MotoGP arrives in Germany
As the MotoGP™ field contests its second of three races in successive weekends, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner, both points even at the top of the MotoGP™ championship table, were joined by Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl and Mattia Pasini at the press conference on Thursday marking the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring.
Lorenzo, who was taken out in the first corner at the last Grand Prix in Assen by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista and sustained a sprained left ankle, has not taken a victory at the Sachsenring, but will be hoping to do so in order to regain the championship lead from his Australian rival. He commented: “When I crashed in Assen I just felt some pain, but after a few hours it swelled up, and when I went to the doctor in Barcelona they told me my ligaments were stretched, and I still cannot put the foot on the ground. But I hope tomorrow it will be ok on the bike, because you put less force on your feet. We’ll have to see how I feel.”
He is also trying to remain upbeat after the last race, and is in fact using it as extra motivation: “It was a negative weekend. We didn’t complete the race, got no points and have one engine less. It will be difficult to recover this engine – I think almost impossible. The only way to get it back is if the other brands want me to have this engine, so I think it could be quite difficult. But anyway, the rules are the rules, and I want to stick to the rules. The situation is much more difficult than before Assen, but I like difficult things. I now have even more motivation to keep working and to keep trying to win races.”
Stoner, who clawed back a vital 25 points after Lorenzo’s crash with a dominant win last time out, is aiming to continue this run of form. Having also crashed at Assen during a practice session, the Australian commented that he now had no ill effects: “Assen was a pretty tough weekend for us as far as injuries and other thing were concerned, but over these last days everything has healed up quite a bit more and hopefully we won’t have any problems this weekend. This track physically isn’t quite as hard as Assen. Here it’s a little bit gentler on the body, so I think we should be ok.”
The one-time winner here also shared his thoughts on the German track, where tyres will be key: “There are only a few areas you can use full throttle, especially now on the 1000. There is so much partial throttle here as you spend a lot of time on the edge of the tyre, which puts a lot of wear and tear on it. And then when you do want to open the throttle there’s usually not a lot there – you’ve either got too much temperature or the compound’s so hard – to compensate for the time you have on the edge – that you have no grip. It’s a challenging circuit but we’ve had pretty good success here in the past.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who recorded his second podium of the season on-board his satellite Yamaha, is looking ever more comfortable on board his machine and is hoping to close the gap to his factory counterparts: “The last three races we’ve been quite fast. We did our first podium in Barcelona, we had the possibility to fight for the podium in Silverstone but I crashed, and then we got the podium in Assen. We are fast, but this is not enough. As you can see, Lorenzo is using more of the potential of the bike, so it means we can make it better. This is our target. My feeling with the bike improves every time. Our bike is really close to the factory bike and Yamaha gives us lots of support, so I think we have the possibility to stay with them.”
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl has high expectations heaped on him by an excited home crowd, which has suffered a lack of German riders in the premier-class in recent years. The German however is also putting plenty of pressure on himself: “To come here as a MotoGP rider is something special, but it also means I have to perform on the bike and this is what I like to do. Just finishing tenth all the time, as I said at the start of the season, gives us no reason to be here – so it’s a more a stressful weekend for me. But we can manage that and I’m looking forward to seeing the circuit on a MotoGP bike.”
“I don’t like to speak about it [his crash at Assen] because it was a stupid mistake, but I hope I have learned from it and hope I can do better for the future. It’s [Sachsenring] not one of my favourite circuits, but I like being here in Germany.”
Completing the pre-race press conference was Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini, who has so far been a solid performer with his ART machine. He said: “It’s a great season for me with a great opportunity in MotoGP. In MotoGP you have the best riders in the world, so to be here is not bad. Sure it’s CRT and not a factory, but I’m giving 100% to fight for this championship. Now we’ll hope to make a step to finish as top CRT. It’s a great track for me as I won here in 2006 and I’ve had some podiums in the 250cc class.”
Earlier in the day, the Sachsenring grid was already roaring with activity as current and former MotoGP riders gathered for a photo opportunity to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the German track. Over 50 vehicles that have raced at the track over the past 85 years were on display.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’ Cal Crutchlow was present on his YZR-M1 alongside Phil Read on his 1968 250cc Yamaha, whilst LCR Honda MotoGP’s German rookie Stefan Bradl rode his bike alongside his father Helmut on his own Honda NSR 250cc for a short run down the main straight. After completing the run, they each got a taste of a different era, by switching bikes to return to the grid. MotoGP Legends such as Angel Nieto, Jim Redman and Anton Mang were also in attendance.
BRADL – JNR & SNR