The Fiat Yamaha Team is reunited at the Sachsenring this weekend, when runaway championship-leader Jorge Lorenzo will be joined by Valentino Rossi after the latter's six-week absence. Rossi's recovery from his broken leg in Mugello has gone so well that the reigning World Champion is hoping to return to action earlier than expected, although he will have to receive full approval from the Chief Medical Officer at the circuit tomorrow before he can confirm if he will ride. Wataru Yoshikawa will once again be present and will ride the second M1 if Rossi is unable to.
The undulating wooded hills of the Sachsenring brought about another neck-and-neck Fiat Yamaha battle last year, with Lorenzo missing out by the skin of his teeth to his team-mate. This year however Lorenzo comes to the German track as the man-of-the-moment, having won three races on the bounce and an incredible five in total from seven rounds this season. The 23-year-old Mallorcan has only one Sachsenring podium to his name. but he will be planning to add another this weekend as he looks to extend a championship lead that already stands at 52 points.
Rossi has missed four races over his injury and currently sits seventh in the championship standings. The 31-year-old has been recovering at home in Italy and has undergone an intensive rehabilitation programme, which has resulted in him being back on a bike earlier than expected. The nine-time champion has produced some masterful displays at the Sachsenring over the years, including a superb race in 2006 when he won from tenth position and he has a total of five wins at the track. The evergreen Italian has had two successful tests on a Yamaha R1 in the last week and has been given the all-clear by his doctors, he just has to await the decision of the event Chief Medical Officer tomorrow before he can be sure of riding. Wataru Yoshikawa stood in for Rossi at the last round in Catalunya and the Japanese test rider will be present in Germany this weekend and ready to ride if needed. "Though only one month has passed since Mugello, Valentino is back and I am amazed at the marvellous recovery he has made." Said the 41-year-old. "I respect his decision to try to ride, and it seems from the R1 test he did that he is still very fast! I am ready to ride if I need to, but it will be good if Valentino is back in his rightful place. I have learnt a lot riding the M1 in a racing environment and I think it will be useful in my future development work."
Jorge Lorenzo - 1st, 165 Points. "A nice challenge"
"Sachsenring is a track that I like, but I've never won there. It's the same for Laguna so I'm excited about these two nice challenges before the holidays! Sachsenring is quite a difficult track, with a lot of ups and downs, and it's also one of the shortest tracks in MotoGP. We don't know about the weather, it can be very hot there but it would be better than rain. I'm happy Valentino is back, welcome to him!"
Valentino Rossi - 7th, 61 Points. "Looking forward to being back"
"I'm really excited that my doctors think I can ride this weekend. Tomorrow I will see the medical officer and then we will have the final decision. I felt good on the R1 but I know my M1 at the track is a different thing and it will be hard for me, but I miss my bike and my team and I want to try. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone and being back in the paddock; I was tired of being at home! Wataru will be there as well so if there is a problem he will ride my bike again."