MotoGP Race Preview – Brno

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By the time the first practice session at the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno kicks off on Friday morning the MotoGP field will have had little time to recover from the rigours of last weekend's exertions in Indianapolis.

To say it was an eventful weekend would be something of an understatement. A win for Dani Pedrosa to close the gap on Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, a huge crash for defending title holder Casey Stoner in QP which resulted in an ankle injury, a blown engine for the luckless Ben Spies as he fought for the race lead and an injury for Ducati rider Nicky Hayden give just a snapshot of what went on Stateside.

Round 12 at Brno precedes a three-week break after back-to-back rounds, and it will play another big part in deciding this year's Championship standings.

First up the duo pulling away at the top will lock horns again. Eighteen points separates leader Lorenzo and chasing man Pedrosa, but only the former has tasted victory at Brno once before. Each rider has only failed to finish on the podium once this season, but can Pedrosa take his third win of 2012 and really cut Lorenzo's advantage down further?

Traditionally Brno has been a happy hunting ground for Stoner and Valentino Rossi. Reigning World Champion Stoner won there last season, but carries torn ankle ligaments and fractured bones into this round. Can he stop the Spanish duo pulling away at the top with a superhuman effort and bag a win this weekend?

Rossi is the most successful rider of all time at Brno with five premier class wins, and it was the site of his very first 125 GP win way back in 1996. Victory may not be on the cards this weekend for the Ducati man, but can he kick on from a disappointing Indy weekend with a strong result at Brno? Puma blogger Alex Hofmann believes the track could suit the Desmosedici well, so can the nine-time World Champion get the GP12 on form?

For Rossi's Ducati team-mate Hayden it will be a case of watching on though, as the American is nursing a fractured right hand from his QP crash at Indy.

With Rossi on his way at the end of the season Ducati confirmed on Wednesday that Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso will come into the team for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. But back to the task at hand – can he continue his phenomenal podium form on the satellite Yamaha at Brno?

And in Moto2 is there any stopping Marc Márquez? The Spaniard leads the intermediate category by 39 points after win number five of the season in the US. Andrea Iannone trails him in the Championship and won at Brno last year – can the Italian reel his rival back in with a result?

All the answers will be forthcoming this weekend, but we want to know what you think!