With Round 8 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship starting tomorrow, the biggest news is the possible return of Nine-Time World Champion Valentino Rossi. If the 31-year-old Italian returns, he’ll have much work in order to catch his teammate and series leader Jorge Lorenzo.
The 23-year-old Spaniard has 165 points, 52 ahead of the man in second place, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. In third is Pedrosa’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Rossi currently is in seventh with 61 points.
But before the action begins for this weekend’s eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland in Germany, here is a bunch of official Sachsenring statistics compiled by the official MotoGP stats team, covering MotoGP, Moto2 and the 125cc Class.
• The first motorcycle Grand Prix to be held in Germany was the West German Grand Prix held at the Solitude circuit in 1952, when it was reported that 400,000 spectators turned up to watch. Ireland’s Reg Armstrong won the 350cc and 500cc races riding Nortons.
• The home crowd had plenty to cheer, with Rudi Felgenheier winning the 250cc race on a DKW and Werner Haas winning the 125cc race on a NSU.
• The first East German Grand Prix was held at the Sachsenring road circuit in 1961. The original circuit used for this event was a closed road circuit 8.73km in length.
• The East German GP continued to be held at the Sachsenring each year until 1972, after which the road circuit was considered too dangerous for Grand Prix racing.
• The West German Grand Prix continued to be held every year from 1952 through to 1990, when East and West joined to become a unified Germany. Four different circuits were used during this period: Solitude, Schotten, Nurburgring and Hockenheim.
• There has been a German Grand Prix held every year since unification – from 1991 to 1994 at the Hockenheim circuit, followed by three years at the Nurburgring and since 1998 at the new Sachsenring.
• The newly built Sachsenring circuit was initially just 3.508km long with one short section of track from the old road circuit. Major modifications to the circuit in 2001 and then additional slight alterations in 2003 resulted in the current 3.671 km track layout.
• In addition to those mentioned above, one other Grand Prix event has been held in Germany: the Baden-Wurtem- berg GP held in 1986 at the Hockenheim circuit for just the 80cc and 125cc classes.
• The Sachsenring is one of just four of the current circuits where Jorge Lorenzo has not had a Grand Prix victory in any class, the others being Valencia, Laguna Seca and Aragon which is being used for the first time this year. In 2008 on his first ride in Germany on a MotoGP machine, he crashed without injury on lap three. Last year he was second while still suffering from injuries from a crash during qualifying for the previous race at Laguna Seca.
• Dani Pedrosa has always been fast at the Sachsenring circuit – he had two victories in the 250cc class before moving up to race in MotoGP. He started from pole on his first visit to the Sachsenring riding a MotoGP machine in 2006 and finished 4th in a sprint to the line. He won the MotoGP race in Germany in 2007, and in 2008 arrived at the German GP leading the champion- ship and had a significant lead in the race in wet conditions when he crashed on lap six. Last year at the German GP he was the top Honda rider in 3rd after qualifying down in 8th on the grid.
• Andrea Dovizioso has finished in fourth place on three occasions in the smaller classes at the Sachsenring, but is still looking for his first podium there. In 2008, on his first ride at the circuit on a MotoGP machine, he qualified 4th and finished the race as top Michelin rider in 5th. In 2009 he had a disappointing German GP, qualifying down in 11th place on the grid and then retiring from the race on the 26th lap with machine problems.
• Nicky Hayden has had more podium finishes at the Sachsenring than at any other circuit, having finished third for the four successive years 2004 to 2007. In 2008 he finished 13th after coming into the pits to change the rear tire after just one lap. Last year he was 8th in the race after he had a big crash during qualifying when he collided into Canepa’s bike, but his 4th place on the grid was his best qualifying result of the year.
• Randy de Puniet’s 8th place in 2008 riding a Honda is the only time he has completed a MotoGP race at the Sachsenring; in the previous two years when he had been riding for Kawasaki he had suffered mechanical failure. Last year he crashed on the first lap – one of only two races that he failed to finish in 2009.
• Casey Stoner missed the MotoGP race in Germany in 2006 after crashing in the Sunday morning warm-up session. In 2007 he qualified on pole and then finished
• Grand Prix racing in Germany he eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring will be the 72nd Grand Prix event to be held on German soil.
• Ben Spies will be racing at the Sachsenring circuit for the first time; the sixth circuit so far in 2010 where he has had no previous racing experience. At the Catalan GP Spies extended his lead in the race to be top Rookie, to 20 points over Marco Simoncelli.
• Marco Melandri has won in the 125cc class at the Sachsenring circuit and twice in the 250cc class, including his first GP win on a 250cc machine in 2001. His only podium in the MotoGP class at the Sachsenring was second behind Rossi in the tremendous battle in 2006. Last year he came through the field from down in 13th place on the grid to finish the race in seventh.
• The Sachsenring circuit is one of Marco Simoncelli’s most successful venues, where he won in the 250cc class in both of the last two years; the only other circuit where he has achieved this is Phillip Island.
• Colin Edwards’ fourth place finish in 2007, after qualifying down in 13th place on the grid, is his best result at the Sachsenring circuit. In 2008 he started from the front row for the first time in Germany but crashed out on lap 21. Last year he finished 9th in Germany, his second worst dry weather finishing position of the year; only in Japan where he had significant machinery issues did he have a worse result in the dry.
• Hector Barbera twice finished on the podium at the Sachsenring whilst competing in the smaller classes: second in the 125cc class in 2004 and second in the 250cc class in 2008. Last year he was fifth in the 250cc GP in Germany, but finished just over a second behind the winner Simoncelli.
• Aleix Espargaro, making just his second Grand Prix start of the year, finished seventh in the 250cc race in Germany last year.
• Alvaro Bautista has had three podium finishes in the smaller classes at the Sachsenring circuit: second in the 125cc race in 2006 and third in the 250cc class for the last two years. His fifth place finish at the Catalan Grand Prix is the best result by a Suzuki rider so far in 2010.
• Loris Capirossi’s second place finish in 2007 is his best result from nine premier- class starts at the Sachsenring circuit. He finished down in 11th place last year at the German Grand Prix at a circuit which Suzuki have traditionally found tough – no Suzuki rider has finished in the top six in a dry weather Grand Prix at the Sachsenring during the four-stroke MotoGP era.
• With Bautista finishing fifth at the Catalan Grand Prix and Capirossi seventh, it was the first time since Misano in 2008 that Suzuki have had two riders finish in the top seven.
• Mika Kallio has had some good results in the smaller classes in Germany; he won the 125cc race from pole in 2005 and was second in the 250cc race after qualifying on pole in 2007. He was 14th in the MotoGP race last year in Germany still suffering from the hand injuries received in a crash on the last lap at Assen.
• Alex de Angelis has an excellent record at the Sachsenring having finished on the podium for six successive years when racing in the smaller classes; in 2002 and 2003 in the 125cc class, and then four years in the 250cc class. De Angelis finished 4th in Germany in 2008 to equal the best result of his debut season in the MotoGP class. He had another good result last year finishing 5th, which was his best result at that stage of the season.
• Toni Elias’ only podium at the Sachsenring circuit was back in 2001 when he finished second in the 125cc class. He had a great MotoGP race in Germany last year, finishing sixth after having a big crash in qualifying and ending up 17th and last on the grid.
• Thomas Luthi’s single podium finish at the Sachsenring was second in 2005 on his way to taking the 125cc world title. Luthi has finished on the podium four times in the opening seven races of 2010, which is more top three finishes than any another rider in the Moto2 class
• Julian Simon’s victory in the 125cc race at the Sachsenring last year, from pole position, was the first time that he had finished on the podium at the Sachsenring circuit.
• Yuki Takahashi won the 250cc race at the German Grand Prix in 2006. This was the last time he had stood on the top step of the podium before his victory in the Moto2 race at the Catalan GP.
• Karle Abraham’s fourth place finish at the Catalan Grand Prix is his best ever Grand Prix result; his previous best was sixth in the 250cc class which he achieved twice.
• Mike di Meglio won the 125cc race at the German Grand Prix on his way to taking the world title in 2008. This is the only occasion he has finished in the top ten at the Sachsenring circuit.
• Gabor Talmacsi had a couple of podiums at the German Grand Prix during his time in the 125cc class: a victory in 2007 from pole position and a third place finish in 2008, again after qualifying on pole.
• None of the riders starting the 125cc race at the German Grand Prix have previously won a GP at the Sachsenring circuit
• Marc Marquez’s ninth place finish two years ago is his best result at the German Grand Prix. If he wins in Germany he will become the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 1997 to win five or more successive races in the 125cc class.
• Pol Espargaro had an excellent race last year in Germany to finish fifth after qualifying down in nineteenth place on the grid.
• Nico Terol finished fourth last year at the German GP behind three riders who have all moved up to the Moto2 class – Simon, Gadea and Olive.
• Bradley Smith had a disappointing race last year after qualifying in second place on the grid – he crashed on the first lap and re- started only to crash again on lap four.
• Tomoyoshi Koyama’s second place finish in 2007 is the only podium finish in Germany by any of the riders currently competing in the 125cc class.
• Last year in Germany, Marcel Schrotter was making just his second wild-card appearance in Grand Prix racing and qualified in fourth place on the grid before finishing the race in twelfth.
• At the Catalan Grand Prix, Zulfahmi Khairuddin finished fifteenth to become only the second GP point scoring rider from Malaysia. The other was Shahrol Yuzy who competed full-time in the 250cc GP class for three years from 2000 onwards.
• Sandro Cortese finished fourth at the Catalan Grand Prix and Jonas Folger was ninth; the best results of the season for both of these German riders.