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Seven MotoGP™ riders fill the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland press conference to the brim.
Round nine of the MotoGP™ World Championship at the Sachsenring got underway with the official pre-event Press Conference filled with Rossi, Lorenzo, Marquez, Iannone, Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaro and even Stefan Bradl in attendance. Holidays, the season so far and tyres were the main topics of discussion, surprisingly few questions were raised about the incident at the final chicane in Assen between Rossi and Marquez.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) got the press conference underway, the four-time MotoGP™ Sachsenring winner firstly discussing the season so far, before looking ahead to his holidays: “Yes I’m very happy about the first eight races for sure, especially about the points. Also this weekend it will be important because it’s the ninth race, so after Sunday we will be in the middle of the championship. It’s an important point to understand the bad and the good things. We’ll also have some holidays after this race which are good for everybody so we can refocus for the second half.” He later joked, “It’s very important to keep concentrated at this race until Sunday, after that you can switch off. The holidays are easy, you just have to relax! It’s more difficult to race.”
With four second place finishes in Germany, the Sachsenring is just one of a few circuits currently on the calendar in which Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) has never claimed victory, “It’s true I’ve never won here in 12 years in the World Championship, just here and Austin I haven’t won. It’s never too late to try and win and for sure I will try and win now and in the future. It’s important to start in a good way from the first practice to have a good pace and have a good feeling without any major problems. In some sectors of the track in Assen we had some big problems and my goal here is to start strong and keep improving little by little.”
The Sachsenring has in recent years belonged to Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), the young Spaniard claiming victory every year since 2010 in the 125cc, Moto2™ and MotoGP™ classes. The Assen race, despite the obvious last corner disappointment, was an overall positive weekend for Marquez: “For me in Assen after Mugello and Montmelo, two crashes in a row, to be on the podium was already a victory because it was a good result and a good race to come back with the good feeling. Here we have to confirm that feeling and keep going that way. The confidence now is quite good after the Holland weekend, we’ve stated to return to our level.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) is another rider who has had a very positive start to 2015, finishing in the top five at all but one round so far. The new GP15 arrives in Germany having never been tested at a track as unique as the Sachsenring: “For sure it’s a really good first half of the season and I’m so happy with it. It’s possible because the GP15 improves a lot but I’ve also improved a lot, last year was really difficult for me and now we can fight for the top five. Sachsenring is a really strange track and really short. But it’s interesting because it’s the first time with the GP15 and I’m excited because it’s a surprise and I hope the bike is competitive in the track and we can fight at the front.”
Much like Marquez, Assen marked a return to the points for Cal Crutchlow (CWM LCR Honda) who has also found it tough going in recent races. As always, Crutchlow is still looking for more: “Assen wasn’t a bad race to finish sixth I was quite happy after three bad races. The CWM team do a good job and I think we should have been further ahead in Assen. Honestly I wasn’t too impressed with the overall result and I thought we should have been further ahead but it’s good to come to the Sachsenring, a circuit that I like with some good confidence and hopefully we can keep improving.”
A new look Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) reflected back on the season so far and the impressive progress both he and Suzuki have made: “I’m really happy with our performance this year as with a brand new bike we’re not so far from the top guys at the front which is great for me and Suzuki. Not as happy with the points, we’re really far back but I think some of this is down to bad luck. Overall I’m happy with the feeling and with my first season in Suzuki. We’re getting closer and closer. If we look back to where we were at the start we were really far and I don’t think anyone was really expecting this. Both me and Maverick are working really hard and we know where and what we need to improve.”
Despite it being his home Grand Prix, Stefan Bradl (Athina Forward Racing) would have rather been in the press conference under happier circumstances. The German rider has been forced to miss this round due to a broken scaphoid: “It doesn’t make sense to try and ride here. I can’t even ride a paddock scooter here so it makes no sense to race. It’s scaphoid and as everyone knows it’s quite tricky. I had the operation on Monday and all the doctors told me you would be stupid to try and ride.”
Marquez was briefly asked about the Assen chicane incident: “Assen is in the past and now we are in Germany. We will see, at the moment I want to go race by race and I have enough work to think about doing my job!” He later expanded, “For me the second place was OK after Mugello and Montmelo and it was already like a victory. In that last chicane many things have happened and now we know and Valentino taught us another thing again. He’s very smart and we must learn from him.”
With ten right hand corners and just three lefts, tyres were also a major talking point. Rossi shedding some light on the asymmetric front: “I think for this weekend the front tyre will be very important, it will be key. Bridgestone have brought a lot of front tyres because they want to be sure and safe for all the range of temperatures during the weekend. I think this track is the toughest for the front along with Phillip Island.”
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