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MotoGP returns to action at Brno after short summer break

MotoGP returns to action at Brno after short summer break

Premier class stars ready to resume battle this weekend in the Czech Republic at the historic Brno circuit.

The 2009 FIM MotoGP World Championship recommences at Brno in the Czech Republic this coming weekend, following a short summer break and a historic last ever visit to Donington Park which saw title holder Valentino Rossi increase his lead at the head of the standings, in somewhat fortunate circumstances.

Although Rossi suffered his second worst result of the season so far at Donington, crossing the finishing line in fifth place having crashed out of the race lead, the misfortunes of his main rivals played into his hands as the Italian opened up a 25 point advantage in the title race.

En route to his sixth premier class crown last year Rossi was victorious at Brno - in addition to the venues for the two races which follow round eleven, Indianapolis and Misano - and he will look to turn the screw on his opponents as the MotoGP season intensifies. Brno was also the venue for Rossi’s first ever GP win back in 1996 in the 125cc category and he boasts four premier class Czech victories in total dating back to 2001.

Behind Rossi in the MotoGP classification is his talented young Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo who went into the summer break bruised and deflated after picking up injuries at Laguna Seca early in July and then suffered his second DNF of the year in Great Britain. The Spaniard was 10th in his first Czech MotoGP appearance in a difficult race for the riders on Michelin tyres in 2008, but has a strong Brno record having won there in both the 250cc and 125cc championships.

Unfortunately for Ducati the conclusion of the summer break has coincided with the news that 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner will miss the next three races due to ongoing health problems. From the race at Barcelona in June onwards Stoner has been battling against a virus which brought on gastritis and anaemia symptoms and doctors in Australia have advised him to remain there and rest for the coming weeks.

Already trailing leader Rossi by 37 points in third place - Donington was a disaster for Stoner and his team-mate Nicky Hayden (13th in the standings) as they gambled on wet tyres on the wet-drying track and both finished outside the top ten - the news of Stoner’s absence at the forthcoming three rounds effectively ends his 2009 title challenge. Stoner will be replaced for this period by Finn Mika Kallio, whilst for Brno Michel Fabrizio steps into the Pramac Racing team to substitute Kallio.

Elsewhere, following his superb win at Laguna and a podium finish at Sachsenring Dani Pedrosa’s inconsistency was apparent again at Donington as the Repsol Honda rider struggled in the tricky conditions and could only manage ninth - from second on the grid - dashing his hopes of a dramatic title comeback. The Spaniard sits fourth in the standings at present, two places ahead of Italian colleague Andrea Dovizioso who will be highly enthusiastic about returning to race action, on the back of his brilliant maiden MotoGP win at Donington.

The same can be said of fifth placed Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards who equaled his best ever World Championship result in second in England, ahead of Randy de Puniet on the Donington rostrum.

De Puniet sits eighth overall in the general standings - just behind Hayate Racing’s Marco Melandri - but the LCR Honda man’s good 2009 results could be affected by a motocross training accident on the weekend after the British Grand Prix, which resulted in a broken left ankle. The Frenchman is expected to ride at Brno but is unlikely to be at 100%.

MotoGP’s current top ten is completed by Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi who are under pressure to deliver good results in the Czech Republic having finished 13th and 11th in the UK at round ten. A repeat of Capirossi’s 2008 Brno podium would be a great boost for him and the team.

Free practice at the Cardion AB Czech Republic Grand Prix commences on the afternoon of Friday 14th August.


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