MotoGP to Race at Catalunya For Five More Years

motogp_catalunyaDorna Sports and the Circuit de Catalunya have agreed a contract renewal which will guarantee the presence of the Gran Premi de Catalunya on the MotoGP World Championship calendar for a further period of five years (2012-2016).

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, and Salvador Servià, General Director of the Circuit de Catalunya have signed a contract confirming that the Circuit de Catalunya will continue to host the Gran Premi de Catalunya for the next five seasons.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, stated: “I am pleased that the Circuit de Catalunya remains part of the history and the future of MotoGP, providing a modern facility that has for 20 years had a presence in the highest discipline of motorcycle racing. This circuit has hosted a non-stop schedule of racing since Dorna has been organising the World Championship, providing a very professional team that has won several awards for its work. The entire Dorna family is proud to continue working with the Circuit de Catalunya, from both a business and personal standpoint.”

Salvador Servià, General Director of the Circuit de Catalunya, commented: “It is a pleasure to approve an agreement that allows an annual race that generates an economic impact of 30,000,000 Euros for the entire area surrounding the Circuit. Now it’s time to work to publicise this agreement within the business and economic environment of the country in order to maximise its benefits, and share this opportunity on a worldwide scale through its promotion.”

This year, the MotoGP Gran Premi de Catalunya event brought 81,838 spectators to the Circuit on Sunday, with a total of 146,718 spectators attending over all three days of the Grand Prix. The Circuit de Catalunya has hosted a MotoGP race since 1992, first as the European Grand Prix and later (1994) as the Gran Premi de Catalunya.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

A Note From Dani Pedrosa

dani_pedrosa_collarbone_surgeryFor the first three rounds of the 2011 MotoGP season, Dani Pedrosa was the man to beat. Despite early season corrective surgery, Pedrosa earned three podium finishes, including a win in Portugal, and was second in the point standings behind 2010 champion Jorge Lorenzo.

But then came Le Mans, and Pedrosa found himself back in the hospital.

Pedrosa missed the Catalunya GP, and recently announced that he would not be racing at Silverstone. With three consecutive no-point races, Pedrosa’s title hopes are quickly vanishing.

Here’s a note from Dani Pedrosa. (The note was posted on Pedrosa’s blog in Spanish and was translated with the help of Google and my two years of Spanish 101.)

Hi everyone,

After days devoted entirely to recovery, I have decided not to run the Grand Prix of Great Britain. I’ve done everything I could to be on time for Silverstone, but conditions are not right to return yet. I need to feel safe when I start to ride again. I need to that I can fight for victory. I do not want to just run laps.

My recovery is progressing, but we are taking it day by day. I do not want to set deadlines, but clearly, I want to recover as soon as possible to ride the bike again. I have to be calm and follow the recommendations of my doctors to make sure the recovery process goes well.

I’ve driven many times with pain and my experience tells me that I am not able to be competitive. I decided not to risk it and to continue my recovery process so that I can return at my best. It is a time when I have to pay attention to reason, and not just my desire.. I want to return soon, but I want to be able to compete when I do. It is not the time yet.

Thanks again for all your encouragement.

Dani

Pedrosa is currently fourth in the standings. After the Silverstone GP, Pedrosa will have two weeks before the Assen event on June 25th.

[You can see more from Pedrosa’s blog here.]

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Terol Takes Fourth Win at Catalunya

terol_at_catalunyaNico Terol took his fourth win of 2011 after Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) was penalised 20 seconds for an illegal overtake on the last lap in the 125 race. Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) finished second with Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) promoted to third.

A tactical battle ensued at the start of the race between Terol (Bankia Aspar), Zarco and Viñales. The very experienced Terol pulled a gap of over six seconds pursued by Zarco, who battled him for the win, overtaking Terol in the last few laps.

Terol, who celebrated his 100th start in last month’s Le Mans race, proved a tough a competitor, and regained the lead in the final lap. But Zarco was determined for the win, and in the last corner tried to overtake again, pushing Terol off the track into the grass. Zarco was penalised 20 points and thereby demoted to sixth position, giving Terol his fourth win of the season. Viñales claimed his second podium of the 2011 season with a second place finish, followed by Folger.

Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) ran wide with seven laps to go when he and Folger nearly touched, forcing Faubel out of the top five.

After a wet weather warm up, the 125cc race start was held in drying conditions. Most of the field chose slick tires for the race including all of the race leaders, though several riders opted for rain tyres at the start, including Taylor Mackenzie (Phonica Racing) who had nothing to lose after qualifying last on the grid due to technical problems that saw him miss FP3 and most of qualifying. However as the race progressed, the sun came out and progressively dried the track, forcing those who chose the rain tyres to the pits for a change to slicks.

Fourth place finisher was Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany), followed by Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo), Zarco and with Faubel following in seventh. Eighth place finisher was Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team), Adrián Martín (Bankia Aspar) took ninth and Jakub Kornfeil (Ongetta-Centro Seta) rounded out the top ten.

Treacherous conditions early in the race claimed several victims, including two Brits Danny Webb (Mahindra Racing) and Harry Stafford (Ongetta-Centro Seta) who both crashed in the first corner on the opening lap, and Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) who went down after a lightening start, suffering a fractured wrist.

Zulfahmi Khairuddin (AirAsia-SIC-Ajo) crashed in turn 8 after an incredible start that helped launch him to fifth in the beginning of the race.

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of MotoGP]

Bradl Extends Lead With Dominating Catalunya Win

bradl_at_catalunyaPole position starter and championship leader Stefan Bradl took a dominating third win of the season in the Moto2 race, giving him a 43-point lead in the standings.

The young Marc Márquez steadily made his way through the field at his home track to finish second, and Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40) who started from the front row for only the second time in his career, produced his first podium finish of his GP career with a third place. Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) finished in fourth.

A sunny start saw the German Bradl leading the field, pursued by Aleix Espargaró of the Pons HP 40 team off the start. Fellow Spaniard Julián Simón overtook Espargaró with 11 laps to go, but a determined Espargaró was in top form in front of his home crowd, and put up a fight and took back the position.

Dominique Aegerter of Technomag-CIP lowsided with eight laps to go, and team mate Kenan Sofuoglu was involved in a spectacular crash that took out Julián Simón three quarters into the race. Sofuoglu appeared to have made contact with the rear wheel of Simón, sending the Spanish rider into a highside and taking him out of the race. Simón sustained a fractured right tibia and fibula in the crash. Following the incident it was confirmed that a hearing organised by Race Direction will be held this Thursday (June 9th).

Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) crashed out along with last year’s Catalunya race winner Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) with 18 laps to go. Bradley Smith (Tech 3) managed to avoid being collected in the crash, but later ran off in the last lap to finish the race in 19th.

The battle for fifth was close, with Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing) finally nabbing the spot, just in front of Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) in sixth and Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) in seventh. Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing) followed in eighth, in front of Yonny Hernández (Blusens-STX). German rider Max Neukirchner (MZ Racing) completed the top ten.

The close racing produced several more non-finishers, including Axel Pons (Pons HP 40), American rider Kenny Noyes (Avintia-STX), Javier Forés (Mapfre Aspar), Mike di Meglio (Tech 3) and Robertino Pietri (Italtrans Racing). Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda Singha-SAG) did not start after crashing in the morning warm up session.

[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of MotoGP]

2011 MotoGP Preview: Catalunya

catalunya_gpThe MotoGP riders will return to action this weekend after a two-week break for the fifth round of the 2011 MotoGP season at Catalunya. Jorge Lorenzo will be looking to extend his lead in front of his home crowd, while Casey Stoner will try for his second consecutive victory.

The big story in the MotoGP, however, is Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa will not be racing at Catalunya, his home circuit, because of the injury he suffered during the French GP. Pedrosa has been a constant fixture on the podium this season, but he fractured his collarbone after a crash involving Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans. Pedrosa dropped down to third place after scoring no points in France, and could be passed up again this weekend if Valentino Rossi can find the podium once more.

Rossi scored his first podium of the season at Le Mans and his record at Catalunya shows that he’s clearly capable of repeating the feat this weekend. Rossi has 9 wins across all categories at Catalunya, and another four podiums. Rossi’s worst finish at Catalunya in the premier class was third, but the Doctor did not compete at Catalunya in 2010 due to a broken leg.

“I’m really happy to return to the track, since I had to watch the race from my house last year,” Rossi said. “I’ve always been quite strong at the track, so I have many nice memories, the most recent of which is the 2009 win after a great battle with Lorenzo. We’re very motivated and we’re working really hard on the bike; step-by-step, we can see that we’re making progress. We know there’s still a lot of work to be done, but we need to keep trying to get closer to the front.”

Lorenzo, who took the win at Catalunya in 2010, currently leads the series in points. Lorenzo has 12 points over Casey Stoner. The 2010 champ will be eager to return to the podium this weekend after missing the rostrom for the first time this season at Le Mans.

Andrea Dovizioso will also be a prime contender this weekend. Dovizioso took his first podium at the last race in Le Mans, and is more than capable of doing the same in Barcelona.

Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden will also be vying for the top spots this weekend. Hayden took a podium at Catalunya during his championship season, and looks like he is finally getting a handle on the Ducati machine. Spies has had a disappointing sophomore season so far, but the American is determined to turn things around.

The MotoGP riders should also look out for Marco Simoncelli. After the controversy involving the crash with Dani Pedrosa, a number of riders have spoken out and called Simoncelli “reckless.” If the young Italian can put a win on the board, he might be able to change the conversation.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com