Catalunya is one of the twelve motorcycle race circuits that have been used every year since the four stroke MotoGP class was introduced in 2002. During this eight-year period there have been some incident filled MotoGP races at the Catalunya circuit:
Valentino Rossi won the first race of the four-stroke MotoGP era at the Catalunya circuit by just 0.88seconds from his factory Honda teammate Tohru Ukawa.
The home crowd had something to cheer with Carlos Checa battling for the lead before coming home third on his factory Yamaha, with his teammate Max Biaggi finishing fourth after giving the Yamaha M1 its first ever pole position.
An historic win for Loris Capirossi, giving Ducati their first ever victory in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing and the first in any class since Mike Hailwood won the 125cc race at the Ulster GP of 1959.
His Championship rivals Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau followed Capirossi home. Both Rossi and Gibernau were riding Honda racebikes.
Local hero Sete Gibernau (Honda) qualified on pole but in the race he finished a close second to Valentino Rossi who gave Yamaha their first premier-class victory at the Catalunya circuit since Luca Cadalora in 1994. Marco Melandri’s third place finish riding a Yamaha was his first ever podium in the top class.
Very much a repeat of the previous year with Sete Gibernau qualifying on pole but losing out in the race by a small margin to Valentino Rossi. As in 2004, Marco Melandri comes home third, but this time riding a Honda as Gibernau’s teammate.
The first attempt at running the race ended with a multi-rider crash at the first corner, which eliminated Ducati teammates Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau together with Marco Melandri (Honda).
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) qualified on pole, but made a bad start to end the first lap down in fifth place. He took the lead for the first time on lap nine, which he extended lap by lap for a comfortable five second win over Nicky Hayden (Honda) with Kenny Roberts third on the KR211V.
Hayden left Catalunya with a 20-point lead in the championship, having been equal on points with Capirossi at the start of the day. This has been the only occasion during theMotoGP era when there has been no Spanish representative on the podium at the Catalan Grand Prix.
Casey Stoner (Ducati) won after a tremendous battle with Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). Dani Pedrosa (Honda) came home third just 0.39 seconds behind the winner, making this the closest podium during the 800ccera of MotoGP.
Following Pedrosa was John Hopkins (Suzuki) and Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) so that the first five riders home were riding motorcycles from five different manufacturers, the first time this had occurred inthe premier-class since the Swedish GP in 1972 at Anderstorp.
2008 – Dani Pedrosa (Honda) got one of his great starts from second place on the grid to lead at the end of the lap and then cruised to a comfortable win, to become the first Spanish rider to win a MotoGP race at the Catalunya circuit.
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) fought through the field from ninth on the grid to finish second in front of main championship challenger Casey Stoner, who had given Ducati their first pole at the Catalan GP.
Valentino Rossi won the race from Jorge Lorenzo after one of the best-ever final laps, which ended with Rossi making a memorable pass at the last corner.
Rider Facts and Figures
Casey Stoner finished third, showing signs of the illness that was to have a major affect on his season. Following this race there was the unique situation of three riders tied on equal points (106) for the lead in the world championship standings.
Jorge Lorenzo will be racing for only the second time in the MotoGP class at Catalunya, having missed the race in 2008 after crashing in the second free practice session and suffering concussion.
Last year he started from pole and battled for the race victory throughout before eventually finishing second. Lorenzo won the 250cc race at the Catalan GP in 2007 from pole position. He is the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 2005 to finish on the podium at the first six MotoGP races of the year.
Dani Pedrosa has a great record at the Catalan GP and in 2008 he became the only rider other than Rossi to have won in all three classes at the Catalunya circuit.
This is his 5th appearance at the circuit on a MotoGP machine; in 2006 he crashed on lap eleven after working his way up to 5th from 11th on the grid, in 2007 he was 3rd, less than half a second behind the winner and in 2008 he took the victory. Last year he arrived at the Catalan GP still suffering from injuries received at in a crash at Mugello and finished sixth.
Andrea Dovizioso finished on the podium in four successive years at the Catalan GP competing in the smaller classes from 2004 to 2007, including a win in the 250cc category in 2006 after qualifying on pole position.
On his first MotoGP ride at the Catalan circuit in 2008 he finished an excellent 4th to be the first non-factory rider across the line. Last year he repeated the result with another 4th place finish.
Nicky Hayden’s single podium at Catalunya was in his world championship-winning year of 2006 when he finished second to Rossi. Last year he finished 10th at the Catalan Grand Prix, which was his best result since he had joined the Ducati factory team.
Catalunya is the only circuit at which Randy de Puniet has had two GP victories, having won the 250cc race in both 2003 and 2004, after qualifying on pole on both occasions. His best result on a MotoGP machine at the circuit was when he was 5th in 2007 riding a Kawasaki.
In 2008 he crashed on lap eleven after qualifying in 4th to equal his best grid position of the year. Last year he had a great start to end the first lap in 4th, but slowly dropped back to finish in 8th.
Casey Stoner crashed out of the Catalan GP in his debut year in the MotoGPclass while leading the race on lap nine. He won the race in 2007 by just 0.069 seconds after a tremendous battle with Valentino Rossi.
In 2008 he finished 3rd after scoring his first pole of the year which was also the first pole for Ducatiat the Catalunya circuit. Last year he finished third while showing signs of the illness that was to ruin his year.
Ben Spies will be racing at the Catalunya circuit for the first time; the fifth circuit so far in 2010 where he has had no previous racing experience. Spies is currently the top Rookie in the championship standings, 10 points ahead of MarcoS imoncelli.
Marco Simoncelli won the 250cc race in 2008 on his way to winning the world title. Last year he crashed on lap three while battling for the lead in the 250ccrace. Although he managed to re-start, he then retired a couple of laps later with a damaged machine.
Colin Edwards’ best result at the Catalan GP is 5th, which he has achieved onthree occasions in 2004, 2006 and 2008.
Marco Melandri has twice finished on the podium at the Catalunya circuit in the premier-class, finishing third on both occasions; in 2004 riding a Yamaha and in 2005 on a Honda. Melandri won the 250cc race at the Catalan GP in 2002 on his way to winning the world title.