News 14 Jul 2010

MotoGP: Lorenzo aiming for four in a row at Sachsenring

Lorenzo has been dominant in MotoGP 2010 with five victories in seven rounds.

Lorenzo has been dominant in MotoGP 2010 with five victories in seven rounds.

Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo arrives at Sachsenring for the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland in the best shape possible this weekend: with a 52-point lead in the championship and off the back of a hot run of three successive wins.

Having finished in the top two in every race of 2010 so far with five of those being wins, the Fiat Yamaha man is the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 2005 to have been on the podium in the first seven races of the season. He will however be aiming for a first premier class win at Sachsenring, one of four circuits he is yet to taste victory at in any class with last year’s second place his best result there.

Closest to Lorenzo at this stage of the season is Dani Pedrosa, and the Repsol Honda man has mixed memories of the circuit. In 2007 he won there, in 2008 he was leading the championship standings when he crashed out of the race and suffered an injury that effectively ended his title challenge, and last season he finished on the podium.

His teammate Andrea Dovizioso, now 22 points behind in third, has a best premier class finish of fifth in 2008 and will be going for a first podium in any category at the venue.

Level on 69 points in fourth and fifth respectively are Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda). The American has more podium finishes at Sachsenring than at any other circuit, thanks to his run of third places from 2004 to 2007.

De Puniet’s season continues to be one of impressive results and he will be confident of improving on his previous best MotoGP placement of eighth from 2008, the only time he has completed a premier class race at the track.

Casey Stoner is two points further back in sixth but the signs of a resurgence are already there and the Ducati Team rider comes into this weekend having taken back-to-back podiums in the two previous rounds. A first win of 2010 for the Australian will be fancied by many, and he has taken victory once before here in 2008.

Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) finds another new track in what is already proving to be a strong debut season, and he holds a 20-point advantage over San Carlo Honda Gresini pair Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli who are level and complete the top ten in the standings going into the weekend.

Making a return to the premier class this weekend is Alex de Angelis, who begins his spell as the substitute rider on the Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team in place of the injured Hiroshi Aoyama.

Fiat Yamaha and Valentino Rossi will make a final decision on Wednesday as to whether the world champion makes his return from injury this weekend, with Wataru Yoshikawa prepared to ride in place of the Italian once more if he decides Sachsenring is too early.

A four-week break follows Sachsenring for the Moto2 class and those with intentions of challenging for the inaugural world championship will therefore be targeting a strong sign off before heading into the summer break.

Leading the Championship on 111 points and 17 ahead of the rest of the competition is Toni Elías, and the Gresini Racing rider will want to at least repeat his result of sixth in the premier class from last year as he attempts to maintain a good lead going into the hiatus. His only podium at the German track was in 2001, when he finished second in the 125cc class.

It will be far from a simple task for the Spanish rider however with an increasingly strong Thomas Lüthi fast amassing points. The Interwetten Moriwaki rider has been on the podium in the last three races – four times in the seven races of 2010 which is the most top-three finishes of all riders in the class.

His recent run has been in spite of an injured collarbone, and his best result at Sachsenring came in his 125cc World Championship title winning year of 2005 when he finished second. A similar result would keep up the pressure.

In third and fourth places Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) and Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP) are separated by just a single point on 77 and 76 respectively. The Spaniard won from pole at Sachsenring last season on his way to the 125cc World title, whilst Tomizawa scored points in the 250cc class in his first ride there last year with 13th.

The current top five is completed by Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up) who on 70 points will be desperate to make up for the error which cost him what looked like a certain podium finish at Catalunya. He was fastest at the private test at Aragón last week however, proving that he is constantly ready for action and he will be going for a third win of the season.

Fellow Italian Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2) is sixth in the overall classification, just five points further back.

There will be two wildcard riders in the form of Xavier Simeon (Holiday Gym Racing) and Sascha Hommel (MGM Racing Performance MC). Damian Cudlin will be a substitute for the injured Axel Pons on the Tenerife 40 Pons team.

The psychological boost of the 125cc World Championship lead going into the four-week break is at stake and currently holding the most slender of advantages – just a single point – at the head of the standings is Marc Márquez, thanks to his superb run of four straight wins in the previous four races.

The Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider could become the first rider since Valentino Rossi (in 1997) to win five or more successive races in the category if he triumphs.

His main rival going into the weekend is Pol Espargaró, who on 131 points will ensure that the anticipation for this weekend’s race will be at a peak. The Tuenti Racing rider has finished on the podium for six consecutive races, and last season finished fifth from 19th on the grid at the German track. Interestingly none of the current 125cc class has previously won at Sachsenring.

Third in the standings but in a situation which is much more complex is Nico Terol. Following his last-lap crash at Catalunya, which resulted in a lung contusion and fractured L1 and L2 vertebrae, the Bancaja Aspar rider’s condition will be assessed before a decision is taken on his participation. He will be desperate to not lose any further ground, as he aims to make up what is now a 13-point distance to Espargaró.

Bradley Smith will be in determined mode after his second podium of the season at Catalunya, and the Bancaja Aspar man is 24 points off his team-mate. In fifth and sixth respectively and level on 60 points are Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing) and Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo).

Five wildcard riders will also compete; Daniel Kartheininger (Freudenberg Racing Team), Marvin Fritz (LHF Project Racing), Toni Finsterbusch (Freudenberg Racing Team), Eric Hubsch (Team Sachsenring) and Kevin Hamus (Thomas Sabo Team Hanusch).

A win for any of the Derbi riders would be a 100th Grand Prix victory for the factory, which would make them just the sixth manufacturer to reach the milestone in history of GP racing.

The opening practice of the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland is the 125cc hour-long session, which begins at 12:40pm local time on Friday.