With Donington Park playing host to one of the more eventful rounds of the 2009 World Superbike season, a brief break could not have come at a better time for a number of the riders.
In Noriyuki Haga's case, however, the four-week gap between Donington Park and the latest round at Brno would prove to be crucial following the accident in the UK that threatened to halt his title offensive.
Luckily for him, the initial reports of a fractured vertebra were reduced to a fractured wrist instead – a painful injury, but not quite as serious. It means he will still be on the grid at Brno, even if he is, in his own words, not 100 per cent.
Still, regardless of the injuries, retirement in the second race at Donington Park did Haga's advantage in the standings no good at all, with Ben Spies romping to a fifth win in six races to bring the gap down to a mere 14 points – the smallest the margin has been since the beginning of the season.
However, while observers may question whether Haga will still be ahead by the end of the weekend, it is worth pointing out that he scored an outstanding double victory at the Nurburgring in 2008 whilst nursing a broken collarbone. This man is nothing if not determined!
The only event to be held in Eastern Europe, the Brno Masaryk circuit is one of the longest and most popular on the calendar, its vast undulations, sweeping bends and tree-lined straights making it an ideal setting for two-wheel action.
For Spies, though, Brno represents another new circuit for him to learn. Even so, the momentum is certainly with Spies, who has had the edge in terms of outright speed since Miller Motorsports Park, the American going on to shrug off his lack of intimate track knowledge of Misano and Donington Park to prove the man to beat there too.
While attention remains firmly fixed on the two main title protagonists, Michel Fabrizio is continuing to keep it a three-way battle as he sits on the fringes in third place overall. Although technical problems prevented him from making it ten straight podiums at Donington Park, Fabrizio arrives at Brno full of confidence having performed remarkably well at the circuit in recent years.
Indeed, in his six appearances there on the World Superbike, Fabrizio has finished off the podium just once, while his double podium showing in the Czech Republic last season was arguably the impetus for his eventual 2009 contract renewal.
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