Round seven of the 2019 MotoGP Championship takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, with the series celebrating its 70th anniversary.
This Thursday (June 13) marks 70 years since the first-ever race in the motorcycle racing World Championship back in 1949.
Heading into the special weekend, Marc Marquez holds a 12-point lead over Andrea Dovizioso in the standings. Meanwhile, Danilo Petrucci goes into the weekend in high spirits after clinching his maiden victory at Mugello.
Given the special anniversary, all of the riders will want to put on a show. However, who will come out on top, and will we have another Barcelona masterpiece?
Can Petrucci Continue the Catalunya Trend?
Years of hard work paid off for Petrucci at Mugello, as he became a MotoGP race winner. There is the potential for a Ducati trend to continue this weekend too.
Dovizoso won at Mugello in 2017 and followed this up by winning in Barcelona. Twelve months later, Jorge Lorenzo repeated this achievement to secure his first victories for Ducati.
So, can Petrucci do the same? History would suggest that he can, and who would bet against him? The weight of the world has been lifted from his shoulders. The Italian has also shown that he isn’t scared to fight his team-mate, nor Marquez.
Championship Fight Continues
The championship fight between Marquez and Dovizioso will continue in Catalunya. The former was delighted to see his team-mate win at Mugello, however he lost more ground on Marquez in the process.
Does Dovizioso need to be more aggressive? Perhaps. An aerial shot of the final lap shows that there was enough room for a last corner lunge on Marquez, but he didn’t go for it. Would Marquez have made a lunge? Of course, and perhaps that’s the main difference between champion and runner-up.
Arguably, if Dovizioso cannot beat Marquez in Catalunya, where can he? Ducati have won the last two races in Barcelona, whilst Marquez has only won once there in MotoGP.
Marquez has, however, finished second in the previous three Catalan Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Dovizioso crashed out in 2018 whilst chasing down his title rival and Lorenzo.
Can Rossi Bounce Back from Mugello Disaster?
Valentino Rossi endured a nightmare weekend at Mugello. The veteran qualified 18th, before crashing out of the race whilst running at the back.
The nine-time champion has slipped down to fifth in the championship and struggled throughout the entire weekend in Italy.
Catalunya has been a successful location for Rossi in the past however, and he will be hoping to find improvements on his Yamaha. The Italian has seven premier class victories in Barcelona, and he finished on the podium in 2018.
The Doctor will be desperate to bounce back this weekend, otherwise his season may begin to spiral out of control.
Best of the Rest
One man who was relieved at Mugello was Alex Rins. Despite another poor qualifying performance (13th), the Suzuki rider again showed fantastic racing spirit.
He was involved in the battle for the lead for the majority of the race, eventually taking fourth spot. The only reason he couldn’t challenge for the win was a lack of straight line speed. The result kept him in championship contention, and he is only 27 points behind Marquez.
Elsewhere, Fabio Quartararo will be looking to continue his record-breaking form. He will, however, be riding whilst recovering from arm pump surgery.
Meanwhile, Maverick Viñales will be looking for a strong performance at his home race. As will Jorge Lorenzo, fresh from his trip to Honda HQ in Japan.
The weekend’s action in Barcelona begins on Friday (14 June 2019) with Free Practice 1 at 08:55. This will be followed by Free Practice 2 at 13:10.
Saturday’s (15 June 2018) action begins at 08:55 with Free Practice 3, with Free Practice 4 at 12:30. This is immediately followed by Qualifying 1 at 13:10 and Qualifying 2 at 13:35.
Sunday’s warm-up (16 June 2019) will begin at 08:40. The race begins at 13:00.