Aug 21, 2012
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Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa.
The MotoGP™ grid has less than a week to regroup before the bwin Grand Prix CeskÃ© Republiky this weekend, where all three classes will be contesting the popular Czech track for championship positions.
In the premier class the competition was blown wide open once again after Repsol Honda Team's Dani Pedrosa recorded a stunning victory in Indianapolis to close the gap to championship leader, Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo, to a mere 18 points. Pedrosa will be looking to dispel memories of his last outing at the track, where he crashed out of the lead half way through the race. Lorenzo, who has not placed lower than second this season, will be hoping to be on the pace, in a bid to extend the gap over his compatriot.
Pedrosa's teammate Casey Stoner, who fought his way to fourth last weekend despite a fracture and torn ligaments in his right ankle, will find it tough to repeat his win at Brno from last year. Yet, the Australian never one to give up, will no doubt be quick from the off. Lurking close by will be top satellite performer Andrea Dovizioso on board his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike, who has been in impressive form this season, taking five podiums so far. His closest challenger and teammate Cal Crutchlow will hope to turn around his fortunes in the Czech Republic, as he looks to make amends for his DNF last time out.
Another satellite battle to keep an eye on will be that of LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl and San Carlo Honda Gresini's Ãlvaro Bautista, who are now only separated in the championship table by two points. Bautista, who got the upper hand in Indianapolis, crashed out of last year's Brno race, and will be trying his upmost to get a good result this time around. Ducati Team's Valentino Rossi, who has won at the Czech circuit a total of six times, will aim to put his Desmosedici further up the field after struggling with rear grip issues in the U.S. His teammate Nicky Hayden, who suffered fractures in his right hand and a concussion in a big crash, is still a doubt for the race.
Yamaha's Ben Spies, who once again suffered wretched luck when his engine blew whilst in second place in Indy, will be thinking that his time for some good fortune should come soon. Last year he finished fifth in Brno, which is no doubt a result the American would settle for right now. Pramac Racing Team's HÃ©ctor BarberÃ¡, who suffered a fracture to his no.6 vertebra during practice at the Brickyard, is a big doubt for the race, and will most certainly be replaced by stand-in rider Toni ElÃas, as he has been the last two races. Someone who has been getting back to full fitness is local rider Karel Abraham with his Cardion AB Racing team. He will no doubt look to put on a good show for his home fans and kick-start his season with a good result.
Amongst the CRT riders, Avintia Blusens' Yonny Hernandez and his teammate IvÃ¡n Silva will be ones to watch, after a surge in performance at the last round. Their biggest rivals will remain the Power Electronics Aspar duo of Randy de Puniet and Aleix EspargarÃ³, who continue to lead the CRT standings. They will be joined on the grid once again be San Carlo's Michele Pirro, Speed Master's Mattia Pasini, Came IodaRacing Project's Danilo Petrucci, NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Colin Edwards and Paul Bird Motorsport's James Ellison.
The Moto2™ field will have its work cut out as it takes to the Brno track next weekend for the bwin Grand Prix CeskÃ© Republiky with Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol's Marc MÃ¡rquez looking in ominous form.
After a dominant display at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, MÃ¡rquez now holds a 39-point lead over closest rival, Pons 40 HP Tuenti's Pol EspargarÃ³, who will be desperate to claw back points on his compatriot. MÃ¡rquez and EspargarÃ³, who were second and sixth respectively last year at Brno, may however find their biggest challenge in the form of Speed Master's Andrea Iannone. The Italian may have struggled last weekend, yet last year proved unstoppable as he carved his way through the pack to an emphatic victory at the Czech track.
Interwetten-Paddock's Tom LÃ¼thi, who had a disappointing race for his standards last weekend, will be hoping to return to podium-challenging ways to chase Iannone and EspargarÃ³ in the championship standings. He will however face stiff competition from Marc VDS Racing Team duo Scott Redding and Mika Kallio, who both looked on good form after their summer break, albeit in the latter stages of the last race. Tech 3 Racing's Bradley Smith, who will be stepping up to MotoGP™ next year within his team, will hope to do so with a few more points on the board, and would welcome a good run in Brno.
This may be hampered by Blusens Avintia's JuliÃ¡n SimÃ³n, who was once again back on the pace in Indianapolis, scoring his first podium for the first time in over a year. And despite being taken out of the last race, NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Alex de Angelis might also have a say up at the front at a track he enjoys, having only just missed out on the podium there last year. One rider hoping to carry his pace through an entire race will be Technomag-CIP's Dominique Aegerter, who was leading the early stages of the Indianapolis race. If he can match this pace for a prolonged period of time, he might be a dark horse once the Moto2™ field takes to the track in Brno.
The bwin Grand Prix CeskÃ© Republiky is the next setting for the Moto3™ riders this coming weekend, as they will once again look to dice it out on track for lightweight-class supremacy.
Red Bull KTM Ajo's championship leader Sandro Cortese may be disappointed to have missed out on the win by a fraction in Indianapolis, but will be buoyed by the fact that a stunning ride last year won him the top step on the podium in the Czech Republic. He currently holds a 29-point lead over nearest championship challenger, Blusens Avintia's Maverick ViÃ±ales, who suffered a dramatic fall in the final bend of the last race. He will undoubtedly be looking to make amends in Brno and to claw back some points on his German rival.
Before the summer break the Moto3 championship may have looked like a two horse race, yet RW Racing GP's Luis Salom has truly thrown a spanner into the works with his win last time out. With his first ever Grand Prix win under his belt and ViÃ±ales only 26 points off, the young Spaniard will be well and truly in the belief that the championship challenge is not over. Team Italia FMI's Romano Fenati will no doubt be one of the front-runners once more, dicing it out with the likes of Estrella Galicia 0,0's Alex Rins and AirAsia-SIC-Ajo's Zulfahmi Khairuddin. Rins' teammate Miguel Oliveira, who is often seen running at the front, will look to erase his memories from last year, where he crashed out on the final bend of the race.
The Czech round also welcomes two wildcards in the form of Britain's John McPhee with the Racing Steps Foundation KRP team, as well as Germany's Luca Gruenwald with the Freudenberg Racing Team. Caretta Technology's Jack Miller, who broke his left collarbone for the second time this season, and Mahindra Racing's Danny Webb, who fractured his right writs last weekend, are both a doubt for the race. TT Motion Events Racing's Niklas Ajo, who was black flagged after an altercation with JHK Laglisse's Adrian MartÃn following being taken out by the Spanish rider, has been banned from the Brno round.