Tenth year of MotoGP at Catalunya
The Catalunya circuit has hosted a Grand Prix event in each of the previous nine years since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP formula in 2002. Below is a reminder of the highlights of the previous nine MotoGP races held at the Montmeló track:
2002 – Valentino Rossi won the first race of the four-stroke MotoGP era at the Catalunya circuit by just 0.88 seconds from his factory Honda team-mate Tohru Ukawa. The home crowd had something to cheer with Carlos Checa battling for the lead before eventually finishing third on his factory Yamaha, with his team-mate Max Biaggi finishing fourth after giving the Yamaha M1 its first ever pole position.
2003 – An historic win for Loris Capirossi, giving Ducati their first ever victory in the premier-class of Grand Prix racing and the first in any class since Mike Hailwood won the 125cc race at the Ulster GP of 1959. Capirossi was followed home by Championship rivals Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau, both riding Honda machinery.
2004 – Local hero Sete Gibernau qualified on pole but in the race he finished a close second to Valentino Rossi who gave Yamaha their first premier-class victory at the Catalunya circuit since Luca Cadalora in 1994. Marco Melandri’s third place finish riding a Yamaha was his first ever podium in the top class.
2005 – Very much a repeat of the previous year with Sete Gibernau qualifying on pole but losing out in the race by a small margin to Valentino Rossi. As in 2004, Marco Melandri was third, but this time riding a Honda as Gibernau’s team-mate.
2006 – The first attempt at running the race ended with a multi-rider crash at the first corner which eliminated Ducati team-mates Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau together with Marco Melandri. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) won the re-started race by five seconds over Nicky Hayden with Kenny Roberts third on the KR211V. This has been the only occasion during the MotoGP era when there has been no Spanish representative on the podium at the Catalan Grand Prix.
2007 – Casey Stoner (Ducati) won after a tremendous battle with Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). Dani Pedrosa (Honda) came home third just 0.39 seconds behind the winner. Following Pedrosa was John Hopkins (Suzuki) and Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki) so that the first five riders home were riding motorcycles from five different manufacturers, the first time this had occurred in the premier-class since the Swedish GP in 1972 at Anderstorp.
2008 – Dani Pedrosa (Honda) got one of his great starts from second place on the grid to lead at the end of the first lap and then cruised to a comfortable win, to become the first Spanish rider to win in the premier-class at the Catalunya circuit during the four-stroke MotoGP era. Valentino Rossi fought through the field from ninth on the grid to finish second in front of championship challenger Casey Stoner, who had given Ducati their first pole at the Catalan GP.
2009 – Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) won the race from team-mate Jorge Lorenzo after one of the best ever final laps which ended with Rossi making a memorable pass at the last corner. Casey Stoner finished third, showing signs of the illness that was to have a major effect on his season. Following this race there was the unique situation of three riders (Rossi, Lorenzo and Stoner) tied on equal points (106) for the lead in the world championship standings.
2010 – Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) qualified on pole and took the race win having led across the line on 24 of the 25 laps, only briefly losing the lead to Andrea Dovizioso early in the race. Dovizioso maintained the pressure on Lorenzo until he crashed on the fifteenth lap. Second fastest qualifier Dani Pedrosa made his usual lightning start only to run off the track at the first corner and drop down to eleventh and then fight his way through to inherit second place when Dovizioso crashed.