateside, having taken the trip to California to try to ride through injury. The current third-placed rider in the standings was fighting a lost cause, and only participated in the first day of practice before heading back to Spain for treatment on his left hand injured whilst leading the race in Germany. Two races with no points have hit Pedrosa´s campaign hard, and he has 41 of them to make up on Rossi.

Also recovering from injuries is Pedrosa´s fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, whose summer break has consisted of ten days of immobilisation, watching cycling events on television and undertaking some intense rehabilitation after a big crash on the opening lap at Laguna Seca. Still leading the Rookie of the Year competition, Lorenzo is now focusing on regaining confidence and adapting a safer riding style to the Yamaha M1.

Another standout rookie is fifth in the World Championship, with Andrea Dovizioso the highest placing satellite rider onboard his JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V. He in turn leads Tech 3 Yamaha´s Colin Edwards, a veteran confirmed for another year of MotoGP action.

Chris Vermeulen has stated his case for remaining in MotoGP at the past two races, having taken third at Sachsenring and Laguna Seca. He lies in seventh place overall, ahead of 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, MotoGP newcomer James Toseland and San Carlo Honda Gresini´s Shinya Nakano, who receives a factory spec Honda from Brno onwards.

John Hopkins is set to make his comeback at the Czech Republic after three races on the sidelines with leg injuries.


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