The Repsol Honda Team trucks roll through the gates of the Montmelo circuit this week as MotoGP's intensive summer schedule reaches the Grand Prix of Catalunya - the third race in as many weekends. Dani Pedrosa arrives at his home circuit in ...
The Repsol Honda Team trucks roll through the gates of the Montmelo circuit this week as MotoGP's intensive summer schedule reaches the Grand Prix of Catalunya - the third race in as many weekends. Dani Pedrosa arrives at his home circuit in excellent spirits following his convincing display in Assen last Saturday where a brilliant race-day effort from the Spaniard and his crew transformed a difficult weekend into a highly-credible second place finish. In truth, nothing but a win this weekend will satisfy the 24-year-old who was born in Sabadell, just 15km from the venue for Sunday's 25-lap race.
Pedrosa lies in second place in the World Championship having scored a win and two second places from the six races so far in 2010. The three-time World Champion is now looking for improved consistency in a season where a good result for him one weekend has typically been followed by less success at the next race. Barcelona would be the perfect place to break that pattern, and Pedrosa's record at the 4.727km (2.937-mile) track certainly bodes well. He has won races in the 125, 250 and MotoGP classes at the Montmelo circuit, and has amassed six podium finishes from his nine Grand Prix starts dating back to 2001. Pedrosa also holds the MotoGP race lap record he set on his way to victory in 2008.
His team-mate Andrea Dovizioso also has good pedigree at Catalunya and comes to Barcelona full of confidence after his strong start to the 2010 season. The 24-year-old Italian is just four points behind Pedrosa in the World Championship, and indeed the Repsol Honda pair have been leap-frogging each other in the title standings since the second race of the year. Dovizioso has twice finished fourth at Catalunya in his two previous outings in the MotoGP class, won the 250 race in 2006 and has four rostrum finishes to his name. Another podium would be no surprise this weekend, but the Italian now has his sights firmly fixed on scoring his second ever MotoGP win and will be truly satisfied with nothing less.
The Grand Prix of Catalunya is one of the flagship events of the MotoGP calendar and a huge partisan race-day crowd is sure to greet Pedrosa, his fellow countrymen and the rest of the World Championship riders. With grandstands lining much of the circuit - and in particular the final high-speed corners that plunge down hill towards the start-finish straight - a highly charged atmosphere is guaranteed for round seven of the MotoGP season. Practice starts on Friday afternoon, with qualifying on Saturday and Sunday's 25-lap race starting at 14.00.
DANI PEDROSA -- World Championship position: 2nd 93 points
"I arrive at Catalunya GP in a very good mood. The last race in Assen was an excellent example of how we will never give up. The practice sessions were very difficult but our team never became downhearted and we were working until the final moments to get a good result. I'm happy with the race because I was able to maintain a high pace from the first lap to the last and I hope we can do that again in Catalunya. So far this season we have alternated between bad and good results at each race, but hopefully we can reach a high level again in Barcelona - everybody in my team is ready to go for it. It's a circuit I always love to ride at because it's very much my home race. My family and friends are there and, together with my fans, I feel more than anywhere else that I'm surrounded by supporters. I really want them to enjoy the weekend. Last year this race was very tough because I was injured and in pain, and I had to race with a pain-killing injection. This time we go to the Catalunya GP in good shape. We know that we will need to work very hard to set up the bike because at this circuit it is always difficult to find a good machine setting, and the one we used in Assen will probably not be right for this circuit. But I hope to get the bike sorted by Saturday, do a good qualifying practice and be prepared to fight at the maximum level in the race. So far when we've been at the front it's been our hard work that has got us there, so we must continue pushing like this in Barcelona this weekend."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- World Championship position: 3rd 89 points
"I'm happy to be going to the Catalunya Grand Prix straight after the last race so that we can quickly turn page on the result in Assen and aim for a good result in Montmelo. This is one of my favourite circuits, it suits my riding style and I think it should be good also for the Honda RC212V machines. It's a long track with fast corners and it's a great feeling when you find the right flow and link one turn with the next. There is also a fantastic atmosphere at this track, and when you enter the final four corners it feels like a stadium and the sensation is incredible. I have always had good results here and I'm feeling really motivated. We have been strong so far this season and generally we have been improving race by race. We've finished on the podium quite a few times, and thanks to the work we put in over the winter we've been closer to front-running pace at most races. Still, we need to take another step forward so that we can compete for victory - that's what we'll try to do this weekend. I'm looking forward to the next challenge in Spain."