Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya - Race preview2007-06-06 06:05
Direct from Florence to Barcelona, the MotoGP circus moves to Catalonia in Spain this week after a breathtaking visit to Mugello. The second race in as many weekends illustrates the blistering pace of the championship, which is up to full speed for the main European leg.
Casey Stoner will begin the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya on June 10th as the leader of the MotoGP World Championship, with three wins to his name so far in 2007. The factory Ducati rider failed to finish the race in Barcelona last season, but there seems to be no stopping the mature 21 year old from putting in consistently fast times and high race positions onboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP7.
Valentino Rossi lies in second behind the Australian, cutting the gap at the top of the classification to just nine points after his sixth consecutive home victory at the Mugello circuit. Worryingly for his rivals, 'The Doctor' has a similar record at Catalunya, having won five of the last six races in Barcelona including the previous three instalments. The run of Mugello-Catalunya-Donington-Assen is a favourable one for Rossi, who will be looking to accumulate the maximum number of points possible before heading to less favoured tracks.
Sure to receive a warm welcome from the Spanish fans, Dani Pedrosa is third in the standings and has demons to avenge this week. The factory Honda rider had a disastrous race last year at the track just a few miles from his birthplace, involved in the multi-rider first corner crash which changed the course of the season and falling again after the restart. The rider perhaps most seriously affected by the aforementioned opening lap incident was Marco Melandri, who sits behind Pedrosa in the title hunt ahead of Suzuki duo Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins.
Loris Capirossi was level on points at the head of the leaderboard when he arrived in Spain last year, but the mass pile-up at Turn 1 put paid to his title attempt and he has struggled to find similar form in 2007. The Italian veteran has been on the podium just once so far this season, although the Ducati-Bridgestone combination and a CV which includes 125cc and 250cc World Championships means that the 34 year old can never be overlooked.
The top ten is completed by Spanish rider Toni Elias, Mugello podium finisher Alex Barros and Yamaha factory rider Colin Edwards.
The Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya takes place on Sunday June 10th, with practice for the race kicking off on the preceding Friday.
Jorge Lorenzo is a man out for revenge at his home track, with points to prove on a number of fronts. The reigning 250cc World Champion and current series leader was beaten at his home track last year by current closest challenger Andrea Dovizioso, and also has a score to settle with countryman Alvaro Bautista. The latter forced Lorenzo into a crash on the final lap in Italy last weekend, and the 'take no prisoners' attitude of the 20 year old is sure to be in full effect in Catalunya.
Expect to see more of the closely-contested action typical of the quarter litre category this season when the riders take to the track, with the likes of Alex de Angelis and Hector Barbera sure to be involved in proceedings. Although Lorenzo leads the championship by 27 points, all of the top five have led races in the class this season and have shown themselves capable of pulling a victory out of the bag.
In 125cc, Hector Faubel holds the advantage courtesy of his second victory of the year. The Aspar rider edged out team-mate Sergio Gadea in a thrilling finale to the Italian round, which took him above previous championship leader Lukas Pesek in the standings. Team-mate Gabor Talmacsi also leapfrogs the Czech, trailing Faubel by just seven points in a class where only the Spaniard has won more than a single race.
Simone Corsi lies in fourth overall, ahead of Gadea and Pol Espargaro. The latter rewrote the history books last year at Catalunya when he became the youngest ever World Championship points scorer, and as reigning Spanish Champion the youngster will be one to watch at his home round as he celebrates his 16th birthday.
In 1989, through the joint collaboration of the Catalan Autonomous Government, the Montmeló Town Council and the Royal Automobile Club of Catalunya (RACC), work began on giving one of Europe´s most beautiful cities a state of the art race track to match. The Circuit de Catalunya opened on the doorstep of Barcelona in September 1991 and welcomed its first international event that same month, hosting the Spanish F1 Grand Prix. It went on to host the European Motorcycle Grand Prix and in 1995 became home to the Gran Premio de Catalunya. Considered to be one of the best designed circuits of the recent era, the Circuit de Catalunya won the much coveted IRTA ´Best Grand Prix´ trophy for 2001 and has a general admission capacity of 130,000 spectators.
Source: Dorna Communications
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