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Monster Energy MotoGP riders group photo
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The party and the pressure: 2022 Monster Energy MotoGP in Catalunya gets ready to rip-it-up

Jun 022022

Speed, split-seconds, sand, sun and a Mediterranean vibe. MotoGP fills the grid at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the 31st time this week. The ‘Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya’ is not only the ninth round of the current racing season - that has already thrown-up more than its fair share of surprises and tension - but also a prime party spot and where the fans will swap the rasping howl of MotoGP for the pulsing beats of clubs and hangouts like the Monster Energy Compound. They’ll lap-up the action that has already produced some of the closest race finishes of all-time in the last three seasons and then chill at the beach with the gentle lapping sound of the sea a few miles  away.

There’s no other Grand Prix quite like Barcelona. Just like there is no magical Mediterranean metropolis like the Catalan capital. MotoGP is currently the most heated world championship motorsport across the globe with 5 different winners and 11 different riders from the eight rounds to-date and a trek that has involved four continents. 

Among the rivalries between the riders, the bravado between the brands (don’t let the fact that there is a tussle of aerodynamic supremacy fly right by you) and the stare-outs between the teams, this particular Grand Prix brings MotoGP into a spell-binding layout of 4.7km and 14 contrasting corners a short distance from the city centre. The first bricks of the track were laid just over thirty years ago and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has become a testing and racing hub for every international series that matters: MotoGP, F1, WorldSBK and more. The compact venue has dealt with thrills and tragedy in that time but has also become synonymous with searing pace and technical challenge; all orientated around the seemingly endless 1km start straight.

“It’s a spectacular track that I love,” grins 2020 world champion and Suzuki ace Joan Mir. “Every corner has something about it. The turns might seem a bit similar from the outside but this is not the reality because they all feel so different. I like riding there and I think anyone who has been lucky enough to have taken a bike around the track will say the same.”
 

24-year-old Darryn Binder rides for the WithU RNF Yamaha team. The South African won his first (and to-date only) Grand Prix at Catalunya in the Moto3 class in 2020. For 2022 he is still wading in ‘the deep end’ as a MotoGP rookie and getting to (handlebar) grips with 350kmph. “One of the wildest things will be the fact that the track will feel quite small now with the MotoGP bike!” he said. “Very different to a track like Mugello [Italy]. I’ll have to tell you how it feels on Friday!”

Mooney VR46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini is another former winner in Catalunya. The Italian triumphed in Moto2 in 2020. The triumph came eleven years after his brother – Valentino Rossi – made that famous last-lap, last corner lunge on teammate Jorge Lorenzo for one of the most heartrate-rising finales in GP history. “The last two corners are fast and difficult. Great corners,” he grins knowingly. “You enter fast and acceleration is important. I can tell you also that with the MotoGP bike the track is much better compared to Moto2! Maybe it is because of the grip because in Moto2 the level is really bad, perhaps because they bring the hardest tyre of the season and it is hard to ride like this. Everything with the MotoGP bike is better. It’s a really nice track.”

If there is one rider that embraces the essence of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya then it’s the current world champ: 23-year-old Monster Energy Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo. Young, upbeat, debonair, brave and oh-so-good, Fabio earned his GP spurs in Moto2 at Catalunya in 2018 and his career has soared since. “The last sector of the track is really interesting,” the Frenchman says, concurring with some of his peers. “The final fast right is something where you need to put a lot of effort – you need to have big balls for this corner! They are two turns that I really like. I know we can make a great race there overall…but the last sector is my favourite place.”

Engines fire with the first Moto3 Free Practice session at 9am on Friday. From that point the clock ticks down to the MotoGP main event at 2pm on Sunday afternoon. When fans are not watching bikes paint thick, black rubber lines then the Monster Energy Compound will pump up the volume for Rig Riots at 4.30 on Friday and Saturday and for gripping shows by action sports athletes right across the weekend.

 

Unleash the beast, beat and bikes this weekend!

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