Press releases from the MotoGP teams ahead of this Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, in which Cardion AB reveals that Ducati test rider Franco Battaini will be riding for the injured Karel Abraham:
ESPARGARÓ AND DE PUNIET CONTINUE CRT BATTLE IN GERMANY
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar separated by a single championship point after seven rounds
The MotoGP World Championship this week heads to Sachsenring, a circuit that if it wasn't for Laguna Seca would be the shortest on the calendar. A mixture of flowing corners and hard braking zones with barely a straight piece of track to speak of, the German track always presents a difficult challenge for the engineers and riders but it also presents another opportunity for the CRT machines to to spring a surprise on their factory MotoGP rivals after an impressive weekend at Assen. The first corner tangle between Alvaro Bautista and Jorge Lorenzo at the Dutch TT has blown the race for the premier-class title wide open, with Casey Stoner able to draw level with Lorenzo on points as the series heads for round eight of eighteen.
POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider Randy De Puniet led a CRT charge into the top ten for the first time at Assen, the Frenchman's eighth place seeing him draw level on points with his team-mate Aleix Espargaró, who was unfortunately forced out of the race with an engine problem. The pair go head-to-head this weekend as they continue their own private battle to be the best of the new generation machines.
Aleix Espargaró: "We worked really hard at Assen and it was a perfect weekend up until the race. My pace was good and I had a strong chance of finishing as the best CRT but a problem with the engine left us out of the race. It's an unfortunate blip but it is behind us now and we have to keep working this weekend. Our level is clearly very high and we are not going to let a small setback get us down. At Sachsenring we will be fighting to be the best CRT again. It is a small but fast track, not one of my favourites but I think we can do well there. It should be easier for the CRT bikes to get closer to the factory prototypes and I am looking forward to getting on with it and putting Assen behind us as quickly as possible."
Randy De Puniet: "I am still feeling happy and satisfied with the performance at Assen. It was a real team effort and after turning our bad luck around we can focus on maintaining our work ethic and picking up good results. The set-up is getting closer and closer to perfection and the bike is incredibly easy to handle now. We just need to focus on improving performance of the engine. At Sachsenring we'll have another opportunity to score a good result and my objective will be the same as usual: to be the best CRT. The fact it is such a short track should reduce the gap to the factory prototypes but I don't want to think about that or take my eye off our primary objective."
Lorenzo and Spies Look Forward to Sachsenring
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo move to Sachsenring this week for the Grand Prix of Germany, the second of three consecutive race weekends. Championship leader Lorenzo will be looking to make up for last weekend’s disastrous Assen TT. He was taken out on the first corner on lap one of the race, destroying his 25 point advantage over Casey Stoner and leaving him with a sprained ankle. Lorenzo has yet to take a victory at the Sachsenring circuit but has finished in second place for the last three consecutive years.
Fellow Yamaha Factory rider Spies will be hoping this weekend will finally see an end to his run of bad luck. The Texan’s return to form over the last two races has been dogged by tyres issues, preventing at least two potential podium finishes. Spies managed a respectable eighth on his first visit to the Sachsenring circuit in 2010 and fifth last year.
“Assen was a disaster for us, we worked very hard to build up the Championship lead which unfortunately was lost on the first corner. Anyway, now we start again at the same points as Casey. I haven’t won a race at Sachsenring but have had good battles there and always finished on the podium. That is our goal this weekend, and if possible to fight for the victory. My ankle is quite sore but luckily there is nothing broken.”
“We’re really hoping our bad luck is over now and we can realize our full potential this weekend. I’m feeling really confident with the bike and the team has been delivering a great set up for me so we know we can fight at the front. A weekend without any issues would be great so we can just focus on riding the bike!”
“After a very tough weekend in Assen we are quite happy to race immediately again. For Jorge it’s good to be able to get straight back on the bike to fight back as quickly as possible. We need to erase Assen and move on. We’re still fast and we are confident we could have fought for victory there so we take that with us.”
“Assen was definitely not the weekend we planned. Unfortunately sometimes these things happen in racing. Now we move forward to Sachsenring confident that both Jorge and Ben can perform well. The M1 has worked well at every circuit so far this year so it shouldn’t be any different in Germany.”
Repsol Honda Team heads to Sachsenring with Championship tied
With no time to take a breath and just five days after the challenging race at Assen, the Repsol Honda Team follows the Championship to Sachsenring for this weekend's Grand Prix of Germany, the eighth round of the season.
After the double podium in the Netherlands, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa will aim to maintain this momentum and take another step forward in the World Championship, where Casey is now equal on points at the top of the standings with Lorenzo (140), while Dani (in third position with 121 points) has seen the gap to the leaders reduced to 19 points.
The Sachsenring track, the second shortest on the calendar after Laguna Seca, is a much slower circuit than Silverstone and Assen, but again it will be very demanding on tyres: 13 turns -10 left and only 3 to the right - means a lot of stress on the tyres and the track layout requires a very accurate set up of the bikes.
Casey has four podium finishes in Germany, including a victory in 2008, while for Dani Sachsenring has been like a talisman circuit in the past, with five victories (three in MotoGP, including the last two years) and six podiums in total.
CASEY STONER World Championship Position: 2nd with 140 points
"I hope we can go to Sachsenring and get another good result especially after our tough, but rewarding weekend in Assen. We were quite competitive there last year, but in the long corners we are struggling a little more with our bike at the moment so we're going to need to work hard on Friday and Saturday, try to find more grip from the edge of the tyre and also see if we can reduce the front chatter. It's a very interesting track, maybe not one of the greatest on the circuit but has one of the best corners coming down the hill which is a little scary with spending so much time on the left before switching to the right side of the tyre. It's a good atmosphere there though with all the spectators so close to the track, it feels like a Coliseum ! There's always an interesting race there as we saw last year so we'll see what this weekend has in store".
DANI PEDROSA World Championship Position: 3rd with 121 points
"Sachsenring has been a successful track for us in the past, we've got some very good results there and it's a circuit where I always enjoy racing. Every race counts and we have to keep working hard and our time will come. We had a very good weekend in Assen and we have to repeat it in Germany; hopefully with the first win of 2012 that we are chasing so much. Sachsenring is a short track where the performance of the tyres will again play a big part, because you are leaning on the left a long time and the fastest corner is to the right. We need to set up the bike the best we can and give our best on Sunday".
BACK ON TRACK AT SACHSENRING
After a bittersweet weekend in the Netherlands Team San Carlo Honda Gresini head directly to their next appointment across the border in neighbouring Germany. Alvaro Bautista travels to the Sachsenring circuit still feeling aggrieved at the decision of Race Direction to penalise him for his mistake in the first corner of the Dutch TT by making him start from the back of the grid in this Sunday's race. However, the Spaniard is determined to put his frustration to good use and secure a positive result before heading to the team's home race at Mugello the following weekend. Michele Pirro left Assen on a high after scoring his best result on the team's CRT bike. The Italian was as near as he has been to finishing as the top CRT rider in the race but it seems only a matter of time until he achieves it and the goal is to take another step closer this weekend.
Alvaro Bautista “I was really unhappy with the crash in the first turn at Assen because we had done a great job in practice and I think we had the setting to have a great race. I made a mistake in calculating my braking marker and I braked so hard trying not to hit anybody that I lost the front and ended up taking another rider with me anyway. It is the first time this has happened to me and I was sorry that another rider was also involved and unable to finish the race, losing important championship points. Luckily there were no serious consequences in terms of injuries and I am certain of one thing: it won't happen again. I am sorry for the team, who always give 100% and more and they deserved better but unfortunately this is all part of life. At Sachsenring we'll be starting from the back of the grid and as I have already said I think it is an excessive penalty for a racing incident and whilst I accept it I do so reluctantly. Our objective has to be to continue working in the same way as up to now and try to pick up as many points as we can in the race. Sachsenring is a short and difficult circuit with no major straights. There are a lot of left-handers and that gets demanding over race distance. The atmosphere is fantastic because it is like a motorcycling festival with so many fans packing the grandstands.”
Michele Pirro “Overall I am very satisfied with how things are going for us. We took another step forward in the race at Assen even though I was a little disappointed because at one stage I really thought I had a chance of finishing as the top CRT. It's a shame but I am sure it is only a matter of time. As usual the guys are working really hard and we are making progress from race to race. We'll see how our bike works at Sachsenring, which is a unique circuit, and if we can continue with our recent improvements. I like the track and qualified fourth there last year in Moto2. It's not an easy track and you don't get a moment's rest because it is so short but we'll try and get around it as best we can and get a good result going to Mugello”
Fausto Gresini “Practice for Alvaro at Sachsenring will be more relaxed. We have accepted the penalty and we will start from the back of the grid but we'll try and get the best possible result before heading to our home race at Mugello. Michele's result at Assen shows that the project is in good health and making the right progress. We are very close to being rewarded and we'll continue working to that end. Sachsenring possibly doesn't suit us that much but we will try to adapt the bike to the demands of the track. It won't be an easy weekend but we will do our best to make it a positive one.”
NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team ready for Sachsenring
The MotoGP World championship continues, with Assen already done, the eighth round of the season takes us now to Sachsenring for this weekend’s GP.
The NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team and Colin Edwards arrive to Germany willing to make up for the results achieved so far and with interesting ideas to improve the American’s feeling with his Suter BMW prototype.
At this Germany circuit, Colin has come really close to the podium with a 4th place in 2007 and a first row qualifying the following year.
In Moto2, Alex De Angelis´s 5th position at Assen has been a turning point in this season for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team, who now sets itself the goal of confirming this good result and making it to the top5 in this coming race.
Yuki Takahashi has found some adaptation difficulties with the new bike at the past GP weekend but will a general good feeling that he will be able to enter the points in this German GP. His main focus this weekend will be to solve the front chatter problems encountered last weekend.
Both riders know what it is to be on the podium at Sachsenring, Alex’s last podium here was last year in Moto2 and Yuki won his second race in the 250cc category.
Ducati Team prepares for Sachsenring challenge
The Sachsenring is a unique track: short, narrow and, for the most part, slow and twisty, seemingly little-suited for the power of MotoGP bikes. In reality however, it often plays host to hard-fought, thrilling races.
In addition, the atmosphere that surrounds the event is very popular among the world championship riders, who appreciate the passion and enthusiasm of the large crowd that fills the grandstands starting with Friday’s free practice sessions.
Valentino Rossi has won at the Sachsenring five times in his career, and he has climbed the podium on four other occasions. Nicky Hayden is also a frequent visitor to the Sachsenring rostrum, having finished third four times.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“I like the Sachsenring track. It’s difficult because it’s slow and narrow, but it also has some very fast sections, in addition to big elevation changes. It’s quite different from the tracks at the last two rounds, Silverstone and Assen, so we’ll see where we stand with our bike. Last year we had a difficult weekend in Germany, but of course my goal is always to do better every time we return to any track.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“Some people complain about the Sachsenring because it’s so small and tight, but I like it. The lap times are really short, and usually really close. You hardly ever use sixth gear, but it might have the best corner in MotoGP: the fast, blind, downhill Waterfall corner. When you’re bike’s working, it’s a lot of fun, although I’ve come off there, which definitely wasn’t fun! I like counter clockwise tracks, and I’ve been on the pole and on the podium there. Our bike tends to be hard on tyres, which can be a problem at the Sachsenring, but I think we made a little step with that this past weekend that could help us. I’m looking forward to it. We’ll try to have a good race there and see if we can get our best result of the season, to pay the team back for all the hard work.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“The Sachsenring is the second-shortest track on the championship calendar, as well as one of the slowest. With its prevalence of left-hand corners, it tends to work that side of the tyre quite hard, so that will be one more thing we’ll have to take into account with our setup. At the moment, we’re working toward being more consistent over race distance, and at Assen, if we exclude the problem that hurt Valentino, we saw some positive signs in that regard, though considerable work still remains.”
Karel Abraham pulls out of Sachsenring, Franco Battaini to ride in his place
Due to injury, Karel Abraham will not be starting the German Grand Prix, which takes place from 6 – 8 July at Sachsenring. Taking over the bike of the Czech rider will be Ducati team test rider, Franco Battaini. He has already had some experience working alongside Cardion AB Motoracing at a pre-season test at Sepang, and this season has already tested the Ducati team bike in place of the injured Nicky Hayden.
“Assen showed us there was no point in racing at all costs, because with this handicap I can’t perform at my maximum, and, at the same time, by straining my injured hand I’m just extending the recovery time needed to heal the break. Unfortunately, for a motorcycle rider this type of injury is really unlucky: it’s one of the areas of the hand that is subject to tremendous strain, and if it’s not completely healed, it puts a limit on what I can do. We simply have to hope that a two-week break is enough to regain fitness, and that I’ll be able to return to the track at Mugello.”
Karel Abraham sr., Manager of the the Cardion AB Motoracing team
“Franco is an experienced and top-class rider, who has already worked with us during our second pre-season tests at Sepang, when Kája had to pull out due to a back injury. At that time he was an enormous help in enabling us to set up Kája’s bike, and I think the collaboration worked out really well for all of us. I’m confident this relationship will continue to prosper this weekend.
8TH ROUND FOR THE 2012 SEASON: ENI MOTORRAD GRAND PRIX DEUTSCHLAND
After its Dutch foray in Assen just three days ago, the Pramac Racing Team is arriving to Germany, for the second race in a row this weekend at the Sachsenring circuit for the Eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deuthscheland. It will be the sequel of a tough fortnight for the riders, with this race followed immediately by the Gran Premio d’Italia in Mugello.
Located in the heartland of the former East Germany’s once illustrious motorcycle racing industry, the Sachsenring is built right next to the old road course, a characteristic that the track shares with Brno in the nearby Czech Republic, which the paddock will visit in mid August. It is the second shortest track on the calendar and features a series of tight and relatively slow corners mixed in with some dazzlingly fast ones – including a stomach-churning downhill right hander which was added in 2003.
The wooded hills of the Sachsenring have produced some stunning races for the Spanish rider Hèctor Barberà in the last years, as in 2004 when Hèctor achieved a great second place aboard his Aprilia 125cc or in 2010 where he produced one of his best performances of his MotoGP career.
The 25-year old put up a brilliant performance last time out in Holland and finished in seventh place and now he arrives to Germany with a confident and enthusiastic mood.
Hèctor Barberà – Pramac Racing Team Rider –
“I feel very good after the seventh place in Germany: a shining race that we needed for our confidence. We will tale more power from it for future races, especially for the next two.
Now it’s the time for Germany: the track is quite well suited to my riding style and even though it is short it has some fast and flowing corners. I like the track and tend to be quite fast there so I hope to have a great weekend. Our objective as always is to be in the top ten, fighting with the other riders to catch the best result as possible”
Francesco Guidotti – Pramac Racing Team Manager –
“We are going to Germany with some optimism, trying to repeat the more than positive performance at Assen.
Our reference point remains the Ducati Factory Team, as Hèctor could stay with its riders.”
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Race Preview - Round 8: Sachsenring, Germany
Thursday, 5 July 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
The Sachsenring is one of the most extreme circuits for tyres owing to its abrasive tarmac and long sequence of left-hand turns and its unique layout has produced many thrilling contests since being included on the Grand Prix calendar in 1998.
With ten left-hand turns compared to just three right-handers, the Sachsenring is extremely punishing on the left shoulder of the tyres and the nature of the tarmac can cause high levels of abrasion so the extra-hard front slick option makes its first appearance since the season opener at Qatar.
The imbalance in number of left and right-hand turns at the Sachsenring means asymmetric rear slicks are provided in the medium and hard compound options. However, because of the extreme difference in temperature generated on the shoulders of the tyres - due, in particular, to the sequence of interlinked left-hand corners from turns six to ten - the variance in compound hardness between the left and right shoulders of the rear slicks is one of the largest on the calendar.
Additionally, due to the severity of this track for tyres, Sachsenring, along with Phillip Island is one of only two circuits on the calendar that requires the provision of special construction rear slicks that are specifically developed to cope with the generation of exceptionally high tyre temperatures.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The German Grand Prix is a standout on the calendar both because of its anti-clockwise layout with many left-hand turns and also the large number of close races we have enjoyed here over the years. It is also a significant event for Bridgestone as Germany is a very important market for us and it pleases me very much that the local fans will yet again have a home-grown hero in Stefan Bradl to cheer on during the race.
“As we approach the halfway mark of the season Casey and Jorge are tied in the championship standings so the next couple of races will be hard fought as they both try to gain the upper hand, while Dani won the race here last year and has a good record at the circuit so I expect him to be very strong this weekend.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Sachsenring is a technical circuit that features numerous left-hand turns and is run in an anti-clockwise direction. It begins with two slow right-hand corners before opening up into a series of very high-speed long lefts that sweep onto the back straight and then onto the main straight and these left-hand turns, combined with the very abrasive tarmac mean that a good bike setup is essential at this circuit as it is easy to overheat the left side of the tyres, particularly in the rear.
“Though this circuit has one of the lowest average speeds on the calendar, the layout of the circuit generates some of the highest tyre temperatures recorded during the season on the left shoulder of the tyre, while the right shoulder is placed under considerably less stress and must retain adequate temperature during a lap. This means that not only must we provide asymmetric rear tyres with much harder compounds on the left shoulder of the tyre for superior heat and wear resistance, we also utilise a special construction method for the rear slicks to ensure the tyre can manage with the extreme forces sustained at this track. Much like at Qatar, the abrasive track surface also means we provide the extra-hard front tyre option at the Sachsenring alongside the soft and medium compounds.”