The Olympic Games may currently be in full flow, but the fiercest sporting contest of the summer could explode back into action on Sunday when Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner meet head-to-head at Brno.

Their last confrontation at Laguna Seca may have been four weeks ago but it's still fresh in the minds of millions of fans throughout the world who can't wait for the next installment. Last year nearly a quarter of a million fans packed Brno over the weekend and even more are expected this weekend on the back of that brilliant US GP battle.

In America seven times world champion Rossi, riding the Fiat Yamaha, rode one of his greatest ever races to beat the superior speed of Stoner and Ducati in one of the toughest battles of the last decade. There is no reason why there can not be more of the same round the magnificent Brno circuit at round 12 of the Championship in the 22 lap race on Sunday.

Rossi has now opened up a 25 point lead over Stoner in the championship with seven rounds remaining and the Ducati rider will be looking for a repeat of his comfortable Brno victory last season to pull back the advantage - and inflict revenge for what he believes was overly aggressive riding from Rossi in America.

The young Australian will be chasing a hatrick of Brno wins for the Ducati factory, with Loris Capirossi taking a Desmosedici to victory two years ago, but Rossi also has a good record at the 3.357 mile circuit that staged its first grand prix in 1987. The Italian has won three premier class races plus a 250 and a 125 in 1996 which was the first of his 92 grands prix victories.

The four week break has been a godsend for the two Spanish riders trailing Rossi and Stoner in the Championship. Both Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo will return to the action after recovering from injuries.

Third placed Pedrosa missed the US Grand Prix after crashing out while leading the wet German Grand Prix for Repsol Honda the week before, while fourth placed Lorenzo had a spectacular fall from his Fiat Yamaha on the first lap at Laguna Seca, breaking bones in his foot.

Both riders have already tasted victory this season and have impressive record at Brno. Pedrosa has won 125 and 250cc races while Lorenzo has won the 250cc race for the last two years and secured a 125cc victory four years ago.

Also making a return to the action is John Hopkins who finished a brilliant second last year at Brno for Rizla Suzuki. The American has missed the last three grands prix for Kawasaki after a spectacular qualifying accident in Holland.

With the rumour mill in full cry about who will be where next season it's an important last seven races for a number of riders.

One of those tipped to change teams next year is 2006 world champion American Nicky Hayden, who finished third at Brno for Repsol Honda last season but is just eighth in the championship this year. Hayden badly needs a return to podium form to boost his bargaining power for 2009, but has already been ruled out of Brno after damaging his right heel in a Supermoto race in America on August 1.

Italian Marco Melandri has a fantastic record at Brno but his first season at Ducati has been a disaster. He has won one 250 and two 125 cc races at the Czech circuit but is languishing in 17th place in the championship, while team-mate Stoner fights Rossi for the crown. Melandri has kept his Desmosedici seat for Brno, but it still seems far from certain that he will last the year.

By contrast, Italian Andrea Dovizioso is having a superb debut MotoGP season for JIR Team Scot Honda and is tipped for a factory Honda ride next year. The former 125cc world champion is now up to fifth, just three points in front of American Colin Edwards, who has already re-signed for Tech 3 Yamaha, where he will once again ride alongside James Toseland (ninth in points). Toseland has previously tasted success at Brno in WSBK.

Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen chases a third successive podium this weekend and also looks set to stay put next year - although there are only two seats to accommodate three candidates; Vermeulen, current team-mate Capirossi and AMA champion Ben Spies.

Meanwhile, for the likes of Anthony West (Kawasaki), Toni Elias (Alice), Sylvain Guintoli (Alice) and Randy De Puniet (LCR) Brno marks the start of a vital two months that will determine their futures in the MotoGP World Championship.

Shinya Nakano's position looks safer after the Japanese was handed a 2008 factory Honda for the remaining seven rounds, which the Gresini rider will help develop into next year's satellite spec machine.

The 250cc World Championship could provide the closest finish with in-form Italian Marco Simoncelli taking the title lead after winning the last round in Germany. In a two horse race the Gilera rider holds an 11 point advantage over the KTM of Finnish star Mika Kallio. After scoring no points in the opening two rounds Simoncelli has finished on the podium in the last six races including three wins.

Frenchman Mike Di Meglio will be hoping to keep a cool head as he defends that impressive 30 point lead in the very competitive 125cc class. The 20 year old won the last round in Germany on the Ajo Motorsport Derbi but look out for world champion Gabor Talmacsi who will receive massive support from the traveling Hungarian fans as he tries to retain his title despite being down in third place, 57 points adrift of Di Meglio.



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