The tight and twisty Sachsenring circuit may not be one of Valentino Rossi's favourite tracks, but the reigning world champion and 2009 MotoGP title leader has enjoyed some of his 'great races' at the German venue.

The clear highlight of the Yamaha star's Sachsenring rides to date came in 2006, when he fought his way forward from tenth on the grid to lead home three Honda riders in the closest ever finish in MotoGP, with the top four separated by just 0.307 seconds (pictured).

The 30-year-old has three other wins at the German track and last year finished an important second in torrential rain as several riders crashed out, including race and championship leader Dani Pedrosa.

With three wins under his belt so far this season, Rossi will be hoping for career victory number 101 this weekend, as he looks to extend his lead at the top of the standings - presently just nine points over team-mate Jorge Lorenzo - and give himself some breathing space as the paddock goes into its summer break in two weeks time.

"Thank goodness we've had some time to rest after the last two races because I was really quite tired after Laguna!" said Rossi, who came under intense pressure from an injured Lorenzo in the closing stages of the US GP, before applying last-lap pressure of his own on race winner Pedrosa. "The next two races are back to back and again it will be very hard, and it's also a very important stage of the championship, the halfway point.

"Sachsenring isn't one of my favourite tracks but I've had some great races there and generally it suits Yamaha well, which is good. We need another good result to keep our lead because our rivals are so strong and we can't afford to make any mistakes. Last year there was a lot of rain in Germany but in fact we were able to take a great second place. I hope this year we can go one better," he added.

"As always our first target is the podium and we've achieved this at all but one race this season so we will look to continue that trend!" stated team manager Davide Brivio. "Last year it was very wet in Germany but we were able to take an important second place, which gave Valentino key points for his championship battle. This time we arrive in the lead but we have to maintain focus because these are two very important races before the summer break and it's important to everyone that we go into the 'holiday' at the top."

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