MotoGP action will be full throttle this weekend in Germany for the eighth round of the 2010 GP season. Sachsenring is drawing more than its fair share of attention after the announcement that defending MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi will compete this weekend after a six-week absence. Will this sway the outcome of this weekend’s race? Is Rossi’s return enough to shake the confidence of Jorge Lorenzo, who lost to Rossi last year in a fantastic finish at Sachsenring but heads to the German circuit with a load of confidence and a winning streak? Place your bets, Fantasy Racing fans, it’s time once again for another round of MotoGP bench racing.
Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo has been shaking plenty of bubbly lately. Will Rossi’s return be the catalyst needed to prevent Lorenzo from making it four-in-a-row?
Jorge Lorenzo – Jorge, Jorge, Jorge. We say his name three times because he’s won the last three races in a row. Better yet, he’s won five out of seven contests this MotoGP season and averages a perfect 25 Fantasy Racing points-per-race. One variable has been missing during most of this run, though. Valentino Rossi. And even though he’s far from being 100%, a banged up Rossi is better than most healthy riders. Lorenzo has been in top form, but just having Rossi on the grid is enough to get into his head. We have a feeling Lorenzo is going to be feeling the pressure this weekend, but unless he crashes out, there’s no way he won’t be on the podium.
Dani Pedrosa – The Repsol Honda rider captured second place in the last round at Catalunya and is finally flashing the form that we’ve come to expect from the Spanish rider. Pedrosa has a firm grip on second place in the World Championship point standings and has registered three victories at Sachsenring in the past, two in the 250cc class and one in MotoGP (2007). He’s healthy and is headed to a track he admittedly enjoys racing at. Pedrosa averages 18.3 Fantasy Racing points per-race and is a safe bet come Sunday.
Randy de Puniet – The LCR Honda rider is having a resurgent season. De Puniet finished just off the podium in the last race at Catalunya, crossing the finish line in fourth place. He’s tied with Nicky Hayden for fourth place in the championship point race with 69 and is riding strong, finishing races and scoring points. The Frenchman is in the trio that comprises the cream of the B-Rider crop and has been good for an average of almost 10 Fantasy Racing points-per-race.
Nicky Hayden – Hayden has been on the podium at Sachsenring four times in the past. Up until the last couple
Marlboro Ducati’s Casey Stoner is finally coming around and has fought his way onto the podium in the last two races. Will Stoner make it three-for-three at the Ring?
of races, he’s been the man on the GP10. He’s yet to score a podium victory this season but has hung around in fourth place in multiple races. Hayden believes it’s one of the best tracks on the calendar for him, so we’ll see if that translates to a strong performance on the Ring this weekend. We’re wagering that it will.
Team – Fiat Yamaha. With Rossi back and Lorenzo on a roll, the Fiat Yamaha team is as good as money in the bank. Together, they’ve won six out of seven races this season. Even if Rossi isn’t 100%, once he gets on the M1 and the flag drops, his competitive nature and adrenaline are going to kick in. You may want to wait a few weeks to see how Rossi’s recovery progresses before wagering a pick on the Fiat Yamaha team because you only get three team picks, but they’re still sure to bank you some points this weekend.
Valentino Rossi – Yes, he’s far from healed, yes, he’s out of riding shape, and yes, everybody is questioning whether it’s too early for him to be making a return to racing. But it’s damn good to see him back in the MotoGP paddock. In his two test sessions, Rossi has been fast on an unfamiliar bike. Just wait until he gets his trusty M1 back. The Doctor has five victories at the German circuit, including four in MotoGP. He’s so talented, he can ride better than most people even with a bum leg. Fatigue is sure to be a factor, but do you think for a second he would come back and not be competitive? We’re not saying he’ll win, but look for a top five at least. You may want to wait a couple of races for him to get back up to speed to score maximum points, but any time he takes
We’ll take ol’ No. 46 on one-leg any day of the week. Rossi doesn’t have to be 100% to still be competitive. He’s that good.
the track he’s a threat to win.
Casey Stoner – Stoner raced to victory at Sachsenring back in 2008 and scored his first GP podium there in 2003 in the 125cc class. He’s finally starting to race like a former world champion and has fought his way on the podium the last two rounds. Now that the cat is out of the bag and his move to HRC in 2011 has been made public, the Australian rider can relax and do what he does best – ride the dickens out of the Desmosedici. Look for Stoner to be on pace with the frontrunners this weekend.
Ben Spies – Despite suffering from a lack of grip, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie still finished in sixth place in the last round at Catalunya. He got his first taste of the podium at Silverstone and finished fourth in the following race at Assen. Spies is talented, he’s hungry, and he averages the third-most Fantasy racing points-per-race among the B-Riders at 8.6 per-contest.
Marco Melandri – Melandri is our X-factor for this race. Why Melandri, you say? Marco posted a respectable seventh-place finish last year at the Ring. He’s also won there three times in the lower GP classes, once in the 125cc class and twice in the 250’s. It’s getting to the point where you’re going to have to start selecting riders out of your comfort zone. We’re following a hunch that Melandri is going to have a good race this weekend.
Team – Marlboro Ducati – Stoner is finally hitting his stride and Hayden has been consistently fast this season. Look for more of the same this weekend from the Marlboro Ducati team.
Pramac Racing’s Mika Kallio is unfortunately at the bottom of the Fantasy Racing points-per-race ladder.
Mika Kallio – Kallio has the dubious distinction of having the lowest points-per-race average out of all the riders competing in MotoGP this year. His 12th place average finishing position isn’t encouraging anybody to wager a check in the box for the Finnish rider. Unfortunately, somebody has to bring up the rear. This year it just happens to be Kallio.