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Spaniards look to repeat home hat-trick

Spaniards look to repeat home hat-trick

Spaniards look to repeat home hat-trick

After victories for Valentino Rossi, Manuel Poggiali and Lucio Cecchinello at Mugello last weekend in the MotoGP, 250 and 125 races respectively, Spanish riders were preparing for their own assault on a repeat home hat-trick at the Circuit de Catalunya this afternoon. Sete Gibernau, Toni Elias and Dani Pedrosa already ensured a Catalan triple at Le Mans earlier in the season, but all three would love to return to the top of the podium in front of a passionate local crowd expected to top 100,000. Neither Gibernau nor Elias even made the top five in Italy, whilst Pedrosa made a late charge to an unexpected second. However, the experienced Gibernau insisted he was pleased with his progression on the Honda RC211V so far this year and was ready to challenge for his third victory from six races.

`Seventh place last week at Mugello was not a disaster by any means, but it was a bad result because we have got used to being at the front this year,´ said Gibernau. `This weekend is the perfect chance to make up for that though and I think we have good reason for optimism. I am riding in front of my home fans which always gives me an extra edge, and I think we are finding the right way forward with the bike. I am usually eating or getting a rub down when the 125 and 250 races are on but I will be cheering for Dani and Toni this weekend and it would be absolutely fantastic to repeat the triple from Le Mans´.

One man sure to threaten Gibernau´s hopes this weekend however is Loris Capirossi, who was today presented with a top of the range laptop after becoming the first rider this season to clock a new All Time Speed Record, presented by Gericom. The Ducati Marlboro man set a blistering 332.4km/h aboard the Desmosedici during the race at Mugello, and was awarded with Gericom's top model, the Blockbuster Radeon, in the pre-event press conference this afternoon. `It is an amazing feeling to ride at that speed,´ said Capirossi, who also clocked 328.2km/h and set the fastest lap here at Catalunya during winter testing. `I think this record will stand for a year – I can't see us going quite that fast at any circuit other than Mugello.´

Already out of the battle for honours this weekend is Suzuki GSV-R rider Kenny Roberts, who has failed to recover from injuries sustained at Mugello last Sunday. The 29 year old crashed out of the race after a collision with team-mate John Hopkins and has flown back to the USA to receive treatment.

Akira Yanagawa was present in the paddock as he prepares to join Andrew Pitt and Garry McCoy in the Fuchs Kawasaki team as a wildcard for the second time this season. McCoy wasn't on hand to welcome his Japanese factory colleague, however, as he made the most of the beautiful weather and spent the afternoon riding a jet-ski down at nearby Port Balis in Barcelona. Local favourite Carlos Checa and Shinya Nakano, who is a resident of the city, joined the Australian in the water aboard their Yamaha wave-runners.

MotoGP, 2003, Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya

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