Fresh from a two-week summer break, Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo head to Brno in the Czech Republic this weekend riding high at the top of the championship. Despite a disappointing last round in the UK the pair remain first and second in the standings with seven rounds remaining, setting up a thrilling final seven-race run to the end of the season.
Brno is a special track for Rossi as the Italian took the first of his 101 career victories there, in the 125cc class in 1996. Since then he has added a 250cc win and four MotoGP victories to his tally, including a commanding one last year on the way to his eighth World Championship title, and three second places. The 30-year-old slid out of the lead in Donington last time out but remounted to finish fifth, meaning he managed to extend his lead at the top of the championship to 25 points from his team-mate.
22-year-old Lorenzo also has an impressive record at Brno, having won there in 125cc and twice in 250cc, both times from pole position. He finished tenth at the Czech track last year, a creditable performance considering that he was nursing broken bones in his foot sustained at the previous round in America. This year he arrives more or less in full fitness, having had a chance to fully recover from another foot injury, lying second in the championship and determined to put in a good performance to try to close some of the 25-point deficit to Rossi.
This year marks the 40th time a Grand Prix has been held at Brno since the 14km road circuit was first used in 1965. Today the modern track retains much of the character of the original road circuit, with its winding chicanes and dramatic elevation changes. The well-balanced nature of the circuit make it an ideal testing venue and the team will remain there after the race for a key mid-season test. Brno sees an important new rule come into existence, with all riders now restricted to just five engines for the final seven races of the season with a 10-point deduction for any rider who goes over his quota.
Valentino Rossi Speaks…
"The summer ‘holiday’ wasn’t as long as usual but anyway I’ve had the chance to recharge the batteries in the break and I’m feeling rested and relaxed. Last time out wasn’t ideal but in the end it was a positive day for us and we now have a one-race buffer at the top of the championship. Despite this breathing space we can’t afford to relax for a minute because our rivals are very strong and I expect everyone to be at their best in Brno. It’s a great track for me and I took my first ever win there; I’m hoping for another good result this time."
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks…
"I’m really excited about this race after what feels like a long time without one. It was good to have a bit of a break and I used the time to work on my fitness and to completely recover from the injuries I had after Laguna, in the gym and with my physiotherapist. The result is that I feel much better than I did in Germany and England and I’m excited to be getting back on the bike. I like Brno and I have had good results in the past there, including three wins. This time my aim is to fight hard and get back on the podium."
Davide Brivio Speaks…
"After a short break, Brno is the start of three close races before the real season finale of the remaining four events. Brno is a good circuit both for Valentino and for Yamaha in general and we have to take advantage of this to manage and hopefully extend the 25-point advantage we currently have in the championship. Valentino has always been at the top there and it’s a track that’s full of important memories for him and for us, including in 2008 when it marked the start of us ‘completing’ the job of recapturing the title. At the moment we’re working very well and we are looking forward to maintaining the same high standard as much as possible. The competition amongst the top riders is very exciting and we hope we can offer everyone another great show."
Daniele Romagnoli Speaks…
"A little break to recharge the batteries has been useful for us all before the last seven races. This has given Jorge the chance to improve his fitness after his Laguna Seca injuries and he will be in good shape for Brno. All the team and Jorge want to forget the ‘zero point’ of Donington and we have a great motivation to catch Valentino at the top of the championship! From this Grand Prix the new engine rule will be applied but Yamaha has worked hard on engine durability and maintaining performance so we’re confident that it won’t be an issue."
Brno: Record Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’57.199
Brno: Best Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2006, 1’56.191
Grand Prix Results: Brno 2008
1. V. Rossi (Yamaha)
2. T. Elias (Ducati)
3. L. Capirossi (Suzuki)
10. J. Lorenzo (Yamaha)