BRITS LOOK TO BARCELONA TO BANISH MUGELLO BLUES
After a miserable time in Mugello the British MotoGP™ stars head to the magnificent Mediterranean City of Barcelona for the Monster Energy Grand Prix of Catalunya on Sunday. The 18 round MotoGP™ World Championship has reached the one third stage going into the race, around the revised 2.891 miles Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya on the northern outskirts of the City.
Isle of Man based Midlander Cal Crutchlow will particularly want to forget Mugello and being knocked off his LCR Honda by Dani Pedrosa while chasing a top ten finish on the very last lap. He slipped to tenth place in the championship and has never finished on the podium in Barcelona.
Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding, riding the Octo Pramac Ducati, was 12th in Italy and is just one place behind Crutchlow in the championship. Both Sam Lowes and Bradley Smith will be seeking points scoring rides after finishing out of the points last Sunday. Both Lowe’s Aprilia and Smith’s KTM teams have tested at Barcelona and will also take part in the vital one day test at the circuit on Monday.
Moto3™ Barcelona winner Danny Kent will find out if he continues to replace Iker Lecuona in the Garage Plus Interwetten Moto2™ team. The Spanish rider is being x rayed early this week to check if he’s recovered from the injuries he sustained in Le Mans. Tarran Mackenzie continues his grand prix education at yet another new circuit while Scotsman John McPhee looks to consolidate on his sixth place in the magnificent Moto3™ race in Mugello. The 22 year old Scotsman is sixth in the Championship, riding the British Talent Team Honda but only five points behind fourth placed Romano Fenati.
DID YOU KNOW
This is the 26th successive year that the Circuit de Catalunya has hosted a grand prix; it was first included in the motorcycle grand prix series in 1992.Only three current venues have a longer ongoing sequence of hosting grand prix events: Jerez, Mugello and Assen.
• The last time that Spain did not have at least one GP winner across the three classes at the Catalan Grand Prix was 2002.
• During the four-stroke MotoGP™ era, Yamaha have taken nine victories at the Catalunya circuit, including for the last two years.
• Honda have had just four wins at the Catalunya circuit during the MotoGP era.
• Ducati have taken two MotoGP wins at the Catalunya circuit, including their very first in the class with Loris Capirossi in 2003. The last podium finish by a Ducati rider at the Catalan GP was the 3rd place finish by Casey Stoner in 2010.
• The last win by Suzuki at the Catalunya Grand Prix was in the 500cc class in 2000, with Kenny Roberts. Last year Maverick Viñales’ fourth place equalled the best result for a Suzuki rider at the Catalunya circuit since the introduction of the MotoGP formula in 2002, which had previously been achieved by John Hopkins in both 2006 and 2007.
• Maverick Viñales set the fastest lap of the race last year on his way to finishing 4th – his first in the MotoGP class.
• Aleix Espargaro started from pole two years ago in Catalunya – which was the first pole for Suzuki since Chris Vermeulen took the top qualifying spot at the Dutch TT in 2007.
• The last Yamaha rider to start from pole in Catalunya was Jorge Lorenzo in 2010, which was also the last time that the rider starting from pole won the MotoGP race at this circuit. In addition to Jorge Lorenzo, the only other rider to have won the MotoGP race at Catalunya from pole position is Valentino Rossi in 2006.
• Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider across all grand prix classes at the Catalunya circuit with ten victories (1 x 125cc, 2 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 6 x MotoGP). The next most successful, with five wins is Jorge Lorenzo (1 x 250cc, 4 x MotoGP). In addition to his wins Lorenzo finished second in the MotoGP race in 2009 and 2011. He was second in the 2006 250 cc race. Tito Rabat won the Moto2™ race in 2014, was second in 2013 and third two years later. Tom Luthi scored his first podium finish when he was third in the 2003 125 cc race. He was second in the 250 and Moto2 races in 2010 and 2012 and third two years ago.
• There have been nine premier-class victories by Spanish riders at the Catalunya circuit; Alex Criville in 1995 & 1999, Carlos Checa in 1996, Dani Pedrosa in 2008, Jorge Lorenzo in 2010, 2012, 2013 & 2015, and Marc Marquez in 2014.
• There has been at least one Spanish rider on the podium in the MotoGP race at the Catalan GP for the last ten years.
• The seven Moto2™ races that have taken place at the Catalunya circuit have been won by six different riders, none who are currently competing in the class: Yuki Takahashi, Stefan Bradl, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro, Tito Rabat, and Johann Zarco. The only rider among these who has more than a single Motro2 victory at this circuit is Johann Zarco who has won for the last two years.
• Honda riders have won the Moto3™ race at the Catalan GP for the last three years. Jorge Navarro’s win last year ended a run of 25 successive Moto3 races without a Spanish winner, since Efren Vazquez won in Malaysia in 2014.
HOMEWARD BOUND CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER
MotoGP™ Championship leader Maverick Vinales returns home for the Monster Energy Grand Prix of Catalunya with a healthy 26 points lead at the one third distance of the 18 round MotoGP™ World Championship. The 22 year old Spaniard, riding the Movistar Yamaha, arrives at the demanding 2.891 mile Circuit of Barcelona – Catalunya with three grands prix wins this year and a second place in the previous round in Mugello.
He has a good record at his home circuit, which has been modified at turns 13- 14 following the tragic accident of Luis Salom during Moto2™practice last year. Vinales is a Moto3™ winner at this circuit and finished sixth and fourth in the last two MotoGP races riding the Suzuki. Andrea Dovizioso moved into second place in the championship after his superb home victory at Mugello on the factory Ducati and a repeat performance at the Barcelona circuit, which both he and Ducati know well, would make the Italian rider and factory a real championship threat.
Valentino Rossi’s last grand prix win came in Barcelona 12 months ago and the 38 year old needs a repeat if he’s going to stay in the championship hunt. He hung onto third place in the championship after a brave ride into fourth place in Mugello and has a superb record at the track. Another World Champion desperately seeking a good result to keep his championship chances alive is current champion Marc Marquez. The Repsol Honda rider is fourth, 37 points behind Vinales, after a disappointing sixth place in Mugello. He is on equal points with team-mate Dani Pedrosa who dropped from second place after crashing on the last lap in Mugello bringing down Cal Crutchlow.
Frenchman Johann Zarco has won the Moto2™ race in Barcelona for the last two years and he returns chasing his second MotoGP podium finish of the season. In his debut season riding the Monster Tech3 Yamaha the double Moto2™ World Champion is seventh in the championship just four points behind Pedrosa and Marquez. Italian Danilo Petrucci took just his second MotoGP podium finish in Mugello and moved into eighth place in the championship just four points behind Lorenzo.
The Moto2™ Championship took a turn in Mugello with the victory of Mattia Pasini and the second place of Tom Luthi. With Franco Morbidelli only finishing fourth, Luthi closed the gap at the top of the title chase to 13 points. Look out also for Morbidelli’s Estrella Galicia Marc VDS team-mate Alex Marquez who returns home fresh from his third place in Mugello and his race win in Jerez.
Spaniard Joan Mir leads the Moto3™ Championship by 34 points with another Spanish teenager Aron Canet in second place. That fight for second is much closer with the Italian trio of Fabio Di Giannantonio, Romano Fenati and Andrea Migno snapping at his heels.
BT SPORT 2
Friday 9 June: 8.00 – 15.00
Saturday 10 June: 8.00 – 15.15
Sunday 11 June: 7.30 – 15.00
Highlights Monday June 12 19.00
talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.