Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Motivated for Montmelo
Brave performances at the race in Italy brought home solid points for both teammates. Now, only one week later, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi prepare to go head to head with the competition again at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.
Viñales arrived in Montmeló in a good mood, after a mature ride at the Mugello Circuit. He extended his lead in the championship to 26 points with a well-deserved second place finish, giving him a healthy margin as he commences the seventh round of the 2017 MotoGP season.
The young contender hopes to ride his YZR-M1 to the rostrum this weekend in front of the Catalan fans. He previously achieved four consecutive podium finishes here in the lower classes, with a second place in 125cc (2011), a first and third place in the Moto3 championship (2012 and 2013), and a second position in Moto2 (2014). In the MotoGP class he scored his best result last year, finishing just off the steps in fourth place and setting a circuit record lap of 145.971s, so he fancies his chances to add another top result to his résumé this weekend.
Though the previous round last weekend demanded considerable effort from the still recovering Rossi, who gave 100% to secure fourth place in front of his home crowd, he is ready to challenge for the podium this weekend in Montmeló.
The Doctor holds third place in the championship rankings, 30 points behind his teammate, and is eager to decrease the gap this weekend at one of his most successful circuits, where no one should bet against him. He holds an impressive 13-year podium streak, that lasted from 1997 to 2009 and was spread out over various classes (MotoGP, 500cc, 250cc and 125cc). Moreover, he previously recorded seven premier victories with wins in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2016 in Catalunya, and he only finished off the rostrum four times in 20 races (not including the race in 2010, when he didn't ride due to an injury).
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has been a crowd favourite ever since it hosted its first MotoGP race in 1992. Its great reputation was further underlined when the venue won the IRTA 'Best Grand Prix' trophy in 2001. With an exciting 4.7km lay-out consisting of 13 corners (eight right, five left), the Catalan round is known as one of the most atmospheric and thrilling races on the calendar.
Championship: 1st - Points: 105
Montmeló is a very special track for me as it is my home Grand Prix. Its a really good track for me and for my riding style and I hope also for the bike. We are in a good flow, having gained good momentum, so we are strong and confident and we have many set-ups in case one won't work and for that reason I arrive to Montmeló really motivated. We will try to obtain as many points as we can and we will try to stand on the podium at the end of it, but to do so we have to be smart, also with the tyre selection.
Championship: 3rd - Points: 75
I would have liked to have had a one-week stop after the Mugello race to recover in the best way. Anyway, I'm happy with the race I did, the bike rode well and in Barcelona I hope I can be better, I would like to go on the podium. Barcelona is a circuit that I really enjoy, even if its a track with less grip, and we will have to try to find a good set-up to make the tyres work best. On Monday we will also have a day of testing and we will use it to try some other solutions. This is another Grand Prix where there is a beautiful atmosphere, with so many enthusiastic fans. We are ready to do our best!
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
We had a challenging but rewarding weekend in Mugello and it has motivated us to tackle the next round in Catalunya with all we have, as always. Montmeló is typically a good circuit for us, and for the fans as well. This weekend we will aim for top results again. Maverick is feeling good with the bike and it shows in his consistent speed and in the championship standings. As this is a home race for him, Im sure he would love nothing better than secure his first MotoGP podium in Catalunya, so that will be the goal this weekend. The Mugello race asked a lot from Valentino, but he never gave in. The few days of rest between the last race and the upcoming round give him little time to recover, but his condition is improving and Im sure he will be on the pace again this weekend, as he is always a force to be reckoned with in Catalunya. It will be important that we start the Grand Prix weekend strongly on Friday, in order to be all set and ready to go during qualifying and the race.
No Rest for Zarco and Folger as Catalunya Battle Looms
Fresh from contesting at the iconic Mugello circuit, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo head straight to the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya in the first back-to-back races of the year, where they will aim to impress once again. Johann Zarco comes off the back of a solid 7th place finish in Italy and fully intends to go one better this weekend by fighting in the leading group.
Whilst Jonas Folger hopes to make a step up after the Italian GP and also continue his 100% point scoring record since the start of the season. The action begins at 09:55 this Friday with both riders seeking to make positive starts.
Championship: 6th - Points: 64
"The Barcelona round is up next and the track is nice, plus it should be hot. The circuit has a new layout since the terrible accident last year and as a result, it should be much slower than before. Overall, the team and I will need to manage the bike well, do our work and start making a decision about the tyres on Thursday. With the experience that I gained in Mugello, I think that I can set up the M1 better and I will push to be as close as possible to the podium, which is the target. We achieved this in France, so I will always keep this ambition in my mind in order to collect as many points as possible."
Championship: 9th - Points: 41
"The Catalunya track is one that I like and I am feeling very confident ahead of the seventh round of the championship. Im sure that we can make a step forward from Mugello and solve the issues that we had. It will be interesting because I have heard that the circuit is a bit bumpier this year, but every rider will have to deal with this. I enjoy riding at that track and we have a one day test there afterwards so I am sure that its the place where we can amend the troubles that we have had recently. Anyway, Im excited to get going and I will do my absolute best at the Monster Energy sponsored round."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager
"Its very intense moment in the championship and right now, we are in the middle of the first back to back races this year. These two Grand Prixs are very important, and we have just finished Mugello and next is Barcelona in a few days. Both are significant because of the Italian and Spanish connection to MotoGP. Catalunya for sure, will be even more important for us because it is a Monster Energy Grand Prix, so the main sponsor of the event is also our title backer. There will be a lot of very important Monster Energy staff there and we would really like them to see how Johann and Jonas behave and perform on the track. The venue is a superb place for racing and a few teams have tested there in the week before Mugello. There is something new, which is the section of the circuit that was changed after the tragic Luis Salom accident. So we have to learn that part, plus both riders have to gain experience of the track on a MotoGP bike. Johann and Jonas have shown that they can learn quickly and they love this venue. Its only a few days away, so we are hot and happy to not have to wait too long for the racing. I hope the team and especially the riders have time to relax a bit so that we can all have another strong weekend in Montmelo."