MotoGP riders from the United States of America: Nicky Hayden (Owensboro, Ky., Ducati Team), Ben Spies (Longview, Texas, Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Colin Edwards (Houston, Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will compete in the Grand Prix of Catalunya.
Hayden is tied for fourth in the MotoGP World Championship standings, with Spies eighth and Edwards 10th. Kenny Noyes (Borrego Springs, Calif., Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas) will compete in the Moto2 race. Noyes is tied for 21st in the Moto2 World Championship standings.
Nicky Hayden (after practice July 2) says: “It wasn’t a great first session for us. We struggled a lot for rear grip. On the edge of the tire, I had no traction and I was losing a lot of time. It’s not a great start for us, but at least I feel like I’m not on the limit yet. There is a lot of room for improvement.”
Ben Spies (after practice July 2) says: “The track is fun, but the longer turns are pretty hard to learn. The last three turns are definitely a little bit different, but I felt I was slowly getting to grips with it, and I’m really surprised I ended so high up in fifth. I went out on one bike and just worked on learning the track, and when I switched to the other bike, I found the turning was a lot better.”
“Then I put the hard front tire on and it was a hundred times better for me, and it ended up being a really good session. We changed the geometry in the front end and got the bike turning even better. I didn’t have to hold the front brake to help the bike turn. It is obvious rear grip is vital here in the hot conditions, and the key is going to be who can set the bike up for the end of the race when there’s not much grip. I’m looking decent on speed right now but we’ve got to manage it and make sure I’m fast for the end of the race.”
Colin Edwards (after practice July 2) says: “I think I went about a tenth faster than my best time in last year’s Friday session. It’s the same rider, the same tires, pretty much the same bike with a slightly different engine, so I can honestly say I’m trying my hardest and not getting any slower. I feel good, and I’m definitely making some strides with the bike.”
“We put some more weight on the front and got it turning a lot better. I feel a lot more comfortable and the bike is not running wide now when I get into the corner. It has been a nightmare with the turning this year, but finally we’ve made big progress in that area. It is really hot out there and there wasn’t a lot of grip, and we’ll need to make some changes overnight to the rear suspension because tire management in those conditions is going to be crucial.”
THEY SAID IT: “This is a bit premature.” – Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo, about his role as heavy favorite to win the MotoGP World Championship with a 47-point lead
Valentino Rossi won this event last season by .095 of a second over Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo in one of the most stirring final-lap battles in recent memory. Rossi will miss this race as he still is recovering from a broken leg suffered in the Grand Prix of Italy in early June
Yamaha test rider Wataru Yoshikawa begins as a replacement rider for Valentino Rossi starting at this event. Yoshikawa, from Japan, is the oldest rider on the MotoGP grid at 41
At least one Spanish rider has finished on the podium in this event in seven of the eight years since the MotoGP (990cc, 800cc) era began in 2002. The only exception was 2006
Only two riders have won in three different classes at this event, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa. Rossi and Pedrosa won in 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP
Points leader Jorge Lorenzo has finished on the podium in the first six races of the season, the first rider to achieve that feat since Valentino Rossi in 2005
American Ben Spies will race at the Catalunya Circuit for the first time . Spies never has competed at five of the seven tracks on the schedule so far this season
Marc Marquez has won three consecutive 125cc races, becoming the second-youngest driver to win three in a row. Marquez was 17 years, 129 days old when he won June 26 at TT Assen. Current MotoGP rider Marco Melandri was 17 years, 29 days old when he won three in a row in 1999. The last rider to win four consecutive 125cc races was Youichi Ui in 2001.
MotoGP PREVIEW: GRAND PRIX OF CATALUNYA
EVENT: Grand Prix of Catalunya
WHERE: Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Circuit is 2.937 miles (4.727 km), with 13 turns. Race is 25 laps.
WHEN: Sunday, July 4. It is the seventh of 18 events this season.
2009 RACE WINNER: Valentino Rossi, by .095 of a second over Jorge Lorenzo
2009 POLE WINNER: Jorge Lorenzo, 1 minute, 41.974 seconds
U.S. TV: 8-9 a.m. (ET), Sunday, July 4, SPEED (live). Moto2: 5-6 p.m. (ET), Sunday, July 4, SPEED. 125cc: Noon-1 p.m. (ET), Tuesday, July 6, SPEED.