Paddock awaits on-track action at the Circuit de Catalunya

2007-06-08 09:35
The MotoGP paddock was experiencing a 'calm before the storm' of sorts at the Circuit de Catalunya today, with a number of riders taking things easy ahead of what will be an electric Grand Prix.

Sylvain Guintoli and Carlos Checa - two riders who suffered crashes in wet conditions at Le Mans last month- had the opportunity to improve their skills on water when they took a trip to Barcelona's Olympic Port.

The duo have previous experience of riding personal watercraft machines, and were able to demonstrate their skills under the Spanish sun. After pulling a number of tricks onboard the four stroke vehicles, Checa and Guintoli returned to the circuit on the outskirts of Spain's second city.

Five more MotoGP riders had business to attend to at the Circuit de Catalunya, that of the customary pre-event press conference. World Championship leader Casey Stoner was accompanied by eight times Catalunya racewinner Valentino Rossi, Pramac d'Antin's Brazilian veteran Alex Barros and home riders Toni Elias and Dani Pedrosa. The quintet spoke - amongst other things- about the accident that shaped the race last season, and how they feel this year will be different.

Five-time MotoGP World Champion Rossi was also the guest of honour at the opening of a new ride at Portaventura, a local theme park. 'The Doctor' cut the ribbon for 'Furios Baco', a structure resembling a Russian mountain which goes from 0-130km/h in just over three seconds. He then took a turn on the stomach-turning ride and chatted to the local press.

Despite some unwanted drama at the start of the race, the 2006 event was voted the Best GP Of The Year by IRTA, an award given for event organisation, and today the coveted prize was presented to the circuit by IRTA President Herve Poncharal and General Secretary Mike Trimby.

Practice for the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya begins tomorrow at 9am local time, as the riders prepare for Sunday's all-important race.


Casey Stoner

""I always did very well here, until the Formula One races started here in 2004. Now it is a bit too bumpy for me. We went to Mugello knowing that we weren't going to be so strong, and in the end I couldn't get onto the podium, but a worse result of fifth isn't bad. We have some different settings to try, so we'll see if we can get back onto the podium."

Source: Dorna Communications

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