Italian motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi heads to the Sachsenring for Sunday’s German MotoGP looking to claim his first victory on the famous circuit since 2009 and take another step towards a 10th world title in all categories.
The exuberant 36-year-old Yamaha rider returned to top form a fortnight ago when he prevailed in a thrilling duel with defending world champion Marc Marquez in the Dutch MotoGP and crucially ended the four race winning run of his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
The victory gave Rossi his third win of the season and a ten-point advantage over Lorenzo as he chases his seventh Moto GP crown.
Rossi may be winless at the Sachsenring since 2009 — the last of his four wins in the race — but he finished fourth here last year and claimed a podium place with third in 2013.
“I’m ready for Sachsenring and am going into this race weekend with a happy mindset,” said Rossi.
“Having a ten point lead after eight races is not bad, now we go to Germany and it will be very important to reconfirm how competitive we are.
“Marquez will probably be up there in the next few races and we must be very careful with him.
“At Sachsenring, my first goal will be to work as we have done in the Netherlands, starting from the first free practice.”
Lorenzo will be keen to bounce back from Assen, when he finished third, and is chasing his maiden win at Sachsenring having finished second on four occasions and a third in 2014.
The German track is one of only three circuits on the current calendar that the Spaniard has not won at but he has finished on the podium in the last five editions.
“In theory, Sachsenring is a worse track for us than Assen. It never suited the Yamaha perfectly in the past so it’s a very challenging circuit,” said Lorenzo.
“I have never won in Germany, so I’m keen to get on the top step at least once.”
Honda’s Marquez will be out for revenge in Germany, after losing out to Rossi at the last chicane in Assen.
The reigning world champion seems to have regained some confidence by using a hybrid bike made up of 2014’s frame with this year’s engine and electronics, that he says gives him more margin for error.
Marquez may trail Rossi by 74 points in the standings, but he could still have a vital role to play in the outcome of this year’s title race, as he showed in Holland.
The 22-year-old Spaniard has dominated the last two renewals at the Sachsenring, winning both races from pole plus also recording the fastest lap, and his newfound confidence with his bike will make him a real threat once more.
“There has been some positive progression with the bike and there are still some things to solve, but we have definitely made a step forward,” said Marquez.
“Sachsenring is a small and twisty little circuit, unlike any others on the calendar.
“I’ve enjoyed good results here in the past and I hope this weekend can prove to be a good weekend for us also.
“The weather can be tricky there so we will have to work hard from the first session.” – Agence France-Presse