Thursday, June 11, 2015

Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone, Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro and Maverick Viñales kick off proceedings in Barcelona.

The press conference on Thursday traditionally marks the start of the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, round seven of the MotoGP™ World Championship, at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Movistar Yamaha’s Rossi is most successful rider at the track since its inclusion on the World Championship calendar in 1992, with nine victories across all classes. Last year the Italian crossed the line in second place in Barcelona, just 0.5s behind Marc Marquez.  This season he hopes to be back on the top step of the podium in at the Catalan GP for the first time since 2009, although he admits he is concerned with the pace of his teammate 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.
Asked about whether it would be a close battle during the race, he replied: “The level 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!”
Jorge Lorenzo has won the last three races from start to finish, although he is still six points behind his teammate Rossi in the championship standings. The Spaniard, who has three premier class victories to his name in Montmelo, is clearly feeling confident: “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.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone will want to build on his first MotoGP™ pole position and best ever race result (2nd) at the Italian Grand Prix last time out. Iannone has tasted victory in Barcelona in both Moto2™ (2012) and 125cc (2009) and he would love to achieve his maiden MotoGP™ race win this weekend: “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.”
For Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez his home Grand Prix could not come at a better time. The reigning World Champion currently sits 49 points behind Rossi in the standings and will be aiming to get his season back on track at a circuit he was victorious at last year: “This year we arrive here with a different situation to last year. I’m still motivated, I feel confident.”
Marquez also revealed that he would have a new exhaust to try this weekend, and believes he can close the gap on the leaders, “Of course it’s possible. 49 points is a lot, but not impossible.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro could be the Satellite fly in the Factory ointment at his home Grand Prix as he looks to build on his sixth placed finish in Mugello, at a circuit where he won the Moto2™ race 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.”
Maverick Viñales scored his best MotoGP™ finish (7th) for Team Suzuki Ecstar at the Italian Grand Prix, and the Spaniard is expecting to take another step forward in Barcelona after receiving a number of upgrades to his GSX-RR: “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.”
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 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya on-track action kicks off with Free Practice at 9am local time in Barcelona on Friday.

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