MotoGP riders face a newly-resurfaced Catalan track

The Circuit de Catalunya hosts Round 7 of MotoGP this weekend. Following the 1-2 victory at Mugello last Sunday, Ducati riders are now gearing up for another win or podium spots. However, Championship rivals Repsol Honda and Yamaha MotoGP are right along to prevent that from happening.

At Mugello, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso pulled off a truly historic feat, obtaining the first-ever 1-2 win for the Italian manufacturer. The Spanish rider, after an excellent start, remained at the front for the entire duration of the race, scoring his first win on a Ducati in front of the Italian fans, while Dovizioso capitalized on an uncharacteristic setback for points leader Marquez to reduce the gap between them in the overall standings. Last year, it was Dovizioso who triumphed in the Catalan GP, the Italian taking the second of his six wins in 2017, while Lorenzo finished in fourth place after a good recovery. Four wins in the last eight years are an excellent form guide for the Spanish rider at the Catalan circuit.

Repsol Honda riders, too, have rather impressive records at Catalunya. This time around, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa face a newly-resurfaced Catalan track. The new track layout features a new run-off area for turn 13, enlarged by 20m. At the same time, the bank angle of turn 10 and 11 has also been altered. As it is the case with other six rounds of the season, the Catalan GP will be shortened in length compared to previous years. This time the race will change from 25 laps to 24.

Marquez has 2 wins here, one in MotoGP in 2014, while Pedrosa took three wins with a MotoGP 2008 win in the belt. Both riders stood together on the podium on four occasions: in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

In the Yamaha camp, Rossi is all pumped and eager for more, after securing a third place at the Mugello circuit. Currently second in the standings, 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).

Team mate Maverick Viñales looks forward to the weekend’s race. 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 Moto3 (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. Vinales is currently third in the standings, just five points behind his teammate.