Riders prepare for round three

Updated: 22 April 2007 14:36 IST

After a four-week break that followed the Grand Prix of Spain, the MotoGP season resumes in Istanbul this weekend with the Grand Prix of Turkey.

Riders prepare for round three

Istanbul:

After a four-week break that followed the Grand Prix of Spain, the MotoGP season resumes in Istanbul this weekend with the Grand Prix of Turkey.

The MotoGP field will be taking something a step into the unknown in this, the third round of the season.

New regulations limiting the number of tyres used in races were brought into effect at the start of the season.

Pre-season tests at Losail and Jerez helped to soften the impact of these changes in the first two races of 2007, but none of the riders will know what to expect at the Istanbul Park Circuit.

Reigning MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden has made a stuttering start to his title defence, finishing in eighth and seventh place at the first two races of the season respectively.

But the American finished third in last season's Grand Prix of Turkey and will hope for another podium finish this time around.

Former five-time premier class champion Valentino Rossi of Italy - the current standings leader - has yet to win a race in Istanbul, while his compatriot Marco Melandri will be seeking a third successive Grand Prix of Turkey win on Sunday.

"We always arrive in this circuit in a strange situation. In 2005 it was the end of the year and especially last year we had a lot of problems with the M1. The temperature is very cold and for sure it will be difficult with the new tyres because we have never tested at this track. We hope to have a few more degrees for the tyres on Sunday and we hope to have three days of good weather for the grip on the surface," said Valentino Rossi, MotoGP World Championship leader.

The high-speed Istanbul Park Circuit is likely to favour the Ducati of Australian Casey Stoner - the winner of the first race of the season in Qatar.

But Rossi is back to his best after a difficult season in 2006 and he may have his first taste of Turkish delight on Sunday.

Topics : Formula 1
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