It is a very important round in particular for the Factory Yamaha team as the event at Circuit de Catalunya boasts the same title sponsor, Monster Energy.
After a very difficult Mugello race weekend, Italian legend Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) is keen to return to the front of the rider field.
He currently holds fifth place in the standings and will resume his championship battle in Barcelona, although Repsol Honda’s championship leader Marc Marquez will perhaps enjoy home advantage this weekend.
Spain’s Marquez is now 12 points clear of Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso heading into Barcelona – where the five time MotoGP champion finished runner-up to his Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo a year ago, while Italian rider Dovizioso crashed.
“We arrive in good form after Mugello,” said Marquez.
“The bike and I are in a very good position now, I was able to rest a little between races and I’m back to full strength.”
Rossi holds an impressive 13-year podium streak at Barcelona that lasted from 1997 to 2009, spread out over various classes (MotoGP, 500cc, 250cc and 125cc).
Rossi has secured the victory at the Montmeló track 10 times in total, seven of which while competing in the premier class (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2016). He scored five second places in 2003, 2007, 2008, 2014 and 2015, and in 2000 and last year he also added third places to his tally.
His Spanish team-mate, Maverick Viñales, is also looking forward to the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, especially since it‘s his home GP.
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 respectively), and a second position in Moto2 (2014). He is yet to climb onto the MotoGP rostrum in Barcelona but would like nothing better than to greet his fans from the steps of the podium.
Though the previous rounds demanded considerable effort from the Spaniard, he is feeling 100% fit. He holds eighth place in the championship rankings and is up for the challenge to climb back up the order.
Work to create the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya began in 1989. Two years later the track was opened, and it soon became a crowd favourite after hosting its first MotoGP race in 1992.
With an exciting 4.6km lay-out consisting of 14 corners (six left, eight right), the Catalan round is known as one of the most atmospheric and thrilling races on the calendar.
“After the complicated weekend in Mugello, we head to Barcelona, a track that I really like,” said Rossi.
“Surely it will be another challenging weekend in Spain, because we were not very competitive last time round, and we need to work hard. But we will try to do our best to fix the problems and to achieve the best possible result. On Monday there will also be a test day and we will try to work as well as possible and make the most of the occasion.”
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1 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 115
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 103
3 Alex Rins Suzuki ESP 88
4 Danilo Petrucci Ducati ITA 82
5 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 72
6 Cal Crutchlow Honda GBR 42
7 Jack Miller Honda AUS 42
8 Maverick Viñales Yamaha ESP 40
9 Takaaki Nakagami Honda JPN 40
10 Pol Espargaro KTM ESP 38
11 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha ITA 34
12 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha FRA 31
13 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia ESP 27
14 Jorge Lorenzo Ducati ESP 19
15 Joan Mir Suzuki ESP 12
16 Johann Zarco KTM FRA 10
17 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati ITA 9
18 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 9
19 Miguel Oliveira KTM PRT 8
20 Andrea Iannone Suzuki ITA 7
21 Stefan Bradl Aprilia DEU 6
22 Hafizh Syahrin KTM MYS 2
23 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 2
24 Tito Rabat Honda ESP 2
25 Bradley Smith KTM GBR 0