One year ago at the Sachsenring, Nicky Hayden claimed third during the closest top four finish in MotoGP history. This year the world champion returns eager to build on his debut 800cc podium last time out at Assen.
The American's spectacular ride from 13th to third at Assen completed a long awaited return to form for the Repsol Honda rider, who spent much of the first half of the season struggling with his new RC212V.
With the new V4 finally close to suiting Hayden's needs, the Kentuckian is 'very excited' to get back on track this weekend - at a circuit which suits his dirt track background.
"I am very excited to go to Germany because I've found a much better set-up and feeling with the machine recently and it's a lot more fun to be riding up front again," confirmed Nicky. "We've still got some work to do if we want to move up to where the real fun is though. I hope we can continue improving the set-up over the weekend and get the bike turning better. Also we need to dial in the clutch a little more to smooth out the corner entry.
"In the past the Sachsenring has been a good track to me. It's quite tight, short and has been a little bumpy which meant you had to be pretty scrappy to get around there quickly. But I like it - it's got a few fast left-handers and the downhill Waterfall corner is pretty sick. The lap times are always very close as it's a short lap. The word is that the circuit's been repaved for this year which should improve it, so if we can get some good weather to go with it that will be nice. But either way I can't wait to get there."
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa rounded out the record-breaking Sachsenring top four last season, finishing just 0.307secs behind winner Valentino Rossi, and the young Spaniard - who has now gone over a year without a victory, but could announce an extension to his Honda contract this weekend - 'knows' he can be competitive in Germany.
"Last year the result was not bad and I was very close to the podium, though having set pole position and the fastest lap of the race it was a little frustrating to finish fourth of course. We'll see if we can improve on that this weekend," admitted Dani. "It'll be interesting to see how the new 800cc machine differs to last year's 990s. We could be quicker through the tight parts of the track, but then again the straight begins by coming out of an uphill corner which will test the engine, so we'll have to wait and see whether the 800s are quicker. This isn't really my favourite track of the season but it's one where I know I can go well and I'll be looking for a good result here this weekend."