2018 Catalunya MotoGP Preview

Following two weeks since the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello – where Jorge Lorenzo claimed his first win with Ducati Team – the 2018 MotoGP Championship heads back to Spain for the Catalunya GP.

Here is what you need to know ahead of round seven of 19 in the 2018 Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing World Championship.

1. Catalunya joined the GP calendar in 1996, and Carlos Checa took the maiden MotoGP win.

2018 Catalunya MotoGP Preview Honda's Marc Marquez
Honda’s Marc Marquez

2. For 2018, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has undergone complete resurfacing, along with modifications to turn 13 of 14, the second-last right hander before the front straight.

3. Riders already tested the new surface in March, and speeds were actually quicker. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1) topped the time sheets with a 1:38.974; to put this time into perspective, the best lap posted at Catalunya was a 1:43.589 (Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda RC213V).

4. Rossi, who is second in the 2018 point standings, 23 behind leader Marquez, has the most wins across all classes at Catalunya with 10; seven of those were in the premier class. Lorenzo is next with five, and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedorsa has three. As for Marquez, he has two wins at Catalunya – 2014 (MotoGP) and 2010 (former 125cc class).

5. Last season, the rivalry between Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizoso and eventual World Champion Marquez intensified in Catalunya. Dovizioso would claim the win – his first of six in 2017 MotoGP – by over three seconds ahead of the Repsol Honda duo of Marquez and Pedrosa.

2018 Catalunya MotoGP Preview Yamaha's Valentino Rossi
Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi

6. The week after Lorenzo claimed his initial win for Ducati, he had signed with Repsol Honda to ride alongside Marquez for 2019/2010 MotoGP. This won’t slow Lorenzo down on the GP18, though, as he chases another win with the Italian manufacturer. His spirits are high due to winning Mugello, riding before a the home crowd in Spain, and already having five wins at the Catalunya circuit.

7. Heading into round seven, the point standings are as follows:

1. Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 95
2. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 72
3. Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 67
4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 66
5. Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 64
6. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 63
7. Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 60
8. Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 56
9. Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 49
10. Jorge LORENZO Ducati SPA 41
11. Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 33
12. Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 29
13. Tito RABAT Ducati SPA 27
14. Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 23
15. Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 19
16. Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha MAL 17
17. Franco MORBIDELLI Honda ITA 17
18. Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia SPA 13
19. Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 10
20. Bradley SMITH KTM GBR 7
21. Mika KALLIO KTM FIN 6
22. Scott REDDING Aprilia GBR 5
23. Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 1
24. Thomas LUTHI Honda SWI
25. Xavier SIMEON Ducati BEL

8. Free practice gets underway Friday ahead of Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s 24-lap MotoGP. The race begins at 8 a.m. ET. For tv times, visit 2018 MotoGP TV Schedules.

2018 Catalunya MotoGP Preview Ducati Jorge Lorenzo
Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo

2018 Catalunya MotoGP Preview | Pre-Race Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez: “I’m very happy anytime we race at home, in front of our fans, and I hope to give them an exciting race on Sunday, as that special atmosphere always gives you extra energy. We had a good test in Catalunya a few weeks ago, when we also had the chance to check out the layout, in particular the final section, which has been revised.

“I think they also did a really good job with the resurfacing: the tarmac now has very good grip and is very nice to ride on, even if the F1 cars are already starting to affect it by creating bumps at some of the braking points. The curbs are still one of the track’s most challenging aspects; the inside curbs are very high, and it’s a bit difficult to adapt your riding style to that. That said, it’s a nice track and we’ll try to make the best of it and fight for the podium again.”

Valentino Rossi: “I hope I can be stronger at the Catalunya circuit, I think our potential there is better than it was at Mugello. At the test in Montmeló we found something. The new track surface is better for us, the new asphalt helps the Yamaha. We were still suffering in some places, but we have to stay focused, not give up and try to gain points.”

Maverick Vinales: “Montmeló is a very special track for me because it‘s my home Grand Prix. There is always a beautiful atmosphere there, with so many enthusiastic fans. Despite the result in Mugello we are in a good mood and very motivated. We will try to obtain as many points as we can to continue going upwards in the way we‘re approaching this championship.

“I would love to be on the podium in Montmeló, that would be great for me and for the team. They are working hard to find the best set-up for our bike in every GP, so let’s keep focused and we´ll show the best side of us for our fans.”

Andrea Dovizioso: “In the last three races we have been fighting for the win on three totally different tracks so I know that we are working well and that we are quick. We must continue to stay calm because lots of things can happen in every race and you have to have a clear head to bring home the best possible result.

“In the Barcelona test, but also in the one at Mugello, we were slightly slower than our rivals, but in MotoGP it is clear that the time over a single lap is not so important, and so we go to Barcelona very excited and full of confidence.”