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July 06, 2012  |   By Paul Kelly

MotoGP Race Preview: Grand Prix Of Germany

A preview of the Grand Prix of Germany MotoGP World Championship event July 8:

Race:             Grand Prix of Germany
Date:            Sunday, July 8
Round:        Eighth of 18 races in 2012
Circuit:         Sachsenring, Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Germany
Distance:         30 laps on 13-turn, 2.281-mile circuit
2011 Winner:        Dani Pedrosa, Honda
2012 Points Leader:    Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha, and Casey Stoner, Honda (tie)
U.S. Riders:    Nicky Hayden, seventh, 59 points; Ben Spies, 10th, 48; Colin Edwards, 19th (tie), 4.
TV:     MotoGP: 7 a.m. (ET) Sunday, July 8, SPEED. Moto2: 5 p.m. (ET), Sunday, July 8, SPEED. Moto3: 1:30 (ET) Monday, July 9, SPEED.
Web:            www.motogp.com
Twitter:        @MotoGP

LAST RACE

Defending World Champion Casey Stoner suddenly pulled even with Jorge Lorenzo atop the MotoGP World Championship standings with a victory Saturday, June 30 in TT Assen, as Lorenzo failed to finish for the first time this season after being taken out in the first turn by a reckless Alvaro Bautista.

Dani Pedrosa finished second, with Andrea Dovizioso passing American Ben Spies on the final lap for the third spot on the podium.

Lorenzo and Stoner are tied at 140 points each.

WHO’S HOT

Dani Pedrosa: 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Pedrosa has quietly produced a strong start to the 2012 season on his Repsol Honda. He is third in the standings, just 19 points behind co-leaders Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner. Pedrosa is winless in 2012 but has finished on the podium in six of seven races. That consistency should be rewarded with a two-year contract extension from Honda, to be signed either this weekend or next weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.

Michele Pirro: Italian rookie Pirro is a success story in the new, production-based Claiming Rule Teams formula. The veteran San Carlo Gresini team has developed the FTR-Honda chassis-engine package well during the season, helping Pirro finish in the top 15 in the last five races. Pirro produced his best result of the season, ninth, on Saturday, June 30 at TT Assen. He has climbed to third among CRT bikes in the standings and 14th overall, just behind MotoGP veterans Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet.

WHO’S NOT

Alvaro Bautista: San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Bautista will start from the rear of the grid Sunday at the Sachsenring as a penalty levied by Race Direction for taking out points leader Jorge Lorenzo in Turn 1 of the first lap of TT Assen on Saturday, June 30. Bautista tried to dive under fellow Spaniard Lorenzo at excessive speed and lost the front end of his Honda, falling, sliding and wiping out Lorenzo.

Colin Edwards: American veteran Edwards has endured a miserable season on Claiming Rule Teams production-based machinery, as he is tied for 19th in the MotoGP standings. His NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter-BMW has been plagued by electronic glitches since preseason testing, and problems with the “black box” have caused “The Texas Tornado” to not finish two of the last three races. But fixes to the electronics helped Edwards climb to 13th overall and the second-quickest CRT bike during practice Friday, July 6 at the Sachsenring.

NEWS and NUMBERS

Ducati test rider and MotoGP veteran Franco Battaini of Italy will replace Czech Karel Abraham on the Cardion AB satellite Ducati this weekend. Abraham has struggled with deep cuts on his hand and a broken finger suffered in a crash in testing last month in Spain … The Sachsenring is just one of two circuits where MotoGP co-points leader Jorge Lorenzo is winless in all Grand Prix classes. The other is Aragon in Spain … American Nicky Hayden has more podium finishes at the Sachsenring than any other World Championship circuit, with four consecutive third-place finishes from 2004-07 … Casey Stoner earned his 36th career premier-class victory on June 30 at TT Assen, just one fewer than British legend Mike Hailwood, who is No. 4 on the all-time list … Stefan Bradl, a rookie with LCR Honda, is the first full-time German rider in MotoGP since Alex Hofmann in 2007 … Moto2 points leader Marc Marquez, 19, earned his 20th career Grand Prix victory on June 30 at TT Assen. Only MotoGP standout Dani Pedrosa has more victories as a teenager in the World Championship. Pedrosa had 21 wins in his teens.