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MotoGP Catalunya Preview

After two commanding wins in a row at Silverstone and Assen over the last two weekends, Jorge Lorenzo lands in his home city of Barcelona this weekend with a championship lead of 47 points and a plan to delight his Spanish fans with another win on home soil. He has flown the Fiat Yamaha flag alone for the last three races following Valentino Rossi’s accident in Mugello, but this weekend he will be joined by Yamaha’s experienced Japanese test rider, Wataru Yoshikawa. The two-time Japanese Superbike Champion will be riding Rossi’s M1 while the Italian is out of action, backed by Rossi’s usual crew who make a welcome return to the paddock this week.

Last year the Mallorcan-born Lorenzo lost out to his team-mate Valentino Rossi in a titanic last-lap battle, which Rossi named one of his best ever wins. With the Italian still out of action, Lorenzo is robbed of the chance to exact revenge on his team-mate but a second Spanish win of the season, following his victory in Jerez, would be sweet nonetheless for the 23-year-old and he will be going all out to stand on the podium once again.

As one of the key test riders in Yamaha’s MotoGP development programme, Yoshikawa is well acquainted with the M1-Bridgestone package. He has ridden as a wild card once previously in MotoGP, at the 2002 Motegi round, but this will be his first visit to the Montmel� circuit.

The Circuit de Catalunya features one of the longest main straights in the world, watched over by a vast grandstand, which is always full to bursting from Saturday morning. The rest of the track is characterised by long radius, medium and high-speed sweeping corners, with two tight left-hand hairpins thrown into the mix. This variation combined with regular changes in camber makes the circuit particularly demanding on chassis balance and means that front-end feel is a key concern for every rider.

Jorge Lorenzo: “We should enjoy Montmel�”
“Montmel� is a very special track for me, it is the closest to Mallorca and I can feel the people supporting me. Last year I lost at the final corner but now I will try to come back to the podium to celebrate with all my fans. We have a big gap in the standings and it give us confidence and allows us to be calm, but the team will be working at the same level, I am sure. We still have twelve more races, double what we’ve already had! We should enjoy Montmel� and then, after these three consecutives races, we have earned a little break – a week for a rest!”
Wataru Yoshikawa: “Helpful for our development”
“I’m excited about riding the M1 in Spain this week, even if I’m very sorry for Valentino’s injury. I have only ridden in a MotoGP race once, at Motegi in 2002, and this is the first time I have ridden at the Montmel� track. We can see from the team’s results this season that Yamaha did a good job with the winter development of the M1 and I am sure that these few races I will contest now will be extremely helpful for the future development of our bike.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager Jorge Lorenzo: “Keeping focused”
“After six races we are leading the standings with a big gap so we can be very happy with the job we have done. Jorge has done very well to keep so focused through such a busy period of races and we just have one more before we can all enjoy a short rest. Barcelona is Jorge’s home race and last year he lost there very closely to Valentino in an exciting finish. This week we will carry on in the same way, trying to keep focused and aiming for the podium once again.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager Valentino Rossi: “Good to come back”
“This weekend our team will come back to the paddock after a strange time watching from home! We go to Barcelona where we have some amazing memories from last year. Of course we will miss Valentino but he is recovering well and now we will give our maximum support to Wataru as he joins our team. It will be nice to see the fourth M1 back on the track, Wataru is an experienced rider even though he doesn’t know Barcelona and we will see what happens.”

Valentino Rossi : Information
Age: 31
Lives: Tavullia, Italy
Bike: Yamaha
GP victories: 104 (78 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Czech Republic, 1996 (125cc)
First GP: Malaysia, 1996 (125cc)
GP starts: 230 (169 x MotoGP/500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 59 (49 x MotoGP/500cc, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
World Championships: 9 Grand Prix (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 6 x MotoGP)

Jorge Lorenzo: Information
Age: 23
Lives: Barcelona, Spain
Bike: Yamaha
GP victories: 30 (9 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Brazil, 2003 (125cc)
First GP: Jerez, Spain, 2002 (125cc)
GP starts: 134 (39 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 37 (11 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)
World Championships: 2 (250cc, 2006/7)

Montmelo’: Record Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2008, 1’42.358

Montmelo’: Best Lap
C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’41.186

Grand Prix Results: Montmelo’ 2009
1. V.Rossi (Yamaha) 43’11.897
2. J. Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.095

3. C.Stoner (Ducati) +8.884

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