MotoGP returns to Spain for round seven of the 2014 season as the Circuit de Catalunya gets set to provide a tough test for riders and tyres alike. As well as its high average speed, the Circuit de Catalunya features many corners that require high lean angles for long periods of time, which results in extreme tyre temperatures. The fast, long-radius corners, heavy braking zones and high ambient temperatures at the Catalan Grand Prix combine to make it one of the most severe races for Bridgestone’s MotoGP tyres.
The difference in forces imposed on the opposing shoulders of the rear tyre at this circuit is so great that Bridgestone will provide asymmetric rear slicks with rubber compounds up to two steps harder on the right shoulder compared to the left, this weekend. The front tyre has to provide good braking stability for the hard braking zones at the end of the straights, yet also ensure good edge grip through the sweeping corners.
Rear tyre options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders are the medium and hard compound rear slicks, while the Ducati and Open-class riders are allocated the soft and medium compound rears. The front slick options for this weekend are the soft, medium and hard compound. Due to the high tyre severity rating of the MontmelÃ³ circuit, the main wet tyre for this weekend will be the hard compound, although the riders can also utilise the soft compound wet tyre in the case of exceptionally cool conditions.
“I really enjoyed the battle in Mugello with Jorge, it was so nice! Now we head home to Montmelo which is a track that I haven’t enjoyed myself at so much in the past but the layout is good and with a year’s experience I hope the situation will be different this year! The fans and of course my fan club all make the journey to come and support us and this gives me extra motivation, so I hope we can put on a good show for them all!”
“Mugello was more difficult than I expected and my arm still wasn’t 100%. I had a check-up with Dr. Mir after the race who confirmed everything is healing correctly, so I hope this weekend it will have improved and I can be in the battle at the front. As always, I’m looking forward to going to MontmelÃ², the track is nice but the atmosphere is amazing! We will have to work hard but I hope that the bike works well there as you spend a lot of time on the edge of the tyre here so a great setup is a huge advantage! Let’s hope the weather is nice and it’s a good weekend!”
“I am very happy to go to Barcelona, especially after the good weekend at Mugello where we put two Yamaha’s on the podium. I really like the Grand Prix of Catalunya. It is a track that I like a lot, it’s fantastic! I know that to fight with Jorge and Marc I have to give my best from the first free practice to be very strong on Sunday. I will try to do everything to be in front with them, once again. I am very happy with how we are working on the bike. I know that we can do even better, the team is very motivated and for that I really want to start the weekend in Barcelona!”
“In Mugello I tried my best, I felt stronger and I think we did a really good job. We were really close to the victory and my physical condition improved a lot compared to the last races. The bike also worked well and I guess if we can do a step ahead either with the bike or my physical condition we will fight again for the victory. Now we are heading to MontmelÃ³, one of my favourite tracks like Mugello and I would like at least to be on the podium. Last year we could find a good pace for the race and I remember we won in front of the two main rivals, achieving a great win. Hopefully this season we can fight once again; that would be so special considering MontmelÃ³ is like my home race. I’m looking forward to racing in Barcelona in front of all the crowd!”
“It goes without saying that I am so excited for my home GP and I will try my absolute best to get a top result in front of my Catalan fans. My confidence is high as I feel that I am steadily improving my adaption to the MotoGP bike. In fact both my qualifying performances as well as my race pace have become much more competitive since the beginning of the season, especially in the last two races where I have consistently been in the top five. Therefore I truly hope I can continue this trend for the weekend. In addition, I have had some great results here previously, for example last year in Moto2 where I started on pole before winning the race. So this weekend will for sure be one to remember for me in my first appearance on a MotoGP bike. I can’t wait!”
“The last Grand Prix at Mugello did not go exactly how I had planned and it was not a true representation of my race ability. We were just a bit unlucky which can sometimes happen to any rider, however I am confident as always and I know I can get a strong result this weekend. The Yamaha works well here and last season I got my joint best result of 6th in my rookie season. So this year I plan to up the stakes and finish higher. It’s demanding and technical but good fun to ride so I am charged and ready to do my best at the Monster Energy sponsored Grand Prix.”
“Barcelona has always been one of my favourite round on the GP schedule. After our first run with the new chassis at Mugello, I’m excited to get back to work. Our main focus will be more on the electronics side but we will be trying different chassis settings as well. If all goes well, it should be a good weekend”.
“Catalunya is really my home GP as I used to live just 3 km far from the racetrack. I remember that from my class at school we could hear the bikes testing on the track, so it’s a very familiar and special place for me. No need to say that I look forward to get a good result here. I like the track very much, I know every single meter. Catalunya has one of the longest main straight in the world and we know that we will struggle a bit in terms of top speed, but I like the long turns and I’m very motivated to do well”.
“I hope to do well at MontmelÃ² with my Desmosedici GP14: it’s a very strange track, with lots of fast corners and one long straight. Last year was quite bad, with ninth on the grid and seventh in the race, but it is one of my favourite tracks. The bike is a little bit better than last year, and we have to try and get the maximum as always.”
“After my unfortunate crash at Mugello, now we have to go to Barcelona and improve. I think it’s going to be a tough circuit for us, because the long corners come back on themselves quite a lot, which could make things a bit more difficult. As always we will try and be competitive: we are definitely very strong in the braking area and also in the straight line and we go to Barcelona with a new attitude again.”
“In Montmelo I’ve always been strong and this is a track that I really like; in addition, racing in Spain always gives me an extra motivation. We will start the weekend making a comparison between two important suspension solutions provided by Showa, to quickly identify the best direction to take: the new front fork has worked very well at Le Mans, while at Mugello we preferred to race with the race the old solution. We must therefore determine which one is best suited to this track, which is fast and in some ways is similar to Mugello”.
“Barcelona is not one of my favourite circuits, but with this bike could be different. We will face again another challenge: another new circuit for me to learn aboard a MotoGP, so for sure we will have to work hard in the beginning, but I think we have a good setting now, so hopefully we can try again to be the top ‘Production Racer’ Honda. The two long straights will cost us a lot of time: it’s a bit frustrating because you put in so much effort just to see other guys get past you in the straight. However, we need to stay strong and just keep doing what we do”.
“I am happy to say my hand is feeling better then before surgery and in Mugello, but it’s only been seven days since the operation so still a bit to early to say how I will be in Barcelona. After resting it after surgery for a few days I know started rehabbing it but I really have to wait a few more days to know my level and if it’s possible to go this weekend. I think I will try in FP1, see how I feel and discuss it with my team and doctors to know if we can do the race. For sure I would hate to miss another race after two non point scores but also we have to be smart and think long term and make a decision with both our heart and head. So we wait and see, hope for the best. This track is fast and challenging with a bit of everything, and a lot of long corners with a lot of lean angle where if we can make the soft tyre last it can help us be more competitive with the extra edge grip.”
”I have lived in Barcelona for a few years now so Catalunya is like a second home Grand Prix for me, I know the track perfectly and it always a pleasure to ride at this circuit. Last year I missed out because of injury so I am looking forward to it even more this time and I hope it can be a good race for me. Even though we still have a lot of work to do we are improving our feeling with this bike every weekend and hopefully my track knowledge here can help us make quick progress with the set-up.”