Marco Simoncelli leads the way after an eventful first practice at Sachsenring
The ninth round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship gets under way on Sunday with the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring.
Championship leader Casey Stoner took his debut GP podium here in 2003 the 125cc class. The Australian discussed the importance of establishing a solid set-up with his Repsol Honda to deal with the technically demanding layout, as he bids to defend his 19-point lead at the top of the standings.
“Sachsenring’s very tight and technical, and in the first half of the track you have to get your lines right and make sure the bike’s set up well to turn in the corners with the throttle open,” said Stoner, who took a podium in the German GP last year. “The last part of the track is fast and flowing so it’s a difficult one. It’s a challenge to get the bike set up and competitive, and you spend a lot of time on the left-hand side of the tyre.”
Stoner also hopes that the Mugello test day that followed the MotoGP round at the Italian track will help.
“At the Mugello test we tried to concentrate on the shock that we hadn’t tried since Sepang (Test) this year, and also tried a couple of things with the swing arm, so hopefully at a circuit like this it will have helped to get some more understanding.”
Sitting alongside Stoner at the press conference was his closest rival in the standings, Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, who with a victory at the last round in Italy gained a huge boost in confidence.
“The victory at Mugello gave us more confidence and now we are more focused on trying to win races, before we were playing a little bit – fighting for the podium,” said the reigning world champion.
“Now we know there is a big possibility to fight for the win in the next races. I’ve never won here so it would be a good change to finally win here. We know it will be tough though – I’m very excited to get out on the bike. I like this track, it changes a lot through the different sectors and is very tricky.”
Valentino Rossi continues to search for the ideal set-up on the Ducati, and the Italian made his comeback from injury at this track last season.
“Last year was very emotional to come back and ride after the crash, and I have very good memories because I was fast and had a great battle,” said Rossi.
“We have to try the same this year. This isn’t a good moment for us, we have to work to be closer to the top guys. Sachsenring is strange, very tricky but I like it, I’ve had some good races here in the past.
Rossi was right, in the practices this morning there were five crashes with Simoncelli dominating much of the session despite the strong wind and a 16ºC track, this should make for interesting race.