Viñales arrived in Montmeló in a good mood, after a mature ride at the Mugello Circuit. He extended his lead in the championship to 26 points with a well-deserved second place finish, giving him a healthy margin as he commences the seventh round of the 2017 MotoGP season.
The young contender hopes to ride his YZR-M1 to the rostrum this weekend in front of the Catalan fans. He previously achieved four consecutive podium finishes here in the lower classes, with a second place in 125cc (2011), a first and third place in the Moto3 championship (2012 and 2013), and a second position in Moto2 (2014). In the MotoGP class he scored his best result last year, finishing just off the steps in fourth place and setting a circuit record lap of 1?45.971s, so he fancies his chances to add another top result to his résumé this weekend.
Though the previous round last weekend demanded considerable effort from the still recovering Rossi, who gave 100% to secure fourth place in front of his home crowd, he is ready to challenge for the podium this weekend in Montmeló.
The Doctor holds third place in the championship rankings, 30 points behind his teammate, and is eager to decrease the gap this weekend at one of his most successful circuits, where no one should bet against him. He holds an impressive 13-year podium streak, that lasted from 1997 to 2009 and was spread out over various classes (MotoGP, 500cc, 250cc and 125cc). Moreover, he previously recorded seven premier victories with wins in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2016 in Catalunya, and he only finished off the rostrum four times in 20 races (not including the race in 2010, when he didn’t ride due to an injury).
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has been a crowd favourite ever since it hosted its first MotoGP race in 1992. Its great reputation was further underlined when the venue won the IRTA ‘Best Grand Prix’ trophy in 2001. With an exciting 4.7km lay-out consisting of 13 corners (eight right, five left), the Catalan round is known as one of the most atmospheric and thrilling races on the calendar.