GoPro German Grand Prix 2015
Posted on Jul 06, 2015 by Nick Harris
ROUND NINE 2015 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - SUNDAY 12th JULY
Smith returns to Germany
One year ago Bradley Smith left the Sachsenring in Germany with his MotoGP™ career in the balance. The 24 year old Monster Tech3 Yamaha rider returns to the legendary venue for the ninth round of the MotoGP™ World Championship, the GoPro German Grand Prix in a very different place.
The Andorra-based Oxfordshire rider is sixth in the MotoGP World Championship and is both the leading British and factory Satellite rider. Last year he crashed five times during the weekend at the 2.281 miles circuit and went into the summer break with no new contract for 2015. This year he returns from Japan, where he has been testing for the Yamaha factory team for the Suzuka Eight Hour race, in great form and ready for another big battle with both his former team-mate Cal Crutchlow and present team-mate Pol Espargaro.
Isle of Man – based midlander Crutchlow picked up a welcome sixth place at the previous round in Assen after a tremendous battle with Espargaro and Smith. The CWM LCR Honda rider needed a finish after three successive crashes and will be out to close the 20 point advantage Smith holds in the 30 lap race on Sunday which is the half way stage of the MotoGP season.
Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding knows exactly how Smith felt a year ago. The Estrella Galicia Marc VDS rider has struggled on the factory Honda machine this season and would enjoy that summer break a lot more with a good result on Sunday to improve on his 13th place in the Championship. Irishman Eugene Laverty crashed out of the Assen race but has hit good form in his MotoGP debut season. Riding the Aspar Open class Honda he secured points at the previous three rounds and is just one point behind his team-mate former world champion Nicky Hayden.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes was back on the Moto2™ podium in Assen to consolidate his impressive third place in the Championship. Riding the Speed Up Racing machine he’s already won his first grand prix in Austin and started from the front row five times which will be crucial in the 29 lap race on Sunday if he has any chance of beating Championship leader Johann Zarco and world champion Tito Rabat, who is recovering from a broken collarbone.
Twenty one year Wiltshire rider Danny Kent approaches the half way stage of the Moto3™ season not daring to dream after a fantastic first half of the season. After four grand prix wins on the Leopard Racing Honda he leads this most competitive of all world championships by a massive 57 points. More of the same in the second half of the season and Britain could be celebrating its first world championship since the legendary Barry Sheene in 1977. It’s a big race for Scotsman John McPhee, who picked up his first world championship points for four races with a hard fought tenth in Assen. His Saxoprint Racing Team Germany is based very close to the Sachsenring and the Racing Steps Foundation supported rider is desperate to bring them a good result in front of the enormous patriotic crowd.
Gloves off at the Sachsenring
The last bend may be very different to the chicane at Assen, but the outcome of the GoPro German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring on Sunday could well be decided once again with the chequered flag in sight of Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez. Championship leader Rossi came out on top in that fabulous Assen duel a couple of weeks ago but last year’s winner and world champion Marquez pushed him to the very limit until that final chicane. The 2.281 miles Sachsenring circuit produces a very different challenge to the Movistar Yamaha and Repsol Honda riders but the 30 lap battle promises to be just as intense as this incredible season reaches the half way stage.
Thirty six year old Rossi arrives at round nine of the MotoGP™ Championship with a ten point advantage over his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who’s run of four successive grand prix wins came to a halt in Assen where he finished third. Rossi has four premier class wins at the circuit situated between Dresden and Leipzig while Lorenzo chases his first victory in any class.
It’s Honda who have dominated the proceedings around this undulating extremely tight first part track with Yamaha’s last win with Rossi in 2009. While Marquez has won for the last two years it’s his team-mate Dani Pedrosa who loves the nature of the circuit with four wins including three in a row between 2010/12. Last year he finished second behind Marquez with Lorenzo third and Rossi fourth. Never was there a better time for Honda to bare their teeth because the Championship is slipping from their grasp. Marquez languishes in fourth place 74 points behind Rossi with Pedrosa well out of the reckoning after missing three races to recover from a major arm pump operation.
Last year Italian Andrea Iannone was fifth on the Pramac Ducati in a race that dictated by the weather and he returns as a full factory Ducati rider and third in the Championship and 20 points in front of his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. Bradley Smith leads the Satellite factory battle riding the Monster Tech3 Yamaha with a 20 points advantage over Cal Crutchlow who picked up a welcome sixth place in Assen after three successive crashes on the CWM LCR Honda. One point behind him is Smith’s team-mate Pol Espargaro who was fifth in Assen.
German Stefan Bradl is out after breaking his wrist in Assen after qualifying as the best Open class rider on the Forward Racing Yamaha. He will be replaced by Italian Claudio Corti.
Frenchman Johann Zarco took a superb third Moto2™ win of the season in Assen and the Ajo Motorsport Kalex rider has opened up an impressive 45 point in the title chase over world champion Tito Rabat. The Champion broke his collarbone in a training accident at the weekend but will be fit to ride after an operation in Barcelona. Britain’s Sam Lowes was back on the podium in Assen to consolidate his third place in the championship, while Tom Luthi and Alex Rins are separated by two points in their battle for fourth. Don’t rule out German Jonas Folger, who has already won two grands prix this season and Dominque Aegerter who won the race last year.
Twenty one year old Danny Kent is looking forward to increasing his massive 57 point Moto3™ Championship lead before a well-deserved summer break. The British Leopard Racing Honda rider has only been off the podium once and has secured four wins already this year. The battle behind him is much tighter. After his second win in three races Portuguese Red Bull Ajo KTM star Miquel Oliveira is six points behind 17 year old Enea Bastianini who has finished second three times on the Gresini Honda to hang on to second place in the Championship. The Moto3 races this season have broken all records for close finishes and the 27 lap race on Sunday should be no exception.
• The 2015 German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring will be the 77th Grand Prix event to be held on German soil
• The first motorcycle Grand Prix to be held in Germany was the West German Grand Prix held at the Solitude circuit in 1952, when it was reported that 400,000 spectators turned up to watch. Ireland’s Reg Armstrong won the 350cc and 500cc races riding Nortons. The home crowd had plenty to cheer, with Rudi Felgenheier winning the 250cc race on a DKW and Werner Haas winning the 125cc race on a NSU.
• The first East German Grand Prix was held at the Sachsenring road circuit in 1961. The original circuit used for this event was a closed road circuit 8.73km in length.
• The East German GP continued to be held at the Sachsenring each year until 1972, after which the road circuit was considered too dangerous for Grand Prix racing.
• The West German Grand Prix continued to be held every year from 1952 through to 1990, when East and West joined to become a unified Germany. Four different circuits were used during this period 1952 to 1990: Solitude, Schotten, Nurburgring and Hockenheim.
• There has been a German Grand Prix held every year since unification – from 1991 to 1994 at the Hockenheim circuit, followed by three years at the Nurburgring and since 1998 at the new Sachsenring circuit.
• In addition to those mentioned above, one other Grand Prix event has been held in Germany: the Baden-Wurtemberg GP held in 1986 at the Hockenheim circuit for just the 80cc and 125cc classes.
• The newly built Sachsenring circuit was initially just 3.508km long with one short section of track from the old road circuit. Major modifications to the circuit in 2001 and then additional slight alterations in 2003 resulted in the current 3.671 km track layout.
• This will be the 18th successive year that a Grand Prix event has been held at the new Sachsenring circuit.
• Since Grand Prix racing returned to the Sachsenring circuit in 1998 there have been six podium finishes by home riders: Ralf Waldmann was third in the 250cc race in 1999, Steve Jenkner was third in the 125cc race in 2002, Stefan Bradl finished second in the 125cc category in 2008, Sandro Cortese finished third in the 125cc race in 2010 and Stefan Bradl was second in 2011 in Moto2, and in 2012 Sandro Cortese won the Moto3 race.
• Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP class in 2002, Honda have been the most successful manufacturer with nine wins, followed by Yamaha with three and Ducati with a single MotoGP victory in Germany.
• Each of the three race winners last year in Germany (Jack Miller, Dominique Aegerter and Marc Marquez) all started from pole position.
• In each of the last two years Marc Marquez has qualified on pole in the MotoGP class, won the race and also set the fastest lap.
• The Sachsenring circuit is the shortest on the current grand prix schedule, with a length of 3.671 km.
• Due to the mixed weather conditions last year, fourteen of the MotoGP riders entered the pit-lane to change bikes after the warm-up lap and consequently started the race from pit-lane.
Friday July 10 8.00am – 3.00pm (practise)
Saturday July 11 8.00am – 3-15pm (practice and qualifying)
Sunday July 12 7.30am – 3.00pm (warm –up and races)
ITV 4 Highlights
Monday July 13 8.00 - 9.00 pm