Catalunyan GP: Ducati preview

DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM TO CONTINUE CHALLENGE AT BARCELONA After seeing Casey Stoner take a valuable podium in the Grand Prix of Italy, where Marco Melandri also made progress in the race before being forced off track by a crash for Randy De...

DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM TO CONTINUE CHALLENGE AT BARCELONA

After seeing Casey Stoner take a valuable podium in the Grand Prix of Italy, where Marco Melandri also made progress in the race before being forced off track by a crash for Randy De Puniet, the Ducati Marlboro Team now heads to Barcelona to continue its challenge for honours in the Grand Prix of Catalunya.

The Circuit de Catalunya witnessed the Italian factory's first ever MotoGP back in 2003 and last year played host to a breathtaking battle between Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa that the Australian won by a hair's breadth. Stoner also took second place at this track in the 250cc race in 2005, whilst Melandri's success here started with a podium in the 125cc race in 1999, followed by victory in the 250cc class in 2002 and third place finishes in MotoGP in 2004 and 2005.

LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP MotoGP Project Director

"We head to Barcelona in the knowledge that we have to keep working and applying ourselves to the maximum in order to give our riders a competitive package. At the same time we're happy to have seen Casey riding so well at Mugello, one of the few tracks where he didn't manage a podium in 2007, and Marco looking much more comfortable with his race set-up. The set-up work Casey did at Le Mans helped him find that little bit of confidence and speed that he's been missing, so much so that he managed to set the circuit record at Mugello. We'll try our best to give him the chance to fight for the podium again at Catalunya. Marco had some difficult moments during last weekend but he got a good start and over the first five laps, before he was run off track, he felt more comfortable on the bike than he had done during the three previous practice sessions. This is an encouraging sign and something to work from on Friday morning."

CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team

"Barcelona is definitely one of my favourite tracks although unfortunately they have Formula 1 there too and over time this has created a few bumps that take away some of the pleasure of riding there. Last year was a really close race with Valentino and Dani, the result was fantastic for us but there wasn't much difference between finishing first or third in a race like that because we all deserved it. Last year everything was in place with regards to the set-up, whilst this time we still have a few things to work on, so our expectations aren't quite the same. The team is working really hard, though, and we have taken some steps forward. At Mugello we were competitive so I think we can be reasonably confident."

MARCO MELANDRI, Ducati Marlboro Team

"I like Barcelona a lot and I've had some good results there - a victory in 250cc and my first podium in MotoGP. This year we seem to have had mixed weather every weekend but hopefully Spain can provided us with stable conditions throughout practice and the race so that we can work more normally. In warm-up at Mugello I felt much better with the bike but in the race we didn't get chance to verify if that was really the case. In any case we'll start out with the same setting at Barcelona and we'll see. I really hope we can get a result."

THE TRACK

The Circuit de Catalunya, located around 20 kilometres north of Barcelona, was added to the calendar as 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 320km/h, flowed my a sequence of fast and flowing corners. The combination of long corners, many of them off-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.com

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Marco Melandri , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa