Author: site admin
Rossi, Rossi, Rossi…yeah, I know that all I do is talk about Rossi. Well, really now, what other choice is there? The guy is an animal. Besides, Rossi keeps finding new ways to make utter domination stay exciting. At Donington, Vale spent 22 laps looking like he was on the ragged edge. He was getting kicked out of the seat about once a lap, sliding the bike in every corner and even ran off the track once. He duped the entire viewing audience into thinking he was at his limit. Then, with seven laps to go, he ups the pace *two seconds per lap* and then holds that pace for three consecutive laps. Even if we’re tired of him always win it remains pure magic to see what he can actually do on a motorcycle regardless of the track conditions.
So why all this talk about Rossi when previewing the German round of the MotoGP series? Because he will again be the person to watch. Rossi has won every race but two this season: He was beaten in the rain in Portugal and by two of the yanks at Laguna Seca. Now he goes to one of the few tracks he doesn’t like and at which he hasn’t won a race in the past two years: The Sachsenring It would have been three years had a crash in 2002 not taken out the two front runners and gifted the Italian with win. Rossi doesn’t like the track and credits his distaste for the track in its preponderance of left hand turns. Unlike Laguna, which Valention also didn’t like, he has a lot of experience in Germany and has regularly been on the premier class podium. Still, any chink in the Rossi armour is something worth talking about. This may be his opponents best chance for the remainder of the season to take the battle to the Yamaha rider. In Rossi’s corner is that this is his 150th Grand Prix start, that he has won twice here in two support classes and that he holds a 104 point lead in the ‘05 championship. As always, don’t count out Rossi.
The old computer geeks in the audience will remember that the Colossal Cave Adventure, game, circa 1980, had a section with various rooms described with titles like “a maze of twisty little passages”. Well, that is pretty apt description of the Sachsenring circuit. Directly off the front straight there is a tight series of first and second gear corners that is unlike anything else on the GP calendar and that compromises about one third of the track’s 2.28 mile length. Then, like Alice going through the looking glass, the remaining two thirds of the circuit is a completely different world and one that is seen mainly with a distinct left hand slant. After emerging from the go-kart track, there is a series of five left hand turns all taken in third gear at over 100 mph. Then, after a quick right hand kink, there is another string of two second/third gear left-handers before being shot back onto the 180+ mph front straight and back into the maze to do it all over again. Getting a bike to handle the slow transitions while also being stable on the fast left-handers is the secret to having a winning bike. Having some serious stones is the secret to having a winning rider here, as all those left hand turns really burn up the side of the tire.
For the other guys, well, both Biaggi and Gibernau have had wins at the ex-East German track
over the past two years. Both badly need good results to salvage anything from the 2005 MotoGP season. Hayden and Melandri were both expected to do well at Donington but the rain threw them a curve ball. They have to get great results at the Sachsenring or lose the small amount of momentum they have been able to generate this season…especially since silly season decisions are at this very moment being made by pissed off Honda managers at boardrooms back in Japan. Speaking of momentum, Yamaha has more to look forward to than just Rossi. Colin has finished in the top four at the last three races and those results have propelled him into third in the championship, only one point away from being tied with Melandri for second. Yamaha’s goal in adding the Texan to their factory MotoGP team was not just to win the riders’ championship but also to win the manufacturers’ title as well. Their investment in Colin is really beginning to pay off and, given the two Yamaha teammates’ attitude towards Honda, I’m sure they both find their chance to go one-two for the season to be especially sweet. Doubly so if the points from that help Yamaha carry home the manufacturer’s trophy.
There are still seven rounds left in the season but it may already be too late for anyone to stop Rossi from carrying the #1 plate in 2006 but there are still six riders fighting for the runner-up position. The one that can keep the throttle screwed open with the left hand side of the tire smoking hot is the one that will earn much needed points towards that championship fight.
[image from the web site.]