valentino rossiThe summer break is over and riders on the MotoGP circuit are putting back their sun-screens and bringing out the racing gear as the calendar heads to Czech Republic for the Cardion AB Grand Prix Cseke Republiky. The three-way battle for the title will with great vigour on the 17 of August as, despite just three men at the top, anybody could become the talking point of the season.

Valentino Rossi holds all the cards after winning the final race before the start of the break. The psychological edge rests with the Italian as well as a 25-point lead in the championship race. Rossi signed a contract to stay with the Japanese outfit for two more years and a remarkable win, his first at America, showed why Fiat Yamaha are fighting to keep him on-board.

The races after the summer break had haunted Rossi’s 2007 season. Just two podium finishes in the last 7 races saw Casey Stoner run away with the title. However, at Brno, there is no better than Rossi. The Italian has already had three wins, in 2001, 2003 and in 2005, making him one of the most successful riders on the track in recent years.casey stoner

The man who dominated the second-half of the season last year, is second in the title chase. The defending World Champion was having a difficult season till he returned to form with four consecutive wins. The races he had thoroughly dominated last season, are round the bend and the Ducati Corse rider will be looking for another maximum from Brno in a repeat performance. Only Rossi, so far, has managed to put a break in the Aussie’s extraordinary run so far since the post-race Catalunya tests.

In the United States, Daniel Pedrosa was unable to participate due to an injury despite having traveled to California. Pedrosa only managed a single Friday-practice session before he had to return to Spain for more treatment on his injured left hand. 41 points behind Rossi, Dani has to make up for the two point-less races if he is to pose a threat to the two championship leaders.

Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo is also recovering from injuries and has had 10-days of immobilization as a part of his summer break. A huge opening crash at Laguna Seca meant that Lorenzo spent a major part of his break in a rigorous recuperation program. Lorenzo still leads the Rookie of the Year battle and the rider, once second in the championship race, will be focusing on regaining his confidence and improving his riding style for a safer ride on the M1.

Andrea Dovizioso is another rookie who is having a sensational season. Fifth in the title chase, Dovizioso is the highest placed satellite rider with JiR Team Scot Honda. He leads a time-tested veteran, Colin Edwards, who has recently been confirmed another ride with the Tech 3 Yamaha team.

Chris Vermeulen has grabbed two consecutive third places in the last two races and is in 6th place, just ahead of 2006 World Champion, Nicky Hayden. James Toseland is in 8th spot with Shinya Nakano nipping at his heels. Nakano will have the advantage of riding a factory spec Honda for the remaining part of the 2008 season. Tenth placed John Hopkins will finally be returning to MotoGP action after missing the last two races with leg injuries.

Anjali nambissan
Sports Pundit member

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