The Barcelona Superprestigio race is becoming a regular fixture in the winter break, and this year is no exception. The third edition of the race is due to take place on 12th December in the Palau Sant Jordi, part of Barcelona's Olympic Ring up on the Montjuic hill which sits on southwest edge of Barcelona. Once again, the feature will pit some of the best MotoGP riders in the world against the cream of the US flat track scene, as well as top riders from many other motorcycling disciplines.
Star of the show is once again Marc Marquez, the man who helped organize the show after hearing about previous editions of the race which had been run in the 1980s and 1990s. Marquez lost out in the first edition of the race to Brad Baker, then beat Jared Mees to win the second edition in December of last year. Both Mees and Baker will be present again, representing the AMA Flat Track series.
A host of other stars of MotoGP and World Superbikes will be joining Marquez. Moto2 rookie of the year Alex Rins will also be racing this year, as will his former teammate and Marc's younger brother Alex Marquez. Bright young Italian star Lorenzo Baldassarri will also be taking part: as part of the VR46 Rider Academy, Baldassarri has a lot of experience riding dirt track on Valentino Rossi's dirt track ranch in Tavullia. Moto2 race winner Xavier Simeon will be representing Belgium, while former Moto2 rider and now KTM test rider Mika Kallio will be racing in Barcelona as well. Jordi Torres will be representing the World Superbike series, along with Nico Terol and Toni Elias, though rumor has it Elias could be bound for BSB.
Brad Baker and Jared Mees top the Open Class - for riders from flat track and other off-road disciplines - line up, and they are joined by riders from a wide variety of off-road sports. Speedway and Long Track racer Joonas Kylmäkorpi is the second Finnish racer in the line up, while speedway star Fredrik Lindgren will be representing Sweden. From Supermoto, Tom Chareyre makes a return, and the British and Spanish dirt track series have a strong representation. British champion Aidan Collins is joined by runner up Oliver Brindley, and third-place man Alan Birtwistle. Italian dirt track champion Francesco Cecchini makes a return, whil Franc Serra, Ferran Cardus and Jaume Gaya are just a few of a strong local representation.
Practice starts on Saturday, 12th December at 11am. Doors open to the public at 4:30pm, with the event getting underway at 6pm. Racing starts half an hour later, and culminates with the Superfinal, which sees the best riders from both the road racing group and the off road group go head to head for the championship. That race is due to start shortly after 9pm. MotoMatters.com will once again be attending the event, and providing coverage on the website. Tickets for the event start at €30, and can be bought online at the RPM Ticketing website.
Flights and accommodation in Barcelona are very reasonable, it being the off season. But most of Barcelona's many attractions, such as the Sagrada Familia, are still open, and much easier to visit as the crowds are much thinner. The shops are busy, of course, with Christmas shopping in full swing, though not quite as busy as in Northern Europe, the tradition in Spain being to exchange gifts on Twelfth Night, linking the gift giving tradition to the arrival of the Magi, rather than the arrival of Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas.