Of course there was the Rossi conundrum. The nine-time world champion broke his right leg in his home round at Mugello, astoundingly missing a race for the first time in his 15-year career. Miraculously, the 31-year-old Italian returned just six weeks later in Germany, riding with a sore leg and shoulder (from a pre-season motocross accident) to notch a fourth-place finish. The Sachsenring is a very physical racetrack, but not in the same league as Laguna. And here, just seven weeks after his injury, "The Doctor" struggled, qualifying a lowly (for him) sixth. He did better in the race, running sixth at the start and steadily working his way forward before passing fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso in the dying momens to finish on the bottom step of the podium.