Moto2 points leader, Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki), is heaed to his hone grand prix this weekend.
The 27-year-old GP rider from Manresa admits his success in the premier class was limited at his home track, but his confidence has grown with each Moto2 race and he believes he can ascend the top step of the podium for the third time this year.
Having struggled for two races prior to Assen, Elias and the team found their way again with a fighting second place finish and he expects the progress to continue at home.
Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter) has been a revelation this season. The likeable Japanese rider has exceeded expectations in making the successful transition from Honda’s 250cc two-stroke to the 600cc four-stroke.
Tomizawa likes the Barcelona track, where he tested his Suter chassis prior to fitment with the control Honda engine. That gave him a yardstick from which he’ll be able to measure the progress in the first six races of the season.
Tomizawa began the season by becoming the first ever winner in the Moto2 class at Qatar. He followed that with a second in the next race and Qatar, before a DNF in France. His consistency has kept him in the top six the rest of the way and he sits second in the championship to Elias.
Tom Lüthi (Interwitten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki) will be riding in Spain less than a week after an operation to mend a broken collarbone. The Swiss rider dislocated the collarbone in a motocross crash prior to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Despite that, he finished a strong second in the grand prix. It was during Friday morning practice in Assen that Luthi broke the collarbone while trying to avoid a slide. Still, he rode valiantly to a third place finish and within striking distance of second.
Prior to this season, the Montmelo weekend has traditionally followed the race in Mugello, a course with similar characteristics. (This year the series visited Silverstone and Assen in between.)
Each has a long front straight followed by a hard braking right hand first turn-harder braking in Catalunya-followed by technical sections of fast and slow corners, and elevation changes.
The track has eight right-hand corners, many of which are long and fast, and five slower left-handers, which put different demands on the control Bridgestone tires.
One of the most critical corners is the uphill right that leads on the middle straightaway.
What sounds like a misfire is, in fact, the sophisticated electronics regulating spark to the engine as the 250bhp race bikes struggle to find grip for the drive down the chute and into the final sequence.
Montmelo’s dramatic end of lap plays out in front of a series of packed grandstands. The ‘stadium’ section is entered from the middle straight into a sharp left, followed by a less sharp left that flicks right into a hairpin that leads into the final two two right hand turns.
The first sends riders rushing down to the final right onto the 1.047k straightaway, where top speeds reach nearly 322 kph. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) won last year’s race with a dramatic pass of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in the final corner, proving that nothing is decided until the very end.
Because the Catalunya circuit is also used for Formula One, the track surface is rippled in a number of corners, which puts a greater emphasis on suspension tuning to get the true benefit of the Honda RC212V both in acceleration and under braking.
Moto2 Rider Quotes
Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2) says: “We were back to our old selves at Assen and now we have the confidence to go to Barcelona with the same belief in our potential that we had at the start of the season. I have never had a lot of success at Montmelò over the years – just a couple of podiums – so this year I’d like to win it for my fans. My house is close to the track and there will be a lot of people there supporting me, so I don’t want to let them down. At Assen we found our way again after being lost for the previous two rounds so we have to keep working in the same way. As a team we never give up and we have to maintain the same approach if we are to achieve the goals we set ourselves at the start of the year. ”
Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP) says: “I like the Barcelona race track. It is a very technical and interesting layout. We did a test there for the first time with Moto2 before the IRTA test. At that time, it was with a standard engine without much mileage on the bike, so it will be interesting to see how much progress we have made. This time I hope I have trouble free practices and make the best use of the track time available so we may be able to improve a little with our set-up. I will do my best, and I want to make good race.”
Tom Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2 Team) says: “I will defiantly try to race in Barcelona. I am in third place in the world championship standings right now and I will do all I can to not risk this position. I already had one race with no points this season and I won’t risk losing more important points. I will speak to the doctors in Barcelona and hope that I will sit on the bike for the first free practice on Friday.”
Round 7 – Standings
1. Toni Elias 100
2. Shoya Tomizawa 76
3. Thomas Luthi 74
4. Andrea Iannone 67
5. Julian Simon 61
6. Simone Corsi 55
7. Jules Cluzel 55
8. Sergio Gadea 47
9. Gabor Talmacsi 37
10. Alex Debon 37