MotoGP returns to Catalunya for another pulsating encounter Montmelo hosts round seven of the 2010 MotoGP World Championship this weekend as the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya completes a series of three back-to-back races. That said there will...
MotoGP returns to Catalunya for another pulsating encounter
Montmelo hosts round seven of the 2010 MotoGP World Championship this weekend as the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya completes a series of three back-to-back races. That said there will only be a one-weekend break before the call on Sachsenring, and the rapid succession of the calendar in recent weeks has played into the hands of Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo. The Fiat Yamaha rider comes into his home GP off the back of successive wins at Silverstone and Assen and with a 47-point lead, and is now the first rider to have finished on the podium in the first six MotoGP races of the year since team-mate Valentino Rossi in 2005.
The duo put on one of the most thrilling battles of the modern era last season when they fought to the bitter end for victory at the Barcelona circuit, but Rossi will not be present this time around as he continues his recovery from injury. His replacement steps in this weekend however in the shape of Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa.
Dani Pedrosa moved up to second in the standings and will have renewed confidence after taking second place at Assen. The Repsol Honda rider has a formidable record at Catalunya, having become the only rider other than Rossi to have won in all three categories there when he took victory in the premier class in 2008. The Spaniard will have his sights set firmly on challenging for the win.
Andrea Dovizioso is battling with his team-mate to challenge Lorenzo and only four points separate the Repsol Honda pair in second and third. Dovizioso has been on the podium four times this season and finished fifth in Assen, so will be hoping to get back inside the top three especially seeing as he has finished fourth at Catalunya in his two premier class seasons to date.
Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden is fifth in the standings and has drawn level on 61 points with Rossi, and the American has Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) hot on his tail as the contest for fourth place gets closer. Hayden's team-mate Casey Stoner recovered important ground with his first podium of 2010 at Assen and will aim for a second quick-fire top three, and the Australian was on the rostrum at Catalunya last year.
Ben Spies continues to go from strength to strength in his debut MotoGP season and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider is currently the highest placed rookie in eighth position at just two points off Stoner.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) complete the top ten as it stands, with 11th placed Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) expected to return after his absence from the Assen race with a dislocated shoulder. Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing), Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Aspar) and Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) are all in search of more Championship points, whilst Kousuke Akiyoshi will again ride in place of the injured Hiroshi Aoyama for the Interwetten Honda MotoGP Team. Rizla Suzuki duo Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista will want to improve their individual points hauls as well.
The opening practice session for the MotoGP class gets underway at 1.55pm local time on Friday.