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Pre-Race Report: Barcelona-Catalunya Spanish Grand Prix

Title: Vinales, Marquez, Bautista, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and the rest of the Spanish riders aiming for victory in Barcelona

Author: Myanna Wedes

The Spanish riders want to repeat a Spanish domination after the Italians took over at Mugello and won all three classes. Riding on home turf is a bonus for Vinales, Marquez, Pedrosa, Bautista and Lorenzo want to make an impact at a circuit they know very well. It is clear that Maverick Vinales is going to be hard to beat as he makes the most of the increased momentum since leading the World Championship once again. Fellow teammate Valentino Rossi is doing everything he can to say in the hunt whilst recuperating after a training crash a few weeks ago and riding hard at the Italian Grand Prix on the Mugello circuit. Marquez is looking to improve and is not 100% satisfied with his current situation although reminds himself of the positivity obtained during testing and is looking to maximise race pace performance at the Barcelona-Catalunya racetrack.

This year we will see the revised 4,652m layout at Montmelo with modifications made to the last chicane to give riders a safer run-off area. As a result, the track will now feature nine right-hand and seven left-hand bends. The changes have taken place as a result of Luis Salom’s accident last year, which unfortunately resulted in his passing. We continue to remember Salom, Nicky Hayden and the other riders who are no longer with us. Montmelo is guaranteed to showcase a passionate amount of Spanish fans with the MM93 and MV25 logos on display for everyone to see. What we do know is that the track surface can be challenging for some and with the tests completed not long ago, it is clear that the track can be quite abrasive on the tyres and when the heat rises the grip drops and then riders are compromised. Michelin has done everything in its power to ensure that these issues are attended to without interrupting the performance and race pace of the teams. Equal opportunity is the goal.

Marc Marquez:I’m happy to get back in action soon and to do it at Catalunya, as racing at home in front of all your fans always gives you an extra boost!” “As for the changes made to the track, I think they’re interesting and quite challenging to interpret well. The speed and the corners on the rest of the circuit are all similar, while in that sector they’re now quite different. But honestly, the layout is so particular that I like it!”

Jorge Lorenzo: “I think that our sensations at Montmeló could change: we will have to understand how the different bikes adapt to the track modifications, but the reference that we have from the test here a couple of weeks ago is good. I was the fastest Ducati rider and this gives me the confidence to tackle this important race in front of my fans.”

Maverick Vinales: “Montmeló is a very special track for me as it is my home Grand Prix. It’s a really good track for me and for my riding style and I hope also for the bike. We are in a good flow, having gained good momentum, so we are strong and confident and we have many set-ups in case one won’t work and for that reason I arrive to Montmeló really motivated.”

In 2017, the World Championship has become very dynamic and full of non-stop action between many manufacturers: Yamaha, Ducati and Honda to say the least. The changes are constant and the opportunities for the title endless as the riders battle it out from race to race with unexpected results taking place. For example, in Mugello Danilo Petrucci managed to get his second podium, the first in the wet and Andrea Dovizioso won his first race as an Italian on an Italian bike on Italian soil. What a dream come true for Dorna, the fans and also the riders who have to challenge one another physically, emotionally and mentally all the time.

Overall, the riders are looking forward to testing out the new track although the track surface is of concern because of the changes in the asphalt. Valentino Rossi: “We need to understand the lines, the right way to ride the new layout, and the potential of the bike. We just need to be more competitive – the target is to be on the podium and have a good race.” In contrast, Marquez was more confident and assertive with his thoughts. Marc Marquez: “Every race is important but a home race it’s always a special feeling with friends, family and my fan club here, so I’ll try and give 100% but also something more, and try and fight for the victory on Sunday.”

Credit: Myanna Wedes

Credit: Myanna Wedes

Credit: Myanna Wedes

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.