Sachsenring, Germany

Melandri Stuck With Ducati Until Brno

Marco Melandri's long-term future at Ducati is almost entirely certain, in that he neither has, nor wants, a future with the Italian manufacturer. But so dire has Melandri's predicament at Ducati become that the Bologna factory is openly speculating on a premature departure from the team by Macio.

However, just because Melandri is not going to be a long-term fixture at Ducati doesn't mean that he is free to leave whenever he pleases. Ducati boss Livio Suppo told the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport that Melandri will remain with the team until at least the Brno MotoGP round in mid-August. That means that Melandri will ride at both the German GP at the Sachsenring and the US GP at Laguna Seca in California.

There had been some speculation that Melandri would be released directly after Assen, and with Kawasaki's John Hopkins ruled out of at least the Sachsenring race, and probably the Laguna Seca round as well, it was believed that Melandri could switch directly to Kawasaki, filling in for Hopper until he returns from injury. Such a deal would also mean that Melandri would be offered a contract with Kawasaki for 2009 as well, and Kawasaki could run a third bike for the rest of the year once Hopper did make his return.

That deal now looks to be off. Whether this means Melandri will sit out the rest of the season after Laguna Seca, with Sete Gibernau expected to take his place on the factory Ducati, remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure. Marco Melandri's personal Via Dolorosa is very nearly at an end.

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Four MotoGP Rounds To Be Broadcast By CBS And NBC This Summer

One of the biggest tasks which Dorna has set itself is the conquest of the American TV market. So far, that ambition has only met with limited, though still growing, success. Part of its problems has been that TV coverage of the races has been left to Speed TV, which is only available through cable or satellite providers, and usually involves an extra subscription charge.

In Europe, Dorna is already engaged in a process to switch from satellite broadcasters towards national broadcasters, or at least, to free-to-air terrestrial stations, as witnessed by the recent news that Dorna will not be renewing the broadcast contract with Eurosport in 2009. Dorna would like to pursue a similar policy in the US, but first, the popularity of the sport needs to grow.

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Hopkins Breaks Leg, Will Miss Assen And Sachsenring

The Ramshoek has claimed another victim. At the end of today's official qualifying practice for the Dutch TT at Assen, John Hopkins lost the front at the Ramshoek, the final left hander before the GT chicane and the run onto the front straight, and crashed out at high speed, sliding through the gravel trap before hitting the tire wall. The crash happened with such force that Hopkins fractured his ankle and his tibia, and may also have damaged his knee as well. The crash means that Hopper will be forced to miss Saturday's Dutch TT, and the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring in two weeks time.

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2006 MotoGP Sachsenring Race Report - The Making Of A Championship

Some reputations are undeserved. The Sachsenring has a reputation for being a short, tight track with very few possibilities for passing, where a good position on the grid is vital. Sunday's MotoGP race was a demonstration both that passing is possible for any rider with the necessary skill and determination, and that if you can get a clean start, anything can happen.

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Ridiculously Early 2006 MotoGP Sachsenring Preview

Whenever riders or followers of MotoGP refer to a "Mickey Mouse racetrack", the example which always gets cited is the Sachsenring. This is a rather cruel jibe for a track so steeped in history. Racing has taken place in the area since 1927 over public roads, like Assen, until a new circuit was built here in the 1990s, after German reunification. The track is short, and just under 2.3 miles, so speeds are not high, but the track is situated among the rolling German hills, surrounded by woods.

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