Maverick Viñales arrives in the Czech Republic in second place in the championship standings, five points from first, and with a great hunger to reclaim the number one spot.
Feeling refreshed after four weeks of training and spending time with family and friends, the young gun is ready to commence the title challenge in the second half of the championship, starting this weekend. He stood on the Czech podium once before in 2013, having secured second place in the Moto3 race. His best finish on a MotoGP bike in Brno is ninth place.
Teammate Valentino Rossi is also looking forward to stepping aboard his YZR-M1 again this weekend at the hilly circuit of Brno. Currently in fourth place, just ten points behind the championship leader, the Doctor has all to play for at a track where he holds a stunning record.
The nine-time World Champion secured his first ever 125cc win at the Czech Republic track in 1996. This was followed by a 250cc win in 1999, a 500cc victory in 2001 and modern era premier class Brno victories in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009. All combined, he stood on the podium there 14 times, including the two consecutive third places in 2014 and 2015 and a second place last year, making him a tough contender to bet against.
The first motorcycle racing event in Brno took place in 1930, while the first Grand Prix was held there in 1965. Racers would ride 500cc bikes through the villages and western parts of the city on a 13.94km road track, until the new circuit was built during the 1980s. In 1987 the 5.4km Automotodrom track (six left corners, eight right corners) hosted its first FIM Czech Grand Prix, which became popular with both fans and riders thanks to its great atmosphere and location. The natural bowl in which the circuit is situated, offers spectators a perfect view of the action as the second half of the season kicks off.