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Catalan motorcycle racers look to do the treble at Catalunya Grand Prix

This weekend, Grand Prix motorcycle racing returns to the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmeló (Greater Barcelona) for the fifth race of the world championship in all three categories. Catalan racers are the favourites at MotoGP, GP2 and GP3 levels based on current form. From the very beginning, Catalonia opted for the motor racing industry. The Catalan circuit has a contract for the motorcycle Grand Prix until 2016 and it has been known recently that the Barcelona City Council and the Provincial Council of Barcelona are going to invest money in order to preserve as much as possible the activities

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31 May 2012 11:08 PM

by

Clàudia Serra Domènech

Barcelona (CNA).- This weekend, Grand Prix motorcycle racing returns to Catalonia at the Circuit de Catalunya, located in Montmeló (Greater Barcelona) for the fifth race of the world championship in all three categories. Catalan racers are the favourites at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya MotoGP, GP2 and GP3 based on current form. Duels between Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, Catalan Dani Pedrosa and Australian Casey Stoner at the MotoGP level, between Catalans Pol Espargaró and Marc Márquez at Moto 2 and at Moto3 between Catalan Maverick Viñales and German racer Sandro Cortese, are the main attractions of the weekend.


Lorenzo comes to Catalonia as the leader of MotoGP category with Stoner breathing down his neck. Both racers have the same number of victories, two each. In third position we can find Dani Pedrosa who, as always, will be looking to impress at his home circuit where he won back in 2008. All of this without forgetting the figure of nine times world champion Valentino Rossi in solid form recently after reaching the podium in Le Mans for the first time this last year.

At Moto2 the fight between Catalans Marc Márquez and Pol Espargaró is the main attraction of the season. Both pilots know the Circuit inside out and are going to give it their best shot in order to win. In third position we can find Italian Thomas Luthi who will be in the wings waiting for a mistake by Marquez or Espargaró.

Moto3 comes for the first time to the Montmeló Circuit with an important fight for the leadership between German racer Sandro Cortese and Catalan driver Maverick Viñales but attention should also be paid to Luis Salom, the Spanish racer that occupies third position.

A long tradition of motorbike racing

From the very beginning, Catalonia opted for the motor racing industry. In fact, many brands such as Bultaco, Derbi or Montesa were founded in Catalonia. The first motorcycle Grand Prix was held at the Montjuïc Circuit in Barcelona city, but the lack of a permanent circuit where Catalan racers could train made it more difficult for them to become professional motorbike racers.  

Finally, construction of the Circuit de Catalunya in 1991 in Montmeló, a town in the north of Barcelona, allowed for the annual staging of a motorcycle Grand Prix. This allowed many Catalan racers to train at a circuit with appropriate conditions to improve their level. Catalonia\u2019s circuit increased competition between local riders and raised fans interest.       

Catalonia: pool of young racers

In part, the success of young Catalan pilots like Marc Márquez, brothers Alex and Pol Espargaró or Maverick Viñales is due to the \u2018pool policy\u2019 carried out by the Catalan and Spanish Motorcycle Federation and the creation of different age-related levels of competitions in Catalonia. If the riders were good enough they could participate in the World Championship. At the beginning these kinds of competitions were only for Catalan racers but now the competitions are opened to everyone.

The future of the Motorcycle Catalonia Grand Prix

The decision of the number one authority in Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone, to hold the F1 Spanish Grand Prix race alternately between the Catalan circuit and the Valencia street circuit is well known while the future of the motorcycle Catalonia Grand Prix is still up in the air.

In Spain four World Championship races are held. One of them will be eliminated due to the economic crisis. The Catalan circuit has a contract for the motorcycle Grand Prix until 2016 and it has been known recently that the Barcelona City Council and the Provincial Council of Barcelona are going to invest money in order to preserve as much as possible the activities that are held every year in the Catalan racing circuit.

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  • Marc Marquez, interviewed in November 2010 by ACN (by N. Vidal)

  • Marc Marquez, interviewed in November 2010 by ACN (by N. Vidal)