Just two weeks after racing at Monza, the oldest venue on the World Supersport calendar, the championship moves to the ultra-modern Oschersleben Motopark in Germany.
Located in a remote part of northern Germany, Oschersleben is one of only four permanent circuits in the republic. It was opened in 1997 and included on the World Supersport calendar for the first time in 2000. It is a good example of a modern venue, designed to offer superb facilities for teams and spectators alike, with the raised grandstands and compact circuit layout meaning that most fans will be able to see around two-thirds of the action as it unfolds around the 3.7km circuit.
Like many of its contemporaries, Oschersleben features long straights linked by some low-gear constant radius corners. Although it lacks the aura of older circuits like Monza, Imola and Brands Hatch, this venue does tend to promote close racing with lots of passing opportunities in the braking zones – even if the lack of fast flowing corners mean that few riders rate it as a favourite.
Oschersleben is perhaps the most important race of the season for Yamaha Motor Germany riders Christian Kellner and Jörg Teuchert. With the Lausitzring no longer hosting a round of the series, this will be the team's only chance to race on home soil this season. Just as importantly, the duo is keen to end their incredible run of bad luck at the venue, which has seen neither rider finish a race at Oschersleben in three years of trying.
Kellner - the current class lap record holder at the circuit - and Teuchert tested at the track recently and set times comparable with those in last year's race, despite less favourable track conditions.
The main purpose of the test was to find an optimum set-up for their 2003 YZF-R6s, completely different machines to the ones campaigned last season, and the team tried out new fork internals, rear shock and shorter gearbox ratios with positive results.
In contrast to Monza, where the teams chased high-rpm performance, Oschersleben will see them focus more on the YZF-R6's handling and acceleration out of the many second gear corners. These slow corners also offer excellent opportunities for riders to make passes under braking.
The circuit's constant radius turns and abrasive surface will mean that tyre selection could play a large part in the outcome of the race. The amount of grip offer by the tyre when the bike is leaned over - often referred to as 'side grip' - will be tested to the limit as the riders aim to get on the gas as early as possible on the exit of the corner. In a bid to give their teams the best chance of winning, Yamaha's supersport tyre suppliers, Dunlop and Pirelli, will have new product available for their respective teams to try out in Germany.
While Yamaha Motor Germany tested at Oschersleben, Yamaha Belgarda Team riders Jurgen van den Goorbergh and Simone Sanna stayed in Italy for a two-day test at Misano. The Adriatic circuit shares many characteristics with Oschersleben. The team worked hard and believe they have found suspension settings that will transfer well to the German track.