Repsol Honda PR:
After the fervour of the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello two weekends ago, the Repsol Honda Team heads to Barcelona for another of MotoGP’s iconic events – the Grand Prix of Catalunya. Spain’s unrivalled passion for motorcycle racing will be in evidence once again with an enormous crowd expected at the Montmelo circuit to witness the latest installment of this fascinating 2009 MotoGP campaign.
One rider that will be receiving the lion’s share of local support will be Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who today confirmed that, in spite of injuries he picked up at the last race in Italy, he will be riding this weekend. Pedrosa has spent the week resting at home, and at hospital today received a successful trial painkilling injection which will be repeated over the weekend to allow him to ride the bike more comfortably. The 23-year-old has an enviable record of three wins and six podium finishes from his eight races in all classes of Grand Prix racing at Montmelo. He has won in all three classes (125, 250 and MotoGP) at his home circuit and last year delighted his supporters with a dominant victory and a new lap record.
Andrea Dovizioso is also a big fan of the Barcelona circuit. The Italian is determined to move his season to the next level after coming tantalizing close to podium finishes at the last two races. The 23-year-old led for seven laps of the wet-dry race in Italy and his target will be nothing less than a top three finish this weekend. Dovizioso also has winning form in Catalunya, with a 250cc in 2006 to his name.
The Montmelo circuit itself presents a real challenge to all involved: riders, teams and tyre suppliers. The combination of long, fast corners and high Mediterranean temperatures have prompted Bridgestone to offer its extra hard rear slick for the first time this season. Also making its debut will be Bridgestone’s asymmetric rear slicks which feature a harder compound on the right side of the tyre and a softer compound on the left.
The MotoGP World Championship has already featured a race in Spain this season – round three at Jerez – and that was the only of the five Grand Prix weekends so far that hasn’t been severely affected by rain. If the weather forecasts are to be believed, this should be another welcome fine weekend. Action begins on Friday afternoon with first practice at 13.55. Sunday’s 25-lap race starts at 14.00.
DANI PEDROSA – World Championship Position: 4th – 57 points
“I’m really looking forward to my home Grand Prix even though the build-up has hardly been perfect. For the past week I’ve just been resting and that’s pretty boring. But today I went to see the doctor and the results of the new scan have been quite positive. They decided to give me a trial pain-killing injection so that I can judge how it will feel ahead of the weekend. And today’s scan really helped them pinpoint the best location for the injection so it can have the maximum effect, which was something they weren’t able to do in Mugello. The feeling was good, so it looks like I’ll have an injection before riding each day. Obviously it’s still not going to be comfortable riding the bike but I’m feeling positive that we can go into the weekend and aim for the best possible result. In spite of the problems, my motivation for my home race is still the same. I’ve been waiting for this race for a long time and I want to get the best possible result for all the fans who will be there to support me. I hope I can give them a good weekend.”
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World Championship Position: 5th – 56 points
“Montmelo is one of my favourite circuits of the year. I love this track because of the long, fast corners and it’s a great feeling when you find the right flow from one turn to 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. So I always look forward to this race and my previous results here have been good, including last year when I had a great race and finished fourth. After leading the last race at Mugello and finishing so close to the winner I’m feeling really motivated and I think the team can have a good result this weekend. It’s true that the conditions were unusual – first wet and then dry – but my feeling with the bike has improved so I think we will be stronger at Barcelona.”