Following a test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya three weeks ago, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team return to Barcelona for round seven of the MotoGP World Championship.
After securing a third place at the Mugello circuit, being serenaded by the Italian crowds, and simultaneously taking over second place in the championship rankings, Valentino Rossi is ready to commence the championship battle in Barcelona.
The Doctor has a 23-point margin to the leader in the standings and hopes to strengthen his position as a title contender this weekend at a circuit that he knows like the back of his hand. He holds an impressive 13-year podium streak there, that lasted from 1997 to 2009 and was spread out over various classes (MotoGP, 500cc, 250cc and 125cc). He has secured the victory at the Montmeló track ten times in total, seven of which whilst competing in the premier class (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2016).
The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya is also a round Maverick Viñales looks forward to. He previously achieved four consecutive podium finishes there in the lower classes, with a second place in 125cc (2011), a first and third place in the Moto3 championship (2012 and 2013), and a second position in Moto2 (2014). He is yet to climb onto the MotoGP rostrum in Barcelona and has made that his goal for this weekend.
Though the previous rounds demanded considerable effort from the Spaniard, the youngster still holds third place in the championship rankings, just five points behind his teammate.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has featured on the MotoGP calendar for more than 25 years now. It soon became a crowd favourite after hosting its first MotoGP race in 1992. The Catalan round is known as one of the most atmospheric and thrilling races on the calendar. This was further highlighted when the venue won the IRTA ‘Best Grand Prix’ trophy in 2001. However, the recent tragic passing of Andreas Pérez after round four of the Moto3 Junior World Championship, held in Montmeló last weekend, will cast a shadow over the upcoming GP. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team’s and Yamaha’s thoughts remain with the family, friends and team of Perez this weekend.
Championship: 2nd – Points: 72
“I hope I can be stronger at the Catalunya circuit, I think our potential there is better than it was at Mugello. At the test in Montmeló we found something. The new track surface is better for us, the new asphalt helps the Yamaha. We were still suffering in some places, but we have to stay focused, not give up and try to gain points.”
Champtionship: 3rd – Points: 67
“Montmeló is a very special track for me because it’s my home Grand Prix. There is always a beautiful atmosphere there, with so many enthusiastic fans. Despite the result in Mugello we are in a good mood and very motivated. We will try to obtain as many points as we can to continue going upwards in the way we’re approaching this championship. I would love to be on the podium in Montmeló, that would be great for me and for the team. They are working hard to find the best set-up for our bike in every GP, so let’s keep focused and we´ll show the best side of us for our fans.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“After an important and useful test in Catalunya a few weeks ago, we now return to the circuit of Montmeló for round 7. We’ve already been able to try the new asphalt, so we have a basis set-up in place for Friday. The team is looking forward to getting this weekend started, because the track’s lay-out generally suits our bike and also Valentino and Maverick have had their fair share of success there. Valentino has scored two consecutive podium places at the previous two rounds and is determined to keep the momentum going. Maverick is also fired up to get a good result at his home GP and is 100% committed to produce a good show for the Catalan crowds, who always strongly support us.”