Catalunyan GP: Ducati preview

DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM MAKE MEDITERRANEAN CROSSING TO CATALUNYA FOR ROUND SIX Following their outstanding success in the Italian Grand Prix, the Ducati Marlboro Team is preparing for another challenge this Sunday around the hills of ...

DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM MAKE MEDITERRANEAN CROSSING TO CATALUNYA FOR ROUND SIX

Following their outstanding success in the Italian Grand Prix, the Ducati Marlboro Team is preparing for another challenge this Sunday around the hills of Montmel0x00f2, on the industrial outskirts of Barcelona, Spain. Casey Stoner produced a performance that boasted intelligence and determination in equally impressive measure at Mugello, avoiding unnecessary risks in the first part of the race before extracting the full potential of his Desmosedici following the change from wet to slick tyres as he opened out an insurmountable advantage over his rivals.

It was the Australian's eighteenth victory in MotoGP, equalling Wayne Gardner on the list of all-time 500cc/MotoGP winners and consolidating Ducati's record as the most successful manufacturer in the 800cc era, with nineteen wins from forty-one races so far.

Nicky Hayden, who so far this season has benefited from stable weather conditions at just one Grand Prix out of the five contested as he continues his adaptation to the Desmosedici, showed signs of improvement in Mugello, only missing out on a top ten finish after suffering a rear brake problem over the final three laps.

On Friday morning both riders will be honoured by the Circuit de Catalunya with the unveiling of their own plaques on "Champions Avenue" -- adding their names to those of Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Dani Pedrosa, amongst others - in celebration of their MotoGP titles of 2006 and 2007 respectively.

LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP Project Director

"Mugello was an unforgettable victory but we have to keep giving our best and not rest on our laurels. On Tuesday after the race Vittoriano was back on track for three days of testing at the same circuit with the objective of improving our bike for Casey and for the other riders who are at times struggling to find a comfortable set-up for the GP9. In Barcelona we'll have a few set-up and electronic updates to try in the day of testing on Monday after the race, so we'll have chance for our World Championship riders to give us some feedback and direction for more useful development in the future."

CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team (1st in the championship on 90 points)

"This championship is extremely difficult and competitive and even a victory like the one at Mugello, wonderful as it was, needs to be put behind us so that we can turn our focus to the next race. Being leader of the championship at this stage means absolutely nothing. My rivals are very clever, mature and capable of winning races so we have to stay focused, do our best to be competing for the top step of the podium again and if that's not possible then make sure we are bringing home the maximum number of points. Barcelona was one of my favourite circuits until they re-laid it. Even though they put a completely new surface down a few years ago it has never been the same as it was before and the fact they race F1 there hasn't helped the situation in terms of the bumps and potholes. The layout is nice though -- the first part isn't too difficult but the middle and end parts of the lap are technical and demanding, especially the fast pair of right-handers coming onto the start-finish straight."

NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team (15th in the championship on 13 points)

"Barcelona is a track I like a lot, with some really hard braking areas, like turn one, but also with some really fast and technical sections. We can't do much in terms of preparing for the Grand Prix and this obviously isn't an easy period for me but I have to think positive and continue to give it everything. That is my way of dealing things and that is what I'll continue to do alongside my team. I'm looking forward to getting out there and racing again but I'm also looking forward to the test afterwards. I really need some testing and more time in the saddle. This year I'm really feeling the testing ban that has been brought in and I know it's the same for everybody but for me in particular I know I'd really benefit from some test time, so hopefully we can get some good work done in Barcelona that will help me take a step forward."

THE TRACK

The Circuit de Catalunya, located around 20 kilometres north of Barcelona, was added to the calendar in 1992, when it hosted the European Grand Prix, before changing to the Grand Prix of Catalunya in 1996. It is a fast and demanding track with a long main straight of 1,047m, which allows the 800cc machines to hit top speeds potentially in excess of 325km/h, and some hard-braking areas such as turn one and the "La Caixa" corner at the end of the shorter back straight, as well as some fast and flowing corners. The combination of long corners and variations in camber calls for a balanced chassis set-up and puts huge demand on front tyre durability and feel. The track was resurfaced in 2005 but many riders still complain about the bumps caused by F1 testing and racing.

-credit: ducati

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Nicky Hayden , Lewis Hamilton , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa