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MotoGP revs up for Misano return

MotoGP revs up for Misano return

The latest round of MotoGP action takes place on August 31st, with a visit to Misano on the agenda.

With 50 points separating the top two in the MotoGP premier class, the World Championship heads to Misano for the Gran Premio Cinzano di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini with the stakes raised for the leading set. Sunday´s race promises be one of the most crucial Grand Prix events for the title picture in a year of twists and turns so far.

Misano is truly a home track for series leader Valentino Rossi, who has a number of objectives for round thirteen. Aside from extending his advantage in the standings over rival Casey Stoner, the Italian has the opportunity to equal Giacomo Agostini´s record of 68 premier class victories. Agostini, regarded by many as the greatest rider of all time, is likely to be in attendance to watch what could be an historic occasion.

The circuit is one of only two on the World Championship calendar at which Rossi has never taken victory, although he has only had one chance to do so. The other track is Indianapolis, coincidentally next up on the MotoGP schedule. A win at Misano, in front of the hordes of fans set to make the 10km trip from his home town of Tavullia and beyond, would enable the five-time MotoGP World Champion to put further distance between himself and the chasing pack.

Last year´s winner from pole position at Misano, Ducati Marlboro´s Casey Stoner has seen his title campaign complicated by two consecutive Rossi wins at Laguna Seca and Brno. The 50-point deficit will be difficult to overhaul, but not unassailable for the 2007 MotoGP World Champion. Stoner has been tearing it up in practice for the past six races, and will be looking to respond to a first DNF since joining Ducati with a return to winning ways.

The leader of the series before the German round last month, Repsol Honda´s Dani Pedrosa has conceded considerable ground in the title fight with just one point from the past three races. The Spaniard is still suffering from the after-effects of his Sachsenring crash, and has been vocal about the fact that the Michelin tyres he is running in contrast to his Bridgestone-shod rivals have not allowed him to perform to his lofty expectations as of late. He has 65 points less on the board than Rossi, with Stoner 15 ahead and perhaps a more realistic target to pursue.

Fiat Yamaha´s Jorge Lorenzo was the winner of last season´s 250cc race at Misano, and currently lies in fourth place in the classification in his rookie MotoGP season. He is just ten points ahead of fellow newcomer and perennial quarter-litre rival Andrea Dovizioso, who suffered a devastating mechanical problem when leading the 250cc showdown in 2007.

Colin Edwards, Chris Vermeulen and Nicky Hayden also feature in the top ten, ahead of Shinya Nakano and Loris Capirossi - who will set a new appearance record for Grand Prix events when he lines up at Misano. Repsol Honda rider Hayden will return to action after missing the Brno visit with a foot injury.


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