Preview Catalan Grand Prix, Catalunya, Spain

2012-05-29 21:31
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 Montmel� 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 Montmel�. 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. Montmel� 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. Montmel� 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. Montmel� 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. Montmel� 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.�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 Montmel� 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 Montmel�. 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. Montmel� 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. Montmel� 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. Montmel� 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. Montmel� 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.�

Source: Honda Pro Image

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