Press release previews from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams ahead of this weekend's round at Barcelona:
Xavier Simeon to miss Catalunya Moto2 race through injury
The Tech 3 Racing Moto2 Team's Xavier Simeon will not participate in next weekend's Gran Premio Aperol de Catalunya having been ruled out by injuries picked up during the recent French Grand Prix.
The Belgian rider broke bones in his left hand and foot after a heavy qualifying crash in Le Mans last Saturday and while he is recovering well from the injuries, Simeon and Tech 3 Racing boss Herve Poncharal have decided not to rush his return to competitive action.
Simeon will return to his Mistral 610 machine when practice for the Brit ish Grand Prix gets underway at Silverstone on Friday, June 15.
The Tech 3 Racing Team is currently looking for a replacement for Simeon for the Catalunya round and an announcement will be made in due course.
Moto2 returns to Spain for dual compound action
Dunlop’s Moto2 tyres head to the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona for the second visit to Spain for the fifth round of the of the Moto2 World Championship - the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya - on June 1-3.
Located 30km north-east of Barcelona, the track is a punishing venue where the right hand side of the tyres take a lot of abuse from the high speed turns.
Dunlop will bring the tyres from the Group E ‘Specials’ range, with the dual compound W919 making its season debut, allied to the 3838 harder option compound. This allocation is used for circuits such as Catalunya requiring lower running temperature tyres, because of their turn biased nature. The allocation also accounts for higher abrasion levels.
The W919 is an asymmetric dual compound tyre incorporating the two core compounds. Both compounds offer good heat retention while not getting too hot or too cold during running. The dual compound approach is suited to where one side of the tyre gets more use than the other. The 3838 gives riders at these circuits the confidence to open the throttle early out of the apex and has good resistance to abrasion and wear. These rear tyres are married to the familiar 717 and 302 fronts, resplendent in their latest profile.
Dunlop’s Moto2 Operations Manager, Clinton Howe:
“This will be the first time we bring our dual compound rear tyre to a race track this year. The W919 is slightly stronger on its non-working side – the left side for this track – which gives it more durability and stability. The Circuit de Catalunya is always a tough circuit with many fast corners. In particular, turn three really punishes both, the front and rear tyres as the bikes spend a lot of time at high lean angles using the right hand side of the tyre.
“This track is second only to Brno for the energy forces put through right edge, with a significant percentage of a lap spent at almost full lean angle, which really provides a tough test for the rear compound. With the circuit used throughout the year it is not as harsh as it could be with its layout and surface. This means you never really face a truly green surface as the track can be quite abrasive.”
Moto3: Maverick Viñales, Blusens Avintia, FTR Honda:
“Catalunya is a good track with plenty of challenges. We have been working very hard with the bike and the engine and optimising the setup to make the best use of Dunlop’s tyres. It’s still early in the season with the Moto3 bikes so it’s very rewarding to be working closely with the engineers to try to find the best performance possible. It is a lucky track for me. I have confidence that Dunlop’s tyres will help me to have a good race.”
Moto2 Tyre Allocation Catalunya
Front Moto2 slicks per rider
4 x 302
4 x 717
Rear Moto2 slicks per rider
5 x W919 (ATR05)
4 x 3838 (ATR05)
Wet Moto2 tyres per rider
3 x Front 125/80R17 KR191 414 (4 tyres allocated if all practice sessions are wet).
3 x Rear 190/55R17 KR393 414 (4 tyres allocated if all practice sessions are wet).
Catalunya: You need hard compounds for the long, fast corners …
For Catalunya the following Moto3 tyres will be allocated:
Front Moto3 slicks per rider
5 x Medium
3 x Hard
Rear Moto3 slicks per rider
6 x Medium
3 x Hard
Wet Moto3 tyres per rider
3 x 95/70R17 KR189 WB (4 tyres allocated if all practices are wet).
3 x 115/70R17 KR389 WB (4 tyres allocated if all practices are wet).
Jordi Torres to join Tech 3 Racing in Catalunya
The Tech 3 Racing Team will field Spanish rider Jordi Torres as replacement for injured Xavier Simeon in this weekend's Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya.
Simeon has been ruled out of the fifth round of the 2012 World Championship with hand and left foot injuries he picked up after a heavy qualifying fall for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans earlier this month.
The Tech 3 Racing Team has drafted in 24-year-old Torres to partner British rider Bradley Smith on the Mistral 610 machine this weekend. Torres is currently leading the Spanish Moto2 Championship, having won the last two races at Navarro and Motorland Aragon.
Torres is no stranger to the competitive Moto2 Grand Prix series, having been a replacement rider for the Aspar squad in 2011. He competed in 10 races last season and scored a best finish of 17th in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
To ensure Torres has some experience of the Mistral 610 machine ahead of this weekend's Catalunya round, he is currently taking part in a private test session today at the Ales track in France.
Simeon continues to make excellent progress in his recovery and the Tech 3 Racing Team is looking forward to welcoming him back for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on June 17.
Second home race
World Championship returns to Spain with Repsol riders ready to lead the way in all three categories.
Casey Stoner has the chance to take his twentieth consecutive podium at a track where he has placed in the top three for the past five years. He won last year’s race.
Dani Pedrosa holds the circuit record in MotoGP (1:42.358, 2008) and holds victories at Montmeló in three classes: MotoGP (2008), 250cc (2005) and 125cc (2003).
Álex Márquez will take part in his third Grand Prix as a wild card, fresh off his obtaining the lead of the CEV last weekend in Aragón.
Repsol Media Service Spain, Circuit de Catalunya Tuesday 29/05/2012
Sun and high temperatures are expected for the latest round of the MotoGP World Championship, as the series leaves the rain behind and heads to Catalonia. Stoner and Pedrosa in MotoGP, Márquez in Moto2, plus Viñales, Oliveira, Rins and third-time wild card Álex Márquez in Moto3, will be the Repsol riders in action in front of the Spanish fans.
In the premier class, the Repsol Honda Team riders have previous experience of winning a Catalan GP. Casey Stoner —edging ever closer to Valentino Rossi’s record of 23 consecutive podiums— was the dominant winner of last year’s race. Dani Pedrosa has won at the track in three classes and is aiming for another win in order to make up ground in the title chase.
Moto2 is the most even class at the moment, and Marc Márquez arrives at his home round eager to turn around his bad result at Le Mans. The Repsol rider won at the venue of this weekend’s race in 2010, on the way to the 125cc title. This season he has a second shot at a Moto2 victory, looking to return to the top of the overall standings.
After the tricky race in the wet at Le Mans, the Moto3 riders are hoping for better conditions this weekend. Second in the standings, Maverick Viñales is gunning for his second win of 2012 at a track where he placed on the rostrum last year. Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira will also try to earn a strong result from the excellent form that he has shown so far this season.
Teammate Álex Rins is out to continue on from his outstanding maiden podium at the French GP with another positive result this weekend, whilst Álex Márquez makes a third appearance as a Moto3 wildcard in a rich run of form, having taken a podium and the series lead in the CEV Spanish Championship this past Sunday.
“Catalunya is, obviously, one of my favourite races because all my family, friends and fans are there supporting me and it's a very special date on the calendar. I'm really looking forward to getting there after missing the race last year. I want to feel the atmosphere again and I'm very excited and motivated to do well and fight for victory. Catalunya is a hard track because normally it is hot, but it would be good to have good weather for a change!
The test on Monday will be also very important for the team. Catalunya is a very good track to test the new tyres because it is one of the circuits where you stay on the edge of the tyre longer and a long time turning right, you need good feeling in the front. It will be important to have a good test to arrive at Silverstone with the best information possible”.
"Catalunya is one of my favourite races and it was the first major grand prix circuit I tested on. Ever since that moment I fell in love with the track, the big fast sweeping corners there's a lot of control in the middle of the turn trying to get grip for the exit. We know the Honda works well here and we had a good race here last year, I just hope this weekend will be dry, that would be great!
After the race we have a test on Monday. I really hope the weather is good for us as it's an important test going forward for the remainder of the season”.
"This week is very special for me, as both I and my brother —a Moto3 wild card— are riding at Montmeló. It is a home GP and there is obviously plenty of desire to be ready to provide a good result. I crashed at Le Mans after a good weekend and the standings are now a lot tighter, almost making it a restart from zero.
Our aim is to be focused over the three days and keep the race in mind right from the opening practice laps. Montmeló is a track that I like a lot, where I got on the podium last year and where I won the 125cc race the previous year. I am ready to work hard from the off, with my team and the fans right behind me".
"Logically, every time that we ride in Spain it is a special occasion, because it is where we feel most at home. Montmeló is even more special for me, because it is the closest track to where I live and is where I have the most friends and family members in attendance. We weren’t so lucky at Le Mans, but despite this I am excited about racing this weekend. I hope to have a good race and wash the bad taste from my mouth from Le Mans.
Montmeló is a track that I like and where we have been able to go fast before. I am very motivated, the bike is competitive and I will have plenty of home support, so we have to think positive and hope for a good result".
"I am very confident heading to Montmeló, as it is a familiar track for me. I want to put an end to the bad luck that we have had since the Spanish Grand Prix and will be approaching this round as if it were the first of the season; we’ll start from zero, but with the advantage of having previous experience from the races beforehand.
We are undoubtedly one of the frontrunners for every race, so I am quietly confident. I can’t wait to start the weekend and do an excellent job in order to give the team the reward that they deserve".
"I am very happy with the result from Le Mans, but we have to keep on working in the same way in order to maintain our form. I want to thank Doctor Mir and his medical team, because they have helped me to make a speedy recovery. Now I just have to see how I go on the bike. Montmeló is a track that I like a lot, and I ride with the small advantage of knowing it inside out.
It is a special moment to be riding at home for the first time in the World Championship, so I am excited to get on track and enjoy myself. I hope to do as well as possible over the course of the weekend".
“I can’t wait for this home race to come around. This is my third wild card appearance, after Jerez and Estoril, and I think that I am in good form after the results in the CEV. It is a shame about my crash last weekend, but I think that I have enough time to recover and get back to 100% for this round, ready to fight to finish in the points again.
The Circuit de Catalunya is a track I know well and I like it because it is well balanced in terms of technique and speed. We shall see how it goes”
ANTONELLI AIMING TO MAINTAIN MOMENTUM AT MONTMELO
Team San Carlo Honda Gresini's exciting youngster Niccolò Antonelli heads to the fifth round of the Moto3 World Championship looking to maintain the momentum of his stunning charge from 27th to fourth place in the last round at Le Mans. The teenage rookie showed the composure of a seasoned veteran in the challenging French conditions and he is aiming to build on his growing confidence with the FTR-Honda machine at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona this weekend.
Niccolo’ Antonelli “I have great memories of the last race at Le Mans and even though I missed out on the podium I was really happy to finish in fourth place considering my position on the grid, which itself was the result of a crash in qualifying. I hope the weather is good in Catalunya so that we can continue to work on the bike because even though we have made some good steps forward there is still a lot to be done. I know Montemelò having raced there last year and it is a wonderful circuit although also quite difficult. I can't wait to get out there on my bike on Friday.”
Fausto Gresini “Niccolò is on a constant upward curve, which I am particularly happy about. He is making steady progress and we are keen not to put pressure on him. He had a great ride at Le Mans, picked up a fantastic result and now we go to a circuit he knows in Catalunya and he should do well there, although I don't want to raise expectations. Niccolò just needs to keep growing as he is now and nothing more. He will have some small technical updates for Barcelona that should also be positive and improve his confidence on the bike.”
REA LOOKS FOR REDEMPTION IN CATALUNYA
After a thrilling podium challenge that ended in despair for Gino Rea at Le Mans two weeks ago, the British rider heads to the next round of the Moto2 World Championship in Barcelona this weekend looking for redepmtion. His swift adaptation to the Suter chassis at a circuit he had never visited before was an encouraging omen for the rest of the season and Rea is hopeful of making further progress this weekend.
Gino Rea “It was a real shame that I got taken out of the Le Mans race because we could have been on the podium but we have to take the positives and move on. To go from 24th on the grid to third position during the race was nice and it was good to show that when we have the bike working well, we can run at the front of this fiercely competitive class. I am looking forward to Catalunya now and I hope we can continue development with the bike so that I can be closer to the front in the dry conditions. We have something different to try in terms of suspension, so I hope this helps us take a step in the right direction. I have never been to the Catalunya circuit before so it's another thing I must learn before we can set the bike up to the track. I will study it as much as I can on the videos from now until the race weekend!”
Fausto Gresini “With a little more luck and composure Gino could have left Le Mans with a good result so it was a shame but he has the opportunity to make up for it in Catalunya by working hard on the set-up of the Suter. He is making tangible progress now and I am sure this will allow him to express his full potential. A few less crashes will help the guys do their job and I am confident things can come together in Catalunya.”
WILAIROT TO CONTINUE POINTS QUEST AT CATALUNYA
Ratthapark Wilairot heads to the fifth round of the Moto2 World Championship in Barcelona feeling high on confidence after picking up his first points of the season on his debut with the Suter chassis in France last time out. There is a lot of work still to be done with the new frame but the prospects are good for the Thai rider, who is hoping for a crash-free weekend in order to allow the team maximum opportunity to improve the bike.
Ratthapark Wilairot: “Le Mans was like starting from scratch again but in difficult conditions in the race we picked up some good points and a top ten finish. I understand the bike more and I am learning how to ride the Suter, which gave me a lot of confidence in the rainy conditions. We are happy but we need to work more in the dry. I think it should be dry and hot at Catalunya so hopefully we can have a good weekend there. We go with a good feeling and we understand the strong points of this bike. I have to do many laps to find the right setting but I think we will find something good at Montmelo and we will certainly work very hard to be on top."
Fausto Gresini “I was happy with the result for Wilairot at Le Mans and it is a good sign for the future. There is still a lot of work to do with the new bike but I have confidence in the ability of the team along with Feem's determination to get it right. A few less crashes from him will help us get there more quickly so the message to Feem is to keep working with the same spirit but in a more calm manner so that the effort of the team is not wasted and so that we can reach our objectives more easily.”
Redding looking to repeat podium success in Barcelona
Gosselies, Belgium - 30 May 2012: Scott Redding heads to this weekend's Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya looking for another podium, to add to his third place finish last time out at Le Mans. Mika Kallio also heads to the Montmeló circuit in confident mood, after securing his best result of the season at the French Grand Prix just over a week ago.
This weekend's Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya marks the start of an intense period of activity in the Moto2 World Championship. Five races in just seven weekends could see a major change in the championship standings ahead of the annual summer break.
Redding currently lies fifth in the standings, just 27 points adrift of championship leader Pol Espargaro, with Kallio a further 11 points off the top spot in sixth.
The 2012 Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya will mark the 21st successive year that the Circuit de Catalunya has been used since it was first included in the World Championship in 1992. The circuit is characterised by long, constant-radius corners that place the emphasis on a flowing riding style, as well as excellent chassis and tyre performance.
Carrying speed through the final two turns and onto the long start finish straight is important, but a lot of time can also be lost in the stadium section, where good lines through the combination of turns are critical to a fast lap time.
A regular testing venue for Formula 1 teams, the Catalunya track is notoriously bumpy in places, despite extensive resurfacing work carried out in 2005.
Scott Redding: #45
"Barcelona is the first of a five race run in just seven weekends, so it's important to start with a good result. With results comes confidence, as we saw in Le Mans, and that always makes things easier, especially when there's no gap between races. I quite like the Montmeló circuit and, after the Navarra test and the Le Mans result, we know we head to Spain with a competitive package. The Spanish riders are going to be pushing hard in front of their home crowd, but I'm confident I can come away with a top five finish and maybe even challenge for the podium once again."
Mika Kallio: #36
"I like the Barcelona track and it should suit out bike a bit better than Le Mans. It's a circuit that can be hard on tyres, especially if the weather is hot, and I think that could be to our advantage this weekend. My riding style is quite smooth compared to others, and this allows us to get more from the tyres than riders with a more aggressive style. Everything is in place and we go to Barcelona with no pressure, so it will be a case of getting on and doing our job. If it all comes together then I think this weekend I can be even closer to the leading riders, with a podium finish a realistic possibility."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"It is important that we get this run of five races off to a strong start if Scott and Mika are to improve their position in the championship standings ahead of the summer break. Both riders will head to Catalunya with some confidence, after securing their best results of the season last time out at a very wet Le Mans. We know this weekend will be tough, with Pol Espargaro, Marc Marquez and the other Spanish riders keen to impress in front of their home crowd, but I'm confident that both Scott and Mika have the pace to challenge at the front once again. For Scott in particular, a good result this weekend in Barcelona would set him up perfectly for his own home Grand Prix, which takes place at Silverstone just two weeks later."
MAPFRE ASPAR RIDERS READY FOR SEASON'S SECOND HOME RACE
Toni Elías and Nico Terol hope to confirm recent progress at Montmeló
The Circuit de Catalunya is about as close to the 'complete challenge' as it gets for a motorcycle racer, combining fast and flowing sections with some tight turning and elevation changes around its 4.727m layout. With a main straight of over a kilometre Montmeló has all the ingredients to make for another exciting weekend's racing on Spanish soil, with the home riders desperate to impress in the battle for Moto2 honours. Local pair Pol Espargaró and Marc Márquez are separated by a single point at the top of the championship followed closely by Thomas Luthi, giving this fifth round of the season extra spice.
MAPFRE Aspar pair Toni Elías and Nico Terol are also eager for home glory, the two World Champions having already written their names into the history of this famous track. Elías rode a race bike for the very first time here and he is desperate to make more progress with some new technical updates for his bike at his home circuit. Terol picked up one of many victories from pole position at this circuit on his way to the 125cc title last year to bury the memories of a bad back injury sustained in the La Caixa corner in 2010. The Spaniard picked up his first Moto2 points in his fourth race at Le Mans last time out and he is looking for more this Sunday.
Toni Elías: "I love Montmeló and I have great memories of the track. I rode a Grand Prix bike there for the first time when I was just fourteen years old and I have cut my teeth there as a racer over the years. I love the first sector around La Moreneta and I always enjoy feeling the heat from the fans in the stadium section, which always gives me an extra boost. I am very motivated for this race, which we approach with a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the belief that it can be a turning point for our season. We have had some discreet results so far but we are making progress and I don't see why we shouldn't go out there to win on Sunday. We will have to work very hard to get our set-up right before the race but I plan to make the most of every available minute."
Nico Terol: "It's another home race, the fifth round of the season and we go there in good form. I struggled to get on the pace over the opening two races but I learnt a lot about Moto2 and over the last two rounds I have been able to experience it in all kinds of conditions. At Le Mans in free practice we showed that we are heading in the right direction and we have the opportunity to take another step forward this weekend. I like Montmeló a lot and if we work in the same way that we have over the last two rounds we can make big progress. Only a small improvement in this category can equate to a lot of positions so that is something that serves to motivate you even more. I like the fast turns at Montmeló as well as the braking into turn one and the last two corners, which are the secret to a good lap time. I am in form and expecting a lot from this weekend."
BANKIA ASPAR AIM TO FOLLOW UPWARD CURVE AT CATALUNYA
Moncayo targets second straight podium as Faubel hopes to make up for Le Mans near miss
Four races into the new season and the Moto3 World Championship is proving all the predictions right by being... unpredictable. With four different winners so far, albeit in some drastically differing conditions, the goal of making the minor category more open to different riders has seemingly already been achieved. The fifth round of the season takes place this weekend in Barcelona with Sandro Cortese on top of the standings, the German holding a thirteen-point advantage over the Spanish Armada as they prepare for battle at their home circuit.
Amongst them will be BANKIA Aspar rider Alberto Moncayo, who intrepidly navigated his way to the podium in torrential conditions on French shores two weeks ago. Third place at Le Mans lifted the Spaniard to sixth in the championship and with technical updates planned for this weekend his confidence could not be higher going into his second home race of the season. His team-mate Héctor Faubel is also in good form despite having scuffed his leathers at Le Mans, where he led the race for several laps before crashing. Faubel, from relatively nearby Valencia, is hoping the bike updates serve him well in the predicted dry conditions and afford him the opportunity to challenge for the podium after his near miss two weeks ago.
Alberto Moncayo: "The confidence boost of a podium finish in the last race will be an important factor this weekend. It proves that we are doing a good job and the bike is developing as it should, so the team and I are all happy. I struggled to adapt to this track last year on the 125 but everything is different this time around so I am sure we can take another big step forward with the Moto3. The last round was a turning point for us and now we just need to keep working hard and looking to the future. Montmeló is a fast and very complete circuit, which usually has good grip. I never seem to have had great results there but we'll be fighting to change that this weekend."
Héctor Faubel: "Montmeló is a special circuit, it's a home race for us - close to Valencia - and the fans always give us a lot of support so it's a special race. The team is hoping to have some new stuff for us this weekend and I have blind faith that they will be productive. We are working hard to make sure that the Kalex is competitive and at Le Mans we showed our progress by leading the race for a few laps. It was a shame about the crash but there is always the risk of that happening in the wet. Anyway, I am taking the positives which is that I was able to run at the front again and be competitive. Hopefully at Montmeló that good feeling and high performance level can continue in the dry conditions."
Binder looking for a reversal of fortunes at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya
Following a disappointing end to the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, RW Racing GP’s Brad Binder is looking for a reversal of fortunes at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya.
Returning from a week at home in South Africa soaking up the Highveld Winter Sunshine, Brad’s batteries are recharged, his alignment is reset and he is rearing to go, ready for action.
Brad Binder: “It was great to be home for a week, I love South Africa and being home with my dad and brother really has given me the boost that I need. My start to the 2012 Moto 3 Season hasn’t been easy but with my dad’s wisdom – he has been by my side since the start of my racing career – I feel ready to take on the world again”.
Brad has never raced on the Catalan track before, but he has shown that he has an ability to learn new circuits really quickly and he is looking forward to yet another steep learning curve.
Weather forecasts look good for the entire race weekend. Following the treacherous Le Mans’ conditions, Brad is anticipating a slighting easier experience at Catalunya.
Brad Binder: " I just can't wait to get back on my KALEX-KTM! I'm looking forward to racing on another track I've never been on before, and also the atmosphere at GPs in Spain is awesome. I know I am competitive, I had a solid result at Estoril and I am determined to repeat my performance and do even better at Barcelona".
The Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya will take place in Montmelo, 20km from Barcelona. The 4.727 km circuit was built in 1991 and is considered to be one of the best designed circuits of the recent era. In 2001 the Circuito de Catalunya won the coveted IRTA “Best Grand Prix” trophy. The circuit has a capacity of 104 000 spectators and is one of the most technical circuits on the calendar.
MotoGP Moto3 - Team Italia resumes action in Barcelona
At the Montmeló circuit, Fenati wants to put a couple of unlucky races behind, Tonucci aims at confirming his progress.
Moto3 resumes action in Catalunya. After the Le Mans rain and Fenati's second crash in a row (he was taken out by Rossi in Estoril), Team Italia FMI is hoping for a sunny week-end to resume its chase in the championship.
After the French round, "Fenny" went back to his hometown Ascoli Piceno, where he could find the calm he needed and get ready for the Barcelona race.
On Sunday, unlike what happens in the majority of the GPs, Romano will race on a track he already knows since the CEV championship: the young talent needs to restart his title chase in Montmeló.
Alessandro Tonucci also had a hard-working week. After a bleak start to his championship, he is striving to climb back to more prestigious positions. In France, "Tonu" showed his strong character: despite having to come into the pits twice due to electrical problems caused by the heavy rain, he managed to score points, highlighting his will to turn the season around. Barcelona can become a turning point for his as well.
"What happened to Romano in the past two races is a necessary part of a rider's development – said Massimo Vergini, Team Manager of Team Italia FMI – We must not forget that Fenati is a rookie. He already showed what he's capable of in the first two races. Despite being just 16, his maturity helped him overcome the last two races and he's ready to climb his way back. Tonucci, despite the bad luck he's had until now, showed his resilience in Le Mans. Now he has to continue on that path."
HONDA RIDERS BACK ON THE GAS IN SPAIN
29.05.12 – The 2012 MotoGP World Championship welcomes the return to the high speed and traditionally sun-blessed Circuito de Montmelo in Catalunya after three races in changeable weather on slower speed tracks.
Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa have both tasted success in Catalunya, the second of four races in Pedrosa’s homeland. Stoner won last year from the pole position, his fifth Catalunya podium in a row. The streak began with his first Catalunya win in 2007 to which he added his second win in 2008, giving him three wins in the last five Catalunya races. Having finished third in the mid-May French Grand Prix, Stoner will be looking to extend his podium streak to 20 in Catalunya. That consistency has put him second in the championship to Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Stoner ran second in the most wet Le Mans race until the final lap, when there was no grip left in his rear rain tyre and he had to concede the position.
Pedrosa finished one position behind Stoner in France to maintain third in the championship. The Le Mans race was his first time off the podium in 2012, which he aims to put right in Catalunya. Pedrosa missed the race last year while recovering from injuries suffered in Le Mans. The year before he finished second and in 2008 he won the MotoGP race. He also has wins in the 125cc and 250cc classes.
Both are looking forward to the one-day test the Monday after the race, to continue the development of the RC213V for the remainder of the season.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) celebrated his best MotoGP finish in the wet French Grand Prix. The MotoGP rookie handled the conditions with the poise of a veteran to finish fifth, and first satellite machine rider, while many more experienced riders were victims of the tricky conditions.
Bradl’s learning curve continues in Catalunya with his first visit to the track on a MotoGP prototype. Like most riders, Bradl is a fan of the Catalunya circuit, having won there in his run to the Moto2 World Championship.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) returns to a track where he has had great success for his second home race. The rider from Talavera de la Reina, west of Madrid, won in Catalunya in the 125cc and 250cc classes, and scored a fifth, his best MotoGP result to that point in 2010, his inaugural MotoGP season. (He went on to finish fifth in the Malaysian Grand Prix.)
Bautista never felt comfortable in the conditions in Le Mans and chose to finish 10th, rather than risk crashing and losing valuable points. With more agreeable weather forecast for Catalunya, Bautista is hopeful of continuing his education of the San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V.
With rain affecting much of the track time in the three European races, Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) and his team have been denied valuable dry set-up time on the still developing Honda CBR1000RR-powered FTR bespoke racer. The importance of electronics was highlighted in Le Mans, where the engine management did not help in the changing conditions. Still, from his best qualifying effort of the season he was able to match his best finish, and score points for the second race in a row.
The Moto2 World Championship was thrown wide open in France by the conditions. Previous championship leader Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol – Suter) fell out of fourth place on the 11th of 26 laps. By then Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock – Suter) had established himself in the lead, a lead that would carry him to his first Moto2 win of the season. Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex) was second with Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex) both scoring their best finishes of the season.
Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) took over the championship points lead by a single point over Marquez, who had two wins and a second in the first three races. Espargaro had been running a close second to Luthi in France when a mistake sent him to ninth place. He recovered three spots, the last of which gave him the championship lead by a single point. But the Spaniard acknowledged that being in the lead this early in the season means very little.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia - FTR Honda) sits second in the inaugural Moto3 World Championship despite falling victim to the weather conditions in Le Mans. Prior to that, Vinales had a win and a second, as well as a sixth place finish.
Vinales has a brief history at Catalunya, finishing second in his first visit last season.
Neither Roman Fenati (Team Italia FMI – Suter Honda) nor Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) has been to Catalunya. Rins has used the MotoGP video game to learn new tracks, which paid off in Le Mans. The young Spaniard has the most impressive improvement from qualifying to race of any rider this season. Starting 26th on the grid, he handled the treacherous conditions well to finish third, his first Moto3 podium. Fenati was one of 17 riders to fall victim to the conditions; there were only 15 finishers.
Despite his third place finish, Rins had to see a surgeon following the race. The reason was finger damaged suffered in a Saturday fall at Le Mans. The finger is nearly healed and the young Spaniard does not believe it will be an impediment this weekend.
Montmelo is not only a fixture on the MotoGP calendar, but one of the highlights of the Formula One season. One of the few tracks shared by both elite series, Montmelo offers concession to F1 in the final sequence of corners. The weather makes it a popular Formula One testing location, though those many laps ripple the tarmac in a way that forces suspension technicians to adapt.
Catalunya is one of the faster circuits on the MotoGP calendar, with the 1.047Km straight away leading into a hard braking right. Then comes the first technical section, a mix of fast and slow corners and elevation changes that send the track climbing to the midfield straightaway. From there they lead into the stadium section, a left and then looping series of rights that lead to a plunging downhill right for the run to the stripe.
The stadium section is the preferred spectator location, especially late in the race. The sequence of rights takes a toll on the tyres and leaves riders grasping for traction as the race progresses. Traction is at a premium in the final right that heads down the hill to the last right leading onto the straight. Riders who lead out of the stadium usually win the race, though a determined rider can sneak by in the final corner.
Catalunya joined the MotoGP World Championship calendar in 1992 and its been run continuously ever since. Spaniard Alex Criville scored a popular home country win on a Honda NSR500 in 1995. That set the stage for five Honda wins in a row, the first by Carlos Checa, then two by five-time 500cc World Champion Mick Doohan before Criville won in his championship year, 1999.
Valentino Rossi won twice, in 2001 and 2002, and Dani Pedrosa got his first MotoGP win in Catalunya in 2008. Stoner has two wins in Catalunya, the first in 2007, when he won his first world championship, and again last year, when he won his second world championship and first aboard a Honda.
MotoGP Rider Quotes Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner says:
“Catalunya is one of my favourite races and it was the first major grand prix circuit I tested on. Ever since that moment I fell in love with the track, the big fast sweeping corners; there's a lot of control in the middle of the turn trying to get grip for the exit. We know the Honda works well here and we had a good race here last year, I just hope this weekend will be dry; that would be great. After the race we have a test on Monday. I really hope the weather is good for us as it's an important test going forward for the remainder of the season.”
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says:
“Catalunya is, obviously, one of my favourite races because all my family, friends and fans are there supporting me and it's a very special date on the calendar. I'm really looking forward to getting there after missing the race last year. I want to feel the atmosphere again and I'm very excited and motivated to do well and fight for victory. Catalunya is a hard track because normally it is hot, but it would be good to have good weather for a change! The test on Monday will be also very important for the team. Catalunya is a very good track to test the new tyres because it is one of the circuits where you stay on the edge of the tyre longer and a long time turning right, you need good feeling in the front. It will be important to have a good test to arrive at Silverstone with the best information possible.”
LCR Honda MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl says:
“I know Montmelò circuit very well. I started my career with the Spanish Championship and I raced there many times so far. This is another important track for me. I like the layout with fast sectors and not so many hard breaking areas. The straight is pretty long so for a MotoGP bike is not that small like Le Mans or Estoril. Right now I am looking forward to every race because our beginning of the season is pretty positive and every week end there’s something to learn about the bike following the surface layouts. Last year in Barcelona I gained the pole position and the victory in Moto2 class. We’ll see what we can do riding the RC213V.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista says:
“We did a good job in the dry conditions in France to improve our feeling with the bike and close the gap to the top guys. Unfortunately the feeling wasn't as good in the wet and we really struggled for grip so we know we have improvements to make if we get those conditions again. I also had some problems with my visor so it was just a case of coming home with as many points as we could manage. Now we go to Catalunya and a circuit that I like and feel at home at. We will continue with the work we started in France and try to c lose that gap to the front still further. Obviously we will have to wait and see what the weather does but I am sure we will get normal conditions and be able to rediscover the confidence in the bike that we found at Le Mans. I am determined to get that positive feeling back and put the French race behind us. Montmelo is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar because it is fast and technical, with long sweeping corners where you can get the rear sliding. There are also some big braking zones so we'll need to find a stable setting for the bike and the correct tyres because it is a circuit that works the right hand side very hard.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda rider Michele Pirro says:
“I am still disappointed with the race at Le Mans. The weather ruined it for us because we really struggled in the wet, which was a shame because in the dry we would have been fighting with the top CRT bikes. I was looking forward to seeing how we got on but it wasn't to be. Right now we're just hoping for nice weather in Barcelona and to rediscover the positive feeling we had with the bike at Le Mans. We have some new things to try this weekend so I am really looking forward to getting out on the track. It is a great track and it should suit our bike so I am sure we can have a good race this weekend.”
Moto2 Rider Quotes Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex rider Pol Espargaro says:
"I love it, it´s right near my home and near all my people, friends and family. Let´s see if we can get a little sunshine and some heat so we can enjoy the racing more, both the riders and the fans. Hope the weather smiles on us."
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol - Suter rider Marc Marquez says:
“This week is very special for me, as both I and my brother a Moto3 wild card are riding at Montmeló. It is a home GP and there is obviously plenty of desire to be ready to provide a good result. I crashed at Le Mans after a good weekend and the standings are now a lot tighter, almost making it a restart from zero. Our aim is to be focused over the three days and keep the race in mind right from the opening practice laps. Montmeló is a track that I like a lot, where I got on the podium last year and where I won the 125cc race the previous year. I am ready to work hard from the off, with my team and the fans right behind me.”
Interwetten Paddock – Suter rider Thomas Luthi says:
“Yeah, I like (Catalunya). In Le Mans I had two victories already in the 125 class, but Catalunya is good for me. I hope for good weather all the weekend. That will be a lot of fun. I think we deserve now the good weather for one weekend, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Moto3 Rider Quotes Blusens Avintia - FTR Honda rider Maverick Vinales says:
“Logically, every time that we ride in Spain it is a special occasion, because it is where we feel most at home. Montmeló is even more special for me, because it is the closest track to where I live and is where I have the most friends and family members in attendance. We weren’t so lucky at Le Mans, but despite this I am excited about racing this weekend. I hope to have a good race and wash the bad taste from my mouth from Le Mans. Montmeló is a track that I like and where we have been able to go fast before. I am very motivated, the bike is competitive and I will have plenty of home support, so we have to think positive and hope for a good result.”
Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda rider Alex Rins says:
“I am very happy with the result from Le Mans, but we have to keep on working in the same way in order to maintain our form. I want to thank Doctor Mir and his medical team, because they have helped me to make a speedy recovery. Now I just have to see how I go on the bike. Montmeló is a track that I like a lot, and I ride with the small advantage of knowing it inside out.
It is a special moment to be riding at home for the first time in the World Championship, so I am excited to get on track and enjoy myself. I hope to do as well as possible over the course of the weekend.”