A 'rested, relaxed and recharged' Valentino Rossi starts the first of seven rounds that will decide the outcome of the 2009 MotoGP World Championship with a 25 point lead, as the summer break ends with Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix.
Brno is a special track for Rossi, who took the first of his 101 victories there, in the 125cc class in 1996. Since then he has added a 250cc win and four MotoGP victories to his tally, including a commanding triumph last year on the way to his sixth MotoGP crown.
The 30-year-old fell from the lead at Donington last time out but remounted to finish fifth, meaning he managed to extend his lead at the top of the championship to 25 points from Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who crashed out of the lead earlier in the British race.
“The summer 'holiday' wasn't as long as usual but anyway I've had the chance to recharge the batteries in the break and I'm feeling rested and relaxed,” said the Italian. “Last time out wasn't ideal but in the end it was a positive day for us and we now have a one-race buffer at the top of the championship.”
With third in the championship Casey Stoner missing the next three rounds, Rossi will also have one less rival to worry about, but is keeping his guard up.
“Despite this breathing space we can't afford to relax for a minute because our rivals are very strong and I expect everyone to be at their best in Brno,” insisted Rossi. “It's a great track for me and I took my first ever win there; I'm hoping for another good result this time.”
"Brno is a good circuit both for Valentino and for Yamaha in general and we have to take advantage of this to manage and hopefully extend the 25-point advantage we currently have in the championship,” stated team manager Davide Brivio.
“Valentino has always been at the top there and it's a track that's full of important memories for him and for us, including in 2008 when it marked the start of us 'completing' the job of recapturing the title.
“At the moment we're working very well and we are looking forward to maintaining the same high standard as much as possible. The competition amongst the top riders is very exciting and we hope we can offer everyone another great show.”
New rules, which restrict each rider to five engine changes in the last five rounds, come into effect from Brno. Additional changes will be punished by a ten point penalty.