Stoner and Hayden preview MotoGP Catalunya

Following their outstanding success in the Italian Grand Prix, the Ducati Marlboro Team is preparing for another challenge this Sunday around the hills of Montmelò, on the industrial outskirts of Barcelona, Spain. Casey Stoner produced a performance that boasted intelligence and determination in equally impressive measure at Mugello, avoiding unnecessary risks in the first part of the race before extracting the full potential of his Desmosedici following the change from wet to slick tyres as he opened out an insurmountable advantage over his rivals.

It was the Australian’s eighteenth victory in MotoGP, equalling Wayne Gardner on the list of all-time 500cc/MotoGP winners and consolidating Ducati’s record as the most successful manufacturer in the 800cc era, with nineteen wins from forty-one races so far.

Nicky Hayden, who so far this season has benefited from stable weather conditions at just one Grand Prix out of the five contested as he continues his adaptation to the Desmosedici, showed signs of improvement in Mugello, only missing out on a top ten finish after suffering a rear brake problem over the final three laps.

On Friday morning both riders will be honoured by the Circuit de Catalunya with the unveiling of their own plaques on "Champions Avenue" – adding their names to those of Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Dani Pedrosa, amongst others – in celebration of their MotoGP titles of 2006 and 2007 respectively.

MotoGP Project Director – Livio Suppo Speaks…

"Mugello was an unforgettable victory but we have to keep giving our best and not rest on our laurels. On Tuesday after the race Vittoriano was back on track for three days of testing at the same circuit with the objective of improving our bike for Casey and for the other riders who are at times struggling to find a comfortable set-up for the GP9. In Barcelona we’ll have a few set-up and electronic updates to try in the day of testing on Monday after the race, so we’ll have chance for our World Championship riders to give us some feedback and direction for more useful development in the future."

Casey Stoner Speaks…

"This championship is extremely difficult and competitive and even a victory like the one at Mugello, wonderful as it was, needs to be put behind us so that we can turn our focus to the next race. Being leader of the championship at this stage means absolutely nothing. My rivals are very clever, mature and capable of winning races so we have to stay focused, do our best to be competing for the top step of the podium again and if that’s not possible then make sure we are bringing home the maximum number of points. Barcelona was one of my favourite circuits until they re-laid it. Even though they put a completely new surface down a few years ago it has never been the same as it was before and the fact they race F1 there hasn’t helped the situation in terms of the bumps and potholes. The layout is nice though – the first part isn’t too difficult but the middle and end parts of the lap are technical and demanding, especially the fast pair of right-handers coming onto the start-finish straight."

Nicky Hayden Speaks…

"Barcelona is a track I like a lot, with some really hard braking areas, like turn one, but also with some really fast and technical sections. We can’t do much in terms of preparing for the Grand Prix and this obviously isn’t an easy period for me but I have to think positive and continue to give it everything. That is my way of dealing things and that is what I’ll continue to do alongside my team. I’m looking forward to getting out there and racing again but I’m also looking forward to the test afterwards. I really need some testing and more time in the saddle. This year I’m really feeling the testing ban that has been brought in and I know it’s the same for everybody but for me in particular I know I’d really benefit from some test time, so hopefully we can get some good work done in Barcelona that will help me take a step forward."

The Track

The Circuit de Catalunya, located around 20 kilometres north of Barcelona, was added to the calendar in 1992, when it hosted the European Grand Prix, before changing to the Grand Prix of Catalunya in 1996. It is a fast and demanding track with a long main straight of 1,047m, which allows the 800cc machines to hit top speeds potentially in excess of 325km/h, and some hard-braking areas such as turn one and the "La Caixa" corner at the end of the shorter back straight, as well as some fast and flowing corners. The combination of long corners and variations in camber calls for a balanced chassis set-up and puts huge demand on front tyre durability and feel. The track was resurfaced in 2005 but many riders still complain about the bumps caused by F1 testing and racing.

Catalunya Key Facts

Circuit Record: Daniel Pedrosa (Honda – 2008), 1’42.358 – 166.251 Km/h
Best Pole: Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’41.186 – 168.177 Km/h
Circuit Length: 4,727 km
MotoGP Race 2009: 25 laps (118.175 km)
MotoGP Timetable 2009: 14:00 Central Europe Time

2008 Race Podium

1. Daniel Pedrosa
2. Valentino Rossi
3. Casey Stoner

2008 Pole Winner

Casey Stoner (Ducati – 2008), 1’41.186 – 168.177 Km/h

Ducati Past Race Results

2008: 3rd (Stoner)
2007: 1st (Stoner)
2005: 11th (Checa)
2004: 10th (Capirossi)
2003: 1st (Capirossi)

Casey Stoner

Age: 23 (Born 16th October 1985 in Southport, Queensland, Australia )
Residency: Switzerland
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP9
GP Appearances: 118 (57xMotoGP, 31×250, 30×125)
GP Victories: 25 (18xMotoGP, 5×250, 2×125)
First GP victory: Valencia, 2003 (125)
First GP: Great Britiain, 2001 (125)
Pole positions: 20 (16xMotoGP, 2×250, 2×125)
First pole position: Italy, 2003 (125)
World Titles: 1 (MotoGP, 2007)

MotoGP track record at Catalunya

2008: Qualified: 1st. Race: 3rd
2007: Qualified: 4th. Race: 1st
2006: Qualified: 8th. Race: DNF

Nicky Hayden

Age: 27 (born 30th July 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA)
Residency: Owensboro, Kentucky, USA
Bike: Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici GP9
GP Appearances: 104 (104xMotoGP)
First GP: Japan, 2003 (MotoGP)
Number of victories: 3 (3xMotoGP)
First GP victory: USGP, 2005 (MotoGP)
Pole positions: 5 (5xMotoGP)
First Pole: USGP, 2005 (MotoGP)
World Titles: 1 (MotoGP, 2006)

MotoGP track record at Catalunya

2008 Qualified: 3rd. Race: 8th
2007: Qualified: 7th. Race: 11th
2006: Qualified: 4th. Race: 3rd
2005: Qualified: 5th. Race: 5th
2004: Qualified: 3rd. Race: DNF
2003: Qualified: 3rd. Race: DNF

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