Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
MotoGP bounces back at Brno for Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske republiky

The MotoGP World Championship returns from its traditional summer break this
weekend as the tenth round of seventeen takes place at the Brno circuit in the
Czech Republic. One of the longest-standing venues on the calendar, Brno first
hosted Grand Prix racing back in 1965 on a 13.94km long road circuit, which was
later reduced in length before being removed from the series altogether for
safety reasons. The modern circuit has been in use since 1987 and retains some
of the unique characteristics of the high-speed road layout, combining fast
corners and sweeping camber changes with a host of up-to-date safety features
that make it one of the most spectacular racetracks in the championship.

After dominating the first half of the season, reigning World Champion Valentino
Rossi heads to Eastern Europe with a host of new records in sight but just one
clear goal in his mind. With eight race victories already to his name this year,
the Italian needs just two more to seal the title for the fifth successive
season. Rossi cannot guarantee the championship this weekend but a repeat of his
first ever Grand Prix win at this circuit on a 125cc machine back in 1996 would
equal his tally of nine wins from last season - a record for Yamaha. Success on
Sunday would also see Rossi become the first rider in history to score nine wins
in a season on five occasions and would move him clear of Mike Hailwood in third
place on the all-time Grand Prix winners' list.

With Rossi holding a 120-point advantage over Marco Melandri at the top of the
standings, the biggest ever margin after ten rounds in the history of the
series, the battle for the World Championship title is almost over. However, the
fight for second place is still very much alive, with four riders currently
separated by as many points. Whilst Melandri has been Rossi's closest challenger
since the second round of the season at Estoril, his  early season form has
stuttered in recent weeks and the Italian youngster will have to be back to his
best if he is to hold firm this weekend. Melandri became the youngest rider ever
to compete in a Grand Prix when he made his debut at Brno as a 15-year-old in
1997 and he has since won three times there in the 125cc and 250cc classes.

Melandri's Honda team-mate Sete Gibernau is also a former Brno winner, having
clinched victory ahead of Rossi in the MotoGP race last year to avenge defeat to
the Italian by just 0.042 seconds the previous season. The Spaniard lies just a
single point behind Melandri and will be desperate to score his first win of the
season at Brno after handing victory to Rossi with a mistake on the final lap of
the last round at Sachsenring before the summer break. Colin Edwards, who has
been second to Rossi in the form charts over last four rounds, lies a further
point behind Gibernau in fourth place whilst the same margin separates the
American from Max Biaggi, the most successful rider at the current Brno circuit
with seven victories in all classes.

The MotoGP lap record at Brno was set last season by Alex Barros, who crashed
out of the race when battling in the lead group. Along with Nicky Hayden, the
Brazilian is one of only two riders other than Rossi to win a race this season
yet both riders are outside the top five in the championship standings. It
presents an interesting conundrum for the other riders, who may be forced to
choose between pushing for that elusive first victory of the season or
consolidating with a run of consistency that should be enough to guarantee the
runner-up spot in the championship.

Also competing this weekend will be MotoGP veteran Nobuatsu Aoki, who will join
regular Suzuki riders John Hopkins and Kenny Roberts as a wildcard. Hopkins is
confident of riding after undergoing an operation on the broken foot injury he
sustained at Sachsenring although he will not be at full fitness. However, it
looks certain that Shane Byrne will not ride this weekend after it was announced
by KTM that they will cease to supply engines to Proton Team KR with immediate
effect. Byrne, who has a contract with KTM, could be replaced by his British
compatriot Jeremy McWilliams on the team's 2004 version V5 machine.

Dani Pedrosa's victory in the ninth round of the 250cc World Championship at
Sachsenring stretched his lead at the top of the standings to 50 points over
Casey Stoner. The Spaniard and the Australian have enjoyed contrasting fortunes
at Brno in the past, with Pedrosa taking victory in the 125cc event on the way
to the title in 2003 - a race Stoner missed after injuring himself in
practice. Stoner also crashed on the second lap of last year's minor category
race but the teenager has found a new level of consistency in the 250cc class
this season and has scored points in every round since crashing out of the
opening race at Jerez.

Outside the top two, last year's winner Sebastian Porto will be looking to
celebrate his 150th Grand Prix appearance with another victory whilst riders
such as Randy de Puniet, Alex De Angelis and Hiroshi Aoyama have all hit form in
recent weeks. Meanwhile, rookies Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso will be
hoping to repeat their performances from last season's 125cc race, when the
Spaniard took victory by just 0.036 seconds after passing the Italian in the
final corner.

Thomas Luthi arrives at the tenth round of the 125cc World Championship season
on top of the standings but with the dubious record of never having managed to
score any points in three previous visits to Brno. Mika Kallio trails the Swiss
rider by just three points after being awarded victory at the Sachsenring when
the race was red-flagged due to a crash for Manuel Poggiali. The former World
Champion escaped unhurt and will be fit to make his 100th Grand Prix start this
weekend as the only rider on the 125cc entry list to have previously finished on
the podium at Brno.

INFO 2005/120. 23-08-2005