2013 Catalunya MotoGP Pre-Race Press Conference
Spain’s top MotoGP riders were joined Thursday by the Italian Valentino Rossi and the Brit Cal Crutchlow for the pre-race press conference ahead of the Catalunya Grand Prix.
Leading the conference was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, the current points leader as the series begins round six of 18 at Catalunya. Joining the RC213V rider were his fellow countryman – teammate Marc Marquez, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Power Electronic Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, the top CRT rider so far in 2013 MotoGP.
Pedrosa begin the season off with a fourth-place finish at Qatar, but has finished second or better at all other rounds, including two wins. Two weeks ago at Mugello, Pedrosa finished second behind the reigning MotoGP Champion Lorenzo, but will be looking for another win this weekend.
Catalunya will not only be special to Pedrosa due to being a home race. He will also celebrate his 200th GP start this weekend.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “Two hundred is quite a lot of GPs – it seems like I only started yesterday. When I race here I feel so comfortable with my family and friends and I’ll push very much to win. It’s still early in the championship, but it’s good to be leading.”
At Mugello, Lorenzo took a dominate victory, helping the two-time MotoGP Champ to redeem his seventh-place finish at Le Mans. He is confident, but knows Catalunya will be another tough round.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “This track is good for Yamaha and my riding. For me [Mugello] was a very important race, as we wanted to throw out the bad feelings from the race before. Hopefully we can conserve this feeling and finish on the podium here.”
As for Rossi, the nine-time World Champion will be looking to regain some points following a first-lap crash at Mugello that ended his race there. Rossi has much success at Catalunya, finishing on the podium 10 times in the premier class, including six wins.
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m very well. Monday [after the crash] it was hard to wake up…just a pain in the backside [ed]. In the body and the head. For me, this weekend is maybe one of the best. The track and the layout is fantastic. Mugello, apart from the race, was fantastic. Usually the M1 in Montmelo is good, but we need to take another step and go faster, especially on Saturday.”
In 2009, one of the most famous battles occurred between Rossi and Lorenzo, though Rossi got the best of Lorenzo at the final corner. When asked if there would be another battle, Rossi jokes “If Jorge waits for me maybe…”
Up until Mugello, Marquez had finished on the podium at every round, including a win at Circuit of the Americas in Texas. But the rookie crashed multiple times at Mugello, including one while battling for second with teammate Pedrosa. This wreck occurred on the third-to-last lap at Mugello, causing Marquez to suffer his first DNF of his MotoGP career. Due to the crashes, he was also sore after the weekend.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: “I’m nearly 100 percent. I feel so good and I’m ready for the GP. Barcelona is one of the most difficult circuits so it will be really interesting. Coming here…Jerez is so special…but here is my home circuit, and it will be nice to be in front of the fans.”
Crutchlow arrives in Catalunya following two consecutive poles, and is once again aiming for a podium finish aboard the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha satellite YZR-M1.
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “To make it three in a row would be great, but there are so many guys here that want to win. It will be a difficult Grand Prix. Yamaha have a great package for here and we’ll start with the base setting from Mugello and see from there.”
Espargaro has made Spain proud, taking the top CRT spot in the first five races. At Catalunya, he’ll be looking to repeat his CRT performance, and also battle with some prototypes.
Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar CRT) says: “It has been a good beginning to the season, and I feel very good on the bike. We still need more power, but are heading in the right direction. For me my target is to battle with the Ducatis.”
Earlier in the day, riders of all classes were treated to a rather special event in the heart of nearby Barcelona, as a team of select MotoGP riders played a shortened game of full-pitch football against a mixed Moto2™ and Moto3 team at the infamous Nou Camp, the home of FC Barcelona football club. Amid glorious June conditions, the match consisted of two 25-minute halves and perhaps served as ideal training ahead of this weekend’s race, MotoGP reports.
Only two minutes in, Moto2’s Pol Espargaro scored in delightful fashion, only for Andrea Dovizioso to equalise for MotoGP just minutes later. The top class would soon take the lead thanks to Randy de Puniet, only for Sandro Cortese – captain for Moto2/Moto3 – to up the score to 2-2. Cheekily electing to convert his role of coach into that of player, Cal Crutchlow dramatically stormed the pitch to score the third goal for MotoGP before Stefan Bradl made it 4-2. A late first half comeback for the Moto2/Moto3 squad saw Xavier Simeon up the score to 4-3 before impressing in goal throughout the second half, MotoGP reports.
The MotoGP riders will be on the Catalunya circuit Friday for the first two free practices.