Circuit de Catalunya
Ducati Marlboro Team At Catalunya, A Favorite GP For Rossi And Hayden
Situated in Montmelò, an industrial suburb north of Barcelona, Circuito de Catalunya opened in 1992, and was added to the Grand Prix calendar the same year. The track is challenging and fast, with a 1,047 meter (1,145 yard) main straightaway on which the bikes reach 330 kilometers per hour (205 mph). It includes very hard braking points, such as the approaches to the first turn and to “Caixa” at the end of the back straight, where the rear tyre often leaves the ground. It also features a series of long, constant-radius corners where the riders stay leaned over for a long time.
Both Ducati Marlboro Team riders enjoy the Catalan Grand Prix, citing both the track’s layout and the large crowds that always heat up the Spanish races. Valentino Rossi, who didn’t take part in the 2010 round due to an injury, has scored wins at the track in every class, collecting an impressive nine victories and a further four podiums. Nicky Hayden also made the podium in 2006, on his way to the MotoGP title.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Marlboro Team
“The Catalan Grand Prix is one of the nicest of the season, for a number of reasons: Barcelona is a beautiful city, the track is really nice—probably my second-favorite after Mugello—and finally, as is always the case at Spanish races, the grandstands are filled with enthusiastic fans. I’m really happy to return to the track, since I had to watch the race from my house last year. I’ve always been quite strong at the track, so I have many nice memories, the most recent of which is the 2009 win after a great battle with Lorenzo. We’re very motivated and we’re working really hard on the bike; step-by-step, we can see that we’re making progress. We know there’s still a lot of work to be done, but we need to keep trying to get closer to the front.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team
“Any race in Spain is huge, and Catalunya is no exception. It’s a good track. I made the podium there in 2006, although I haven’t gotten the results I’d like there in recent years, especially last season. I’m looking forward to it. The two weeks off have been okay, but I enjoy this part of the season, with back-to-back races. The next month and a half is going to be busy, because this is when the season really gets going. Even though our end result wasn’t a lot better in Le Mans, I definitely think we were closer to the front. Ducati hasn’t stopped working over the last couple of weeks, and we’ll see at Barcelona if we can keep going on the right path.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“With the Barcelona Grand Prix, we’re beginning a very intense period of racing that should better outline the championship situation before the summer break. The whole team did a good job at Le Mans; Vale got a podium, and although Nicky’s race didn’t go great, he had three positive days. The updates that we’ve made to the GP11 have enabled us to take a first step forward, but our goal is obviously to continue improving, because we still have a gap to recover since the bar has been raised quite a bit compared to last year. Valentino is really beginning to feel better physically, and because of that, the feedback that he’s able to give us regarding the development is increasingly precise. We’re working under incredibly short deadlines, both in the factory and on the track, but we’re doing our best to provide our riders with a bike that’s increasingly competitive.”