Sachsenring, Germany

2009 Sachsenring 250cc FP1 Result - Barbera Lays Down A Marker

While both the 125cc and MotoGP sessions were badly affected by the weather, the 250cc riders were able to put in a relatively untroubled session of free practice on Friday. Spaniard Hector Barbera finished the session at the top of the timesheets, beating Gilera's Marco Simoncelli by nearly half a second. Behind Barbera, things were incredibly close, with just over a tenth of a second separating 2nd from 6th. Championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama could only manage the 7th fastest time, but his main rival at the moment, Aspar's Alvaro Bautista, is well down the order in 11th.

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2009 Sachsenring MotoGP FP1 Result - Stoner Smashes Lap Record On Drying Track

A drying track turned the first session of free practice for the MotoGP riders into a confusing and thrilling chase for times, lap times tumbling throughout. On the damp track, it was the Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner that led the charts, with Marco Melandri and Andrea Dovizioso constantly close. Around the halfway mark the track began to dry properly, and the top spot started swapping hands at a pace almost too fast to follow. At one point even MotoGP rookie Gabor Talmacsi took over 2nd spot, before the rest of the field started catching up.

Casey Stoner at the Sachsenring, FP1

Once the track was fully dry - with the exception of a small stream running across the track around Turn 1 - it was Casey Stoner who set the fastest time, smashing the existing lap record in the process by over three tenths of a second. The 2nd spot went to Dani Pedrosa, who had been in and out of the top ten all day, but snatched 2nd in the dying seconds, forcing Valentino Rossi down into 3rd. All of the Yamaha men started the day off slowly, languishing in the bottom half of the timesheets, but as the track dried, all four Yamahas improved. 

Randy de Puniet took 4th spot, ahead of a surprising Alex de Angelis, who has a history of good results here at the Sachsenring, while Colin Edwards was 6th fastest on the Tech 3 Yamaha. Toni Elias was 7th quickest, just ahead of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso. But with just 0.2 seconds separating places 5 through 11, those positions were taken almost at random.

Hayden was unlucky to have been shuffled down into 8th, as the American put on a very strong show for most of the session, regularly topping the timesheets. Hayden has spoken of feeling more comfortable on the Ducati, and his results are starting to show it.

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2009 Sachsenring 125cc FP1 Result - Simon Tops Rain-Lashed Session

Storm at the Sachsenring in GermanyThe weather played a dominant role in the 125cc session of free practice at the Sachsenring on Friday, the session starting out hot and steamy, before the black clouds which had been hovering over the forests of Saxony finally broke, submerging the track under a deluge. The rain meant that the timesheets only reflect the first 25 minutes or so of practice, as the riders who emerged after the worst of the storm had passed were lapping much more slowly round the wet track.

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Pasini's Team Toth Pays Up, Will Race At The Sachsenring

The Hungarian-based Team Toth has had a turbulent year so far. The team's pursuit of glory in the 250 class was boosted by the signing of the talented Italian Mattia Pasini, but signing Pasini meant obtaining top-flight equipment, and so the team obtained a factory-spec RSA 250 from Aprilia, a necessary prerequisite for any rider with title aspirations.

But factory-spec Aprilias don't come cheap. And finding the million euro lease fee is proving more difficult than Team Toth had at first thought. So far behind had the team fallen in their payments that at Assen, Aprilia withheld the ECUs from the team until an emergency funds transfer hit the Noale firm's bank account, leaving both Pasini and his team mate Imre Toth Jr sitting idly in the pits for half of the first session of free practice.

Pasini looked to be in similar difficulties at the Sachsenring, with early reports suggesting that Aprilia was once again withholding vital parts awaiting payment from the team. But this time, Team Toth got a payment of 100,000 euros to Aprilia on time, according to GPOne.com, and so both Pasini and Immi Jr will both be riding from the start of the weekend. But the payment will only cover the costs of the bikes for the Sachsenring, and so the entire soap opera looks set for a repeat at Donington. 

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2009 MotoGP Sachsenring Preview - Round The Left Hand Side

In every form of competition requiring a track, the participants travel around the track in a counter-clockwise direction, making a sequence of left turns. In track cycling, athletics, flat track, speedway, greyhound racing, horse racing, NASCAR and a host of other forms of racing, the competitors just keep turning left.

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Nicky Hayden: "I'm Starting To Enjoy Riding The Ducati"

At the pre-race press conference for the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, Nicky Hayden spoke about the progress he'd been making on the Ducati, after a difficult start to the season. Speaking to a packed press room, under questioning from MotoGP.com's official commentator Nick Harris, the American revealed how the hard work put in by him and the team were starting to pay off. Below is a transcript of part of Hayden's interview:

Nicky Hayden at the Sachsenring press conference 

Your 5th place at Laguna must have given you a great boost.

Last couple of races we've been 10th, 8th, 5th, we've made a lot of progress. That makes me happy that we're moving in the right direction, and we've found a way with the team. I'm enjoying riding the bike more. It's pretty good, and we need to keep going. But now I know that to stick my nose in the next group is when it's going to get real hard. That's the big step, that final group up front. We're going in the right way, just keep our head down and there's a lot of racing left to go.

What made the difference or did it just start to click? You've changed personnel, you've all been working very hard to make it work?

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Pedrosa To Use New Engine At Sachsenring

Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso will have a new engine to test at the Sachsenring. The Spaniard told the press conference at the German track that Honda had built a new engine to tame the power delivery of the RC212V. "We have one new engine. It is to improve the delivery of the power, because our engine is always very peaky and we have a lot of spinning in low gears. We want to try and avoid this and get better drive out of the corners," Pedrosa said. Both Pedrosa and especially team mate Andrea Dovizioso have complained all year that the Honda was too peaky, with Dovizioso being most vocal of the power delivery, labeling it as "too aggressive."

Dani Pedrosa at the Sachsenring

The new engine comes in addition to the revised chassis the Repsol Honda riders and Toni Elias have been using recently, Pedrosa and Dovizioso since Barcelona, Elias since Assen. All three of them have lauded the greatly improved corner entry of the new chassis, Dovizioso doing so despite having crashed out of the last two races. Dani Pedrosa demonstrating how successful the improvements had been by using the new chassis to win the previous Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

Pedrosa also revealed that more parts are in the pipeline, but he felt it was too early to tell whether the changes would pan out in the long term. "It's not easy to say if we are going in a good direction or not," Pedrosa said. "You cannot base all of your comments on one race or one track. You have to keep on trying to see if it's good."

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MotoGPMatters.com Live From Sachsenring

MotoGPMatters.com is here at a hot and humid Sachsenring and at full strength. Both David Emmett and Scott Jones will be chasing round the paddock looking for great stories and fantastic photos, so be sure to check back regularly. Right now, the sun is out and it's pretty warm, but it looks like being a weekend of three seasons in three days. Friday is expected to be very hot and muggy, with thunderstorms expected to arrive in the evening. The thunderstorms will mark a change in the weather, with the heat disappearing and temperatures dropping from a hot 29°C to a positively chilly 13°C on Saturday, bringing with them a healthy portion of rain. On Sunday, we move from autumnal chill to a spring-like 18°C, with clouds but no rain.

The weather is going to make finding a setup very difficult, as the lessons learned in the heat of Friday will be lost in the cool of the rest of the weekend. Added to that the likelihood of Saturday's two practice sessions being wet while the race is dry means that the 17-man MotoGP field will be very busy on Sunday morning trying to find a setup for the race.

If you want to help the MotoGPMatters.com cause,  you can make a contribution through our donations page. Your contributions help us to keep the site running, and bringing you the most interesting MotoGP analysis on the internet.

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The Pasini / Team Toth Saga Part 2 - Bikes May Not Ride, Pasini To Replace Canepa?

The Team Toth saga seems set to run and run. Three weeks ago, disaster was averted at Assen by an urgent transfer of funds from Mattia Pasini's Team Toth to Aprilia, who then released the ECUs required to operate the factory-spec RSA 250s Pasini is racing halfway through the first session of free practice. Now, that scenario looks set to be repeated, as according to both GPOne.com and the Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport, Aprilia are once again holding on to the ECUs to be used by Team Toth, waiting for another payment to be made before allowing Pasini and team mate Imre Toth Jr to race.

The signs of financial trouble have been on the wall for a while: At Mugello, Pasini sported a garish pink livery, promoting a special Ladies' Night offer at a local Rimini night club. Entertaining it might be, but single-race deals with night clubs are unlikely to cover the million euro lease price for a factory-spec Aprilia 250. If the situation continues as is, Team Toth may be forced to withdraw entirely.

Pasini, it appears, may already have that situation covered. The Italian is said to be in talks with the Pramac Ducati team as a replacement for Niccolo Canepa, who has had a deeply disappointing season since entering the MotoGP class. The former FIM Superstock 1000 champion has struggled to get to grips with the Ducati Desmosedici, with only the arrival of Gabor Talmacsi granting Canepa a temporary reprieve from the ignominy of running around in last. Canepa is said to have been given until the Donington round of MotoGP to start improving his results, or face replacement.

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MotoGPMatters Roadtrip Fundraising Drive

Exciting times lie ahead for MotoGPMatters.com. We will be reporting live from the next four rounds of MotoGP, starting with Saturday's race at Assen. David Emmett (aka Kropotkin) will be bringing you news and reports from Assen, Sachsenring and Donington, while Scott Jones will be sending back reports and his magnificent photographs from Laguna Seca.

All this costs money. And money is in short supply at the moment, despite the support we receive from our sponsors Power Sport Dynamic (who still have tickets available for their Turn 5 Chalet at this year's US MotoGP race at Laguna Seca) and Pole Position Travel, who can take you to any of the MotoGP races on the calendar.

So we are turning to you, our readers. We need money to be able to bring you the news, and you can help us. The previous fundraising drive saw many of our readers send us financial contributions, so join them in helping us keep bringing you the best analysis and most beautiful photography of the world of motorcycle racing.

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