Valentino Rossi could move level with former motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan on all-time MotoGP Grand Prix victories if wins the Catalunya Grand Prix on Sunday.
Valentino Rossi could move level with former motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan on all-time Grand Prix victories if wins the Catalunya Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 24-year-old took his 53rd victory at Mugello last weekend. It was also the 151st victory for an Italian rider in the top class of motorcycling, beating the Americans to second place.
Rossi has a good record at the Catalunya circuit. He has won on five of his seven visits, holds the 250cc lap record from 1998 and set the lap record for the MotoGP class last year.
"Barcelona is my favourite circuit. The last two rights coming on to the start finish straight are the best corners and we arrive in a good position in the championship. For sure, the racing is very hard and we make a good show,” said Rossi.
“Mugello was great and we had a good battle with Loris and Max. I think it will be the same racing in Barcelona and we will also see Sete (Gibernau). He is in good shape and he will want to make a good race in front of his home fans.
“The team is working well and the bike is good - we are in good shape and must keep up the hard work. We could see how competitive everyone was in the tests back in March. It was like the 17th GP!"
Spaniard Gibernau is giving Rossi a real fight this season. He has two wins, compared with Rossi’s three victories.
Gibernau finished in seventh place at Mugello and needs to do much better to keep Rossi within his sights in the title race. However, he knows the Catalunya circuit very well and has had three top-five and a podium finish at the circuit.
Yamaha racer Carlos Checa has good memories of the Catalunya track, winning the Grand Prix there in 1996.
"The big deal at Catalunya is consistency and stability," said Checa. "It's one of those tracks where your laps times vary more through the race than they do at most other tracks. It's also one of those circuits where the race pace is never as fast as the qualifying pace, and there can be a one-second difference in lap times from the start of a race to the finish.
“That's my concern this weekend -- if we can improve the way my bike works with the tyres to give me more feeling and grip over the last few laps, we can ride a better race."