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2011 season reaches halfway at Sachsenring

2011 season reaches halfway at Sachsenring

The eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland heralds the midway point of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship this weekend, as defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo attempts to further close the gap on current leader Casey Stoner.

After a weekend off the premier class again goes into back-to-back rounds of action as the 2011 MotoGP World Championship reaches its halfway stage with the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Sachsenring follows a short break after the rounds at Assen and Mugello, races which have seen the factory Yamaha machine win both times out, and with Jorge Lorenzo’s victory in Italy the gap to Casey Stoner was closed to 19 points.

Whilst the Australian’s lead remains a considerable one at the top of the standings recent results have added a hint of intrigue to proceedings, after his three successive wins at Le Mans, Catalunya and Silverstone. However, with podium results at Assen and Mugello – the latter of which was his 50th premier class rostrum result – Stoner remains the standard bearer on board his factory Repsol Honda.

Defending World Champion Lorenzo moved level on GP victories (37) with Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’ thanks to his win at Mugello and with the former rider turned Team Manager is now joint second in the list of most successful Spanish riders behind Angel Nieto. Sachsenring remains just one of two circuits on the current calendar where Lorenzo is yet to taste GP victory in any class, but having finished second for the past two seasons the Yamaha Factory Racing rider will be confident of continuing to chip away at Stoner’s hold on the lead of the standings.

Second Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso has his sights set on closing further on Lorenzo and along with Stoner tested at Mugello on the Monday following the previous round. The Italian is yet to finish on the podium at Sachsenring, but is on a run of three straight rostrum results and is looking strong on the RC212V. His fellow countryman Valentino Rossi is the rider with the most victories at the ‘new’ Sachsenring (the circuit was newly built in 1998) having taken five wins across all classes, four of those in MotoGP. Last year he made his comeback from injury at Sachsenring, and this weekend the Ducati rider will make his 250th Grand Prix start making him only the sixth rider to reach the milestone.

Like Rossi his team-mate Nicky Hayden will also continue his search for a second podium of the season, with fellow American Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) aiming to build on the two podiums he has so far achieved this season. Dani Pedrosa won last year’s Sachsenring race and continues his climb back to full fitness after making his return to action at Mugello following a three-race absence. The Repsol Honda man and his fellow RC212V riders will be hopeful of building on Honda’s position as the most successful manufacturer at Sachsenring since the introduction of the current four-stroke format in 2002. The Japanese factory has taken five wins in the past nine years, Yamaha three and Ducati one. Interestingly, three different bikes have won at the track in the past three years; Ducati with Stoner on board in 2008, Yamaha with Rossi in 2009 and Honda with Pedrosa last year.

Marco Simoncelli continues to await his maiden premier class podium result and a turnaround in race fortunes this season, having started the last six races from the front row but without a top-three result to show for it. His San Carlo Honda Gresini team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama missed last year’s race through injury and is currently struggling with the aftermath of an injury picked up in a crash in practice at Assen.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow experienced mixed fortunes at Mugello, the American placing ninth and the British rookie failing to finish the race. In Sachsenring Edwards approaches a track at which he has a best finish of fourth (2007) whilst Crutchlow faces another new circuit. The satellite Ducatis of Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) and Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) are closely matched, and LCR Honda’s Toni Elías will seek inspiration from a fantastic Moto2 ride at Sachsenring last year that brought him victory. Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) will both be hopeful of improving on their results from Mugello, whilst French rider Sylvain Guintoli is on standby to replace Loris Capirossi if the Italian is not fit in time to ride this weekend.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, eni MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX DEUTSCHLAND

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