2015 Catalunya MotoGP Press Conference
Following a two-week break since the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello – which was dominated by Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo – the 2015 MotoGP Championship continues this weekend with the Catalunya Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.
Round seven officially got underway Thursday with the pre-race press conference. Present in Barcelona were the current points leader, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi; the man who trails him by six points, teammate Lorenzo; the reigning MotoGP Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez; Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone; Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro and Team ECSTAR Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales.
Nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi holds the record for most wins at Catalunya with nine, the Italian’s last arriving in 2009. Last year, he was beat to the line by eventual MotoGP Champion Marquez by a mere 0.5 of a second.
Marquez isn’t the main issue for Rossi at this year’s Catalunya GP; rather, its the man who won the last three rounds, two-time MotoGP Champion Lorenzo: “We are very worried, I mean in the last races I did some good results and I always arrived on the podium but Lorenzo was very fast especially from Jerez. He has recovered a lot of points.
“The level (heading into Barcelonga) is very high, especially because there are three manufactures at the top level and six riders in great shape. This is strange for one season, usually there are less riders fighting for victory. It’s great for the show, the fans and but it’s sometimes more difficult for us!”
As for Lorenzo, the Spaniard has won three times at Catalunya, and hoping to carry his momentum into round seven and possibly take the points lead off Rossi.
“Obviously we are arriving from a great period, we’re in a good shape and working very well. The past is the past and doesn’t carry forward, you have to work hard each weekend. We have to concentrate at every round and every practice,” Lorenzo says.
Ducati GP15 pilot Iannone will also be looking to carry his momentum into Catalunya. He earned his first MotoGP pole position at Mugello before a home crowd, and followed that up with his best-ever MotoGP finish – second.
Iannone is no stranger to victory at the Barcelona circuit; he won there in the former 125cc class in 2009, and in Moto2 in 2012.
“In the past I have good memories here. But now I ride in the top class with the best riders in the world and the class is really strong. It’s not so easy to win in this class! I try my best with my team to keep improving the situation,” Iannone says.
As for the Spaniard Marquez, he is 49 points behind Rossi, and is seeking much change compared to his season so far – especially his two DNFs due to crashes in Argentina and Italy: “This year we arrive here with a different situation to last year. I’m still motivated, I feel confident.”
Marquez also reported that he will try a new exhaust on his RC213V this weekend – a bike Honda just emulated with the street-going RC213V-S. Speaking of lessening the gap between him and the leaders, Marquez says “Of course it’s possible. 49 points is a lot, but not impossible.”
Next to talk was Espargaro, who won the Moto2 race at Catalunya in 2013: “I was born just five minutes from the track so when I was in school I could always hear the noise of the track. It’s pretty good to come here and race at home.”
Another Spaniard to speak was Vinales, who earned his best MotoGP finish of seventh at Mugello. He is expected further progress aboard the GSX-RR before his home crowd this weekend: “Of course it’s a really nice result, we thought we would have one or two points but now we are usually in the top ten and we keep getting closer and closer so it has been really good.”
MotoGP reports that The biggest laugh of the press conference came when a journalist asked Lorenzo if he had any advice for his title rival Marquez, to which he replied simply: “I advise Marc nothing! If I knew him how to fix the issues I wouldn’t tell him, but every situation is different. I hope he has a lot of problems!”
The riders will be on the Catalunya circuit Friday for the first of two free practice sessions.