MotoGP riders head to Sachsenring for crucial German race

Monday, 7 July 2008

The Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland is the latest outing for the MotoGP premier class, and an important race for the title contenders.

As the MotoGP World Championship season passes its midway point, the teams and riders are getting prepared for the tenth round of 2008, the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. A return to Germany will be the acid test for some of the title contenders across all three classes, sure to provide some new twists on the windy asphalt of the Sachsenring circuit.

Dani Pedrosa arrives in Sachsenring as the leader of the MotoGP World Championship, courtesy of some amazing consistency this season. The Repsol Honda rider has only been off the podium on one occasion in 2008 -when he finished fourth in Le Mans- and the German race comes at just the right time for the Spaniard. Pedrosa was the runaway winner of the 2007 round at Sachsenring, and a repeat performance would be a vital boost to his chances of a first MotoGP title.

Just four points separate Pedrosa from previous leader Valentino Rossi, who conceded his advantage in the overall classification after crashing on the first lap in Assen. He fell in a collision with Randy de Puniet, coincidentally the rider whom he was trying to overtake last year in Sachsenring when he had a similar early fall. A run of seven consecutive podium finishes was put to an end in the Netherlands for Rossi, and he will be looking for redemption at a circuit where he has won MotoGP races in 2006, 2005 and 2002.

A further 25 points down in the standings, Casey Stoner is the form rider of recent races. The 2007 World Champion was an unstoppable force in the Grands Prix held at Donington and Assen, dominating practice sessions and breaking free from the field from pole position for comfortable victories. Stoner has yet to place on the podium at Sachsenring in any class, but since his arrival in the Ducati Marlboro setup he has shown scant regard for previous stumbling blocks. He has the opportunity to get back into the title hunt after a stuttering start to 2008.

Experiencing almost a complete contrast in fortunes to Stoner, fourth-placed Jorge Lorenzo has been starting again over the past few Grands Prix. Looking to regain confidence after a spate of injuries, Fiat Yamaha´s rookie rider can now set his sights on a return to the podium with a clean bill of health. His best previous result in Germany is third in the 2006 250cc race.

The highest placing satellite rider in the premier class is Tech3 Yamaha´s Colin Edwards, fifth in the standings and in resurgent form in 2008. The American veteran has twice been on the podium this season, first at Le Mans and most recently at Assen where he benefitted from a late mechanical problem suffered by Repsol Honda's Nicky Hayden.

JiR Team Scot´s Andrea Dovizioso, Hayden, Tech3 Yamaha rookie James Toseland, Chris Vermeulen and Shinya Nakano complete the top ten, with Vermeulen´s Rizla Suzuki teammate Loris Capirossi dropping down the overall classification after having missed three races through injury. Capirossi is expected to return from his latest setback, a deep forearm laceration, at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Not cleared to compete, however, is Kawasaki´s John Hopkins, who crashed in qualifying at Assen and suffered leg fractures and knee damage for which surgery and recuperation are needed.

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