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MotoGP two-parter continues with Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya

MotoGP two-parter continues with Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya

Northeast Spain plays host to the seventh round of the MotoGP World Championship, just one week on from Mugello.

The MotoGP World Championship moves from Italy to Spain without so much as time to catch breath, as part of a whirlwind double-weekender that will have a big say in the overall standings. The Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya hits the Montmelo circuit, near Barcelona, on June 8th, and if previous races are anything to go by then round seven of the series should be one of the best events of the year.

On a run of three consecutive victories, Valentino Rossi heads the MotoGP World Championship standings. The Italian took his seventh consecutive home victory at Mugello in the previous round, allowing him to extend his total to 122 points. Riders wishing to take the top spot from Rossi will have a hard task ahead of them, and will not be heartened by a quick browse through the record books; the five-time MotoGP World Champion holds eight victories in Catalonia from the various classes, including a handful in the premier class.

Trailing Rossi by twelve points is second placed rider Dani Pedrosa, competing in his home race at the latest round. The Repsol Honda rider has been on the podium on all but one occasion thus far in 2008, and would dearly love to regain the World Championship lead in front of the thousands of fans providing their exclusive support. Pedrosa will make a late decision as to whether he will run a pneumatic valve version of the Honda RC212V engine, with the motor having been put through the paces in a race scenario by Tadayuki Okada at Mugello.

Also competing on home soil is Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi´s teammate in the Fiat Yamaha factory outfit. The MotoGP rookie failed to finish in Italy after a lowside crash, the first time that he has failed to complete a premier class race. A determined competitor, Lorenzo may not be able to take the leadership of the series at Montmelo, but he certainly has the opportunity to get his title challenge back on track.

In a good sign for the rest of the MotoGP field attempting to take his crown this year, 2007 World Champion Casey Stoner has won just once at the scene of this weekend's race. Unfortunately for them, however, that solitary win came at last year´s race, where he stormed to victory ahead of Rossi and Pedrosa onboard the Ducati Desmosedici. After a first premier class Mugello podium, Stoner is back on form and fourth in the MotoGP standings.

Veterans Colin Edwards and Loris Capirossi are proving that 800cc racing isn´t just a young man´s game, lying fifth and sixth in the classification in their first years with Tech 3 Yamaha and Rizla Suzuki. The most enduring memory Capirossi is likely to have of the Circuit de Catalunya is his first corner crash from 2006, which badly hit both his collarbone and his championship chances.

JiR Team Scot´s Andrea Dovizioso is the second highest placing rookie, behind rival Lorenzo, ahead of Tech 3 Yamaha debutant James Toseland by just one point. Second Repsol Honda rider Nicky Hayden and San Carlo Honda Gresini man Shinya Nakano complete the top ten.


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