All set for action at Barcelona-Catalunya
Thursday’s preliminary press conference at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya saw MotoGP™ quintet Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Pol Espargaro and Andrea Iannone joined by Moto2™ standings leader Tito Rabat to address the media.
With six wins in six thus far in 2014 and a 53-point lead in the standings Repsol Honda’s Marquez is understandably full of confidence for his home race, but still urges precaution when asked about dominating the World Championship.
He commented, “It is special to be riding at my home track not too far from my home town, but it is more special to be arriving here in this form. It is almost like if I don’t win the race it is a disaster, but it’s not like that. I expect Jorge and Valentino to be strong here from the beginning, but if we get our set-up right here we can be competitive too.”
“Some people talk about me winning all the races this year, but it’s almost impossible. My confidence and level is high at the moment but winning each single race is difficult.”
Second in the championship and also going into round seven on a high after another podium result, at his 300th GP on home territory in Mugello, Rossi believes Saturday will be key to the success of his visit to Barcelona. He qualified 10th last time out in Italy.
“In MotoGP the qualifying has become much more important,” said the Italian. “We haven't been on the front row this year, but we have the potential to be there. Unfortunately in Mugello we made a mistake with the front tyre. We were half a second off pole but on the fourth row. When I got to the front in the race Jorge and Marc already had one a second gap, so I couldn't get the slipstream. I lost the chance to fight with them on the Saturday.”
The winner at the Montmelo track for the last two years, Rossi’s Movistar Yamaha MotoGP colleague Lorenzo is also approaching the weekend positively, having enjoyed his battle with Marquez at round six.
The 2010 and 2012 World Champion commented, “In Mugello we made a step forward with the bike, and I felt much better physically. We arrive here in good shape. Barcelona is usually a good track for the Yamaha and my riding style and we finished on the podium here for the last few years.
Premier class rookie Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) grew up close to the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit. He previewed his first home race in MotoGP™ saying, “I'm taking it slowly, learning a lot this year and enjoying it. I am learning a lot when I follow Jorge, Marc and Vale, more than a whole race in seventh. For sure if we continue we can get closer, maybe if we get lucky we can get the podium.”
Second on the grid at Mugello and seventh in the race Pramac Racing’s Iannone stated, “Mugello for me was a very good weekend with my first front row in MotoGP. I am happy for this. The race was very difficult, I wanted to push very hard in the first laps so I used the soft tyre, but the track is not perfect for this. It is important that my performance was good, now I want to keep improving race by race.”
The Catalunya weekend is also the home round for Moto2™ standings leader Tito Rabat, who added, “We need to make a good qualifying and race start, because the speed of all the riders is very similar and they are so hard to pass. There are always so many riders who can win the race, so we always need to push.”
The first free practices at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya take place at 9am, 9.55am and 10.55am respectively for Moto3™, MotoGP™ and Moto2™. All times stated are local time for Barcelona (GMT +2).
Also on Thursday afternoon ahead of the FIFA World Cup Brazil™, which starts today, a group of riders attended the launch of Alpinestars’ MotoGP World Cup Race Boot Design Series on the Barcelona-Catalunya starting grid. The likes of Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow, Dani Pedrosa, Scott Redding, Hector Barbera and Broc Parkes showed off their new boots demonstrated their football skills with a penalty shootout.