George S. Patton – one of the USA’s most respected Army Generals – relied heavily on history when designing his military strategies. He says “prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”It appears Valentino Rossi has taken this Patton quote to the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing throughout the opening eight rounds of 2015 MotoGP. The 36-year-old Italian – the oldest pilot in MotoGP – finished on the podium at every race, including three wins at Qatar, Argentina and two weeks ago at Assen.
The nine-time World Champion has yet to lose the MotoGP points lead this season. Rossi knows the weaknesses of his main rivals, and has capitalized on these weaknesses in the rounds he won, including his tactical last-corner win over Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez at Assen two weeks ago.The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot will look to the past once again this weekend at Sachsenring MotoGP, which has hosted the German Grand Prix since 1998. Rossi enters Germany with a 10-point lead over his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo.This year’s situation is very similar to 2009; that year, Rossi entered the German Grand Prix with a nine-point lead over teammate Jorge Lorenzo, and also three wins. Rossi fought hard, eventually beating Lorenzo to the line by a mere 0.099 of a second. Following the victory, Rossi would charge his way to his ninth – and final to date – title.As Rossi chases his 10th World Championship, he will look for a repeat performance of that 2009 German GP. Rossi has an advantage over Lorenzo; the Italian YZR-M1 pilot has four wins at Sachsenring MotoGP, and Lorenzo none.But Lorenzo has finished on the podium during the last five Sachsenring MotoGP meets, including third during last year’s rainy race. As for Rossi, he finished just off the podium, 19 seconds behind the winner.And if history does come into play, last year’s victor at Sachsenring MotoGP will also present a threat during this year’s 30-lap race at the 2.28-mile track. Marquez struggled throughout the opening rounds of 2015 MotoGP, but switched back to a 2014 RC213V chassis for the Dutch Grand Prix. The RC213V was actually a hybrid, consisting of last year’s chassis and this year’s engine, swingarm and electronics.The defending MotoGP Champion Marquez looked comfortable at Assen, and took the fight to the last chicane; he eventual earned second. Marquez may be 74 points behind Rossi, but if his rhythm of the past two years resurfaces, he has more than enough time to earn a third-straight title. Plus, he won the past two Sachsenring MotoGP rounds from the pole.Besides these two Spaniards – Marquez and Lorenzo – challenging Rossi, a third Spaniard may present a challenge – Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. The RC213V pilot missed three rounds – Texas, Argentina, Spain – due to arm-pump surgery, and only earned one podium this season in Catalunya.Pedrosa suffered a crash during warm up at Assen, but finished the race in eighth. As he seeks a second podium, Pedrosa heads to Sachsenring MotoGP as the most successful rider to win in Germany, which will host its 77th GP this weekend. Pedrosa claimed four MotoGP wins, and two others in the former 250cc class.The top Ducati rider after eight rounds is Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone, who is third in points, 56 points behind Rossi and 46 behind Lorenzo. Iannone earned fourth at Assen, solidifying his third place in the championship and allowing him to move 22 points ahead of Marquez and 20 ahead of the other factory Ducati GP15 pilot, Andrea Dovizioso. Last year Iannone finished fifth at Sachsenring.As for the Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR pilots, Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales earned ninth and 10th, respectively, at Assen. Both riders complained of acceleration issues aboard their GSX-RR prototypes, but will be hoping for better results in Germany.Leading the battle for the satellite teams is Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradely Smith, who is sixth in points. The Brit is 20 ahead of CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, and 21 ahead of teammate Pol Espargaro. In 2012, Crutchlow earned his best-ever MotoGP result of second at Sachsenring MotoGP, and Pol has earned third there in the Moto2 class.Athina Forward Racing’s Loriz Baz earned the Open-class victory at Assen, and has now closed in on the Open-class points leader, Pramac Racing Ducati’s Hector Barbera. Baz is now two points behind Barbera.As for the sole American in MotoGP, Apsar MotoGP Team’s Nicky Hayden will look to better his 16th-place finish at Assen. The 2006 MotoGP Champion had earned three-consecutive podiums at Sachsenring MotoGP from 2005-2007.Two riders will be missing from the Sachsenring MotoGP grid – home favorite Stefan Bradl (Athina Forward Racing) due to breaking his scaphoid in Assen, and AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, who injured his foot during the Catalunya MotoGP. Claudo Corti will substitute for Bradl, and Hiroshi Aoyama for Abraham.2015 Sachsenring MotoGP on TV:Fox Sports 1 will provide live broadcast coverage of 2015 Sachsenring MotoGP beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET.2015 MotoGP Point Standings (after eight of 18 rounds):‘1. Valentino ROSSI, Yamaha, ITA 163 2. Jorge LORENZO, Yamaha, SPA 153 3. Andrea IANNONE, Ducati, ITA 107 4. Marc MARQUEZ, Honda, SPA 89 5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Ducati, ITA 87 6. Bradley SMITH, Yamaha, GBR 77 7. Cal CRUTCHLOW, Honda, GBR 57 8. Pol ESPARGARO, Yamaha, SPA 56 9. Maverick VIÑALES, Suzuki, SPA 52 10 Dani PEDROSA, Honda, SPA 47 11. Danilo PETRUCCI, Ducati, ITA 44 12. Aleix ESPARGARO, Suzuki, SPA 38 13. Scott REDDING, Honda, GBR 30 14. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Ducati, COL 28 15. Hector BARBERA, Ducati, SPA 16 16. Loris BAZ, Yamaha Forward, FRA 14 17. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Aprilia, SPA 11 18. Jack MILLER, Honda AUS, 11 19. Stefan BRADL, Yamaha, Forward GER 9 20. Michele PIRRO, Ducati, ITA 8 21. Nicky HAYDEN, Honda, USA 8 22. Eugene LAVERTY, Honda, IRL 7 23. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Honda, JPN 5 24. Mike DI MEGLIO, Ducati, FRA 2 25. Alex DE ANGELIS, ART, RSM 1
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!