FIM MotoGP - Race Preview Grand Prix Of Catalunya
Catalunya, Jun. 1, 2012: Jorge Lorenzo: 2010 World Champion Lorenzo is using consistency and a finely balanced Yamaha M1 to stay ahead of the potent package of the Honda RC213V and reigning World Champion Casey Stoner this season. Lorenzo has two victories and two runner-up finishes to lead the World Championship, 90-82, over Stoner after four races.
Valentino Rossi: Seven-time World Champion Rossi earned his first podium finish in a year May 20 at Le Mans, placing second. Rossi prevailed in a duel with reigning World Champion Casey Stoner for the runner-up spot in wet conditions in France. But the glory could be short-lived because the Ducati GP12 still is inferior to the Honda and Yamaha factory bikes in dry conditions, and sunshine usually bakes the Circuit de Catalunya in late spring. Ducati's problem isn't horsepower - it is believed to have more power than any bike in the sport. But that grunt isn't delivered to the ground smoothly, causing traction problems upon acceleration for Rossi and teammate Nicky Hayden, especially in dry conditions.Ben Spies: The nightmarish start to the 2012 season continues for 2010 Rookie of the Year Spies on his factory Yamaha. Spies is 11th in the standings after four races, with just one top-10 finish. But Barcelona is a good spot for Spies to get back on track, as he scored his first podium finish for the Yamaha factory team last year at this event.
Honda's chatter: The Honda RC212V was the dominant bike of the 2011 MotoGP season, carrying Casey Stoner on a magisterial ride to the World Championship. But the switch from 800cc to 1000cc engines - and a late switch in tire compounds by Bridgestone - has hurt Honda more than closest rival Yamaha. Repsol Honda riders Stoner and Dani Pedrosa have suffered from visible, vicious chatter - vibration of the front and rear wheels - under braking and acceleration this season on the RC213V machines. Honda must fix that problem quickly, or Stoner and Pedrosa's challenge to Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo could be neutered.
American Colin Edwards returns to his NGM Forward Mobile Suter-BMW machine this weekend after missing the Grand Prix of France on May 20 due to a broken left collarbone suffered May 5 during qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portugal. Edwards said he's at about "90 percent" fitness ... Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi has 10 career premier-class podium finishes at Barcelona, including six victories ... At least one Spanish rider has finished in the top three of the MotoGP race at this event for the last five years ... Jorge Lorenzo has scored 90 points overall in the first four races of this season, the same total he scored from the first four events during his championship season in 2010 ... Lorenzo has finished in the top three in 67.6 percent of his premier-class starts, the fourth-best percentage in World Championship history. American Wayne Rainey finished on the podium in 64 of his 83 premier-class starts, an all-time best success rate of 77.1 percent.