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Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya: Full GP review

Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya: Full GP review

After the sensational seventh Grand Prix weekend of the 2008 season, reviews a memorable visit to Catalunya.

Heading into the Gran Premi Cinzano de Catalunya weekend, local hero Dani Pedrosa was the hot favourite for victory at his home track, with the Repsol Honda rider born just a few kilometres away from the venue for the seventh race of the year.

The visit to Barcelona was a big occasion for all the Spanish riders, although there was a tight schedule for the teams and organisers to prepare the paddock and pit-boxes, just days after round six at Mugello.

Amongst the local stars, Toni Elias was keen to do well after a frustrating start to his 2008 campaign and kept a close eye on him (free video), as the likeable Spaniard prepared for the race (free video). But the weekend was far from easy for the Manresa rider, who saw his home GP marred by a practice crash early on, before a nightmare race saw him black-flagged after failing to see a penalty for a jump start.

Fellow Spaniard and MotoGP rookie sensation Jorge Lorenzo got off to a good start as he was inducted into the Circuit de Catalunya hall of fame on Thursday, but things soon went badly wrong on track when he crashed in FP2, which forced him out of action - to the disappointment of Yamaha Racing boss Lin Jarvis.

While the Catalan paddock girls proved to be another hit, there were plenty of unusual sights as the riders promoted World Environment Day, Valentino Rossi unveiled a special edition livery in tribute to the Italian football team and James Toseland entertained the paddock with a live piano performance, before assuring that there would be more of the same sweet music at Donington (free video).

Also on Saturday Tech 3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal gave us an exclusive tour of his team´s pit-box, while later in the day the San Carlo Honda Gresini hospitality suite saw past and present riders gather to mark the team´s 200th Grand Prix. Local hero and former Gresini rider Sete Gibernau was spotted in the paddock and stopped for a quick chat, while on-track the star of the show was Ducati Marlboro´s World Champion Casey Stoner who topped the timesheet for his first pole of 2008.

However, Sunday belonged to one man, as Pedrosa dominated the MotoGP race from start to finish, taking victory ahead of Rossi and Stoner to the delight of more than 110,000 fans at the Montmelo track. It was not such a good day for Loris Capirossi though, as he crashed out and sustained a hand injury, as explained by concerned Rizla Suzuki manager Paul Denning.

An important post-race test on Monday afternoon saw more drama as Pedrosa hurt his back in a highside crash on his race-winning RC212V, shortly after testing the latest version of the pneumatic valve engine from HRC, while Stoner was far more comfortable on updated Ducati machinery as he headed the timesheet on his first day using the Desmosedici GP9.


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