What Happened So Far At Catalan Circuit
The fifth round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship commenced yesterday, June 3rd, at the GRAN PREMI APEROL DE CATALUNYA. The fastest of the MotoGP riders after the first two practice sessions yesterday was Casey Stoner. He topped both Free Practice sessions, with a best time of 1’42.940. Macro Simoncelli was hot on his tail, with a second best lap time of 1’43.468, but is over half a second down to Stoner’s best lap. Casey Stoner came into Round 5 from a victory at Le Mans, which he won from pole position. Only a few would bet against Casey Stoner not winning here at Catalunya Circuit.
This afternoon, Casey Stoner will go for his forth pole position in the first five rounds this season, and I have a feeling that only Simoncelli, who has shown extreme pace in the last few rounds, will post a decent challenge for the victory.
As for the reigning world champion; Jorge Lorenzo, he is still leading the championship with 12 points (have a total haul of 78 points after 4 rounds) over Casey Stoner (66 points). Jorge won here last year from pole, and had a memorable battle with the MotoGP Legend; Valentino Rossi in 2009, in which he eventually came second as Rossi beat him on the last corner. Lorenzo came fourth fastest in the Free Practice Nr. 2.
As for Ducati team, Nicky Hayden was the top Ducati rider, just ahead of his teammate Valentino Rossi with a best time of 1’44.799, which he achieved in the first practice. As for Rossi, well, he could not improve his time from the first free practice session, as the conditions changed dramatically at the Catalunya Circuit. On dry track, I still feel that Rossi will not be able to challenge for a win, but a top-five finish is possible. So, I will hope that it rains on race day and warm up sessions (if only Rossi wishes for it too) :). Rossi is the most successful rider at the Montmeló Circuit with nine wins to his name (including six in the premier class).
Catalan Grand Prix Track Conditions
As for the track conditions, the first day of practice at the Catalan Grand Prix was affected by variable weather conditions that only left about a half hour of completely dry track time. In the second free practice session, the factory Ducati team riders, Hayden and Valentino were the only ones who could not improve their lap times they posted in the morning session. It started raining at the half way mark in the first practice session. Conditions were the opposite in the afternoon, which began on a wet surface, with the sun only drying the track toward the end.
Decision Of MotoGP’s Official Tyre Supplier; Bridgestone
The Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya will be a demanding weekend on the slicks of MotoGP’s official tyre supplier. Because of the very high tyre temperature generated by the predominantly right-handed layout of the Catalunya circuit, this round is one of the toughest races of the year for Bridgestone’s rear tyres. With eight right-handers, most of which are fast and flowing, Catalunya is very demanding for the right side of the rear tyres. Since, the tyres spend a lot of time leant over on their right side, Bridgestone have introduced asymmetric rear slicks. Aslo, Bridgestone have selected the same Medium and Hard compound front slicks as were last used at Jerez. In case of rain, for the first time this season Bridgestone have selected the hard compound wets.
More MotoGP Action To Come
Stay tuned for more MotoGP updates. The Free Practice Nr. 3 for the MotoGP class is about to begin with Qualifying Practice scheduled in the afternoon at 2pm local time (GMT + 2). Meaning, it would be 5pm according to Pakistan Standard Time (GMT+5). You may want to tune Ten Sports in the evening.
You can read more MotoGP news here.