Casey Stoner believes the fast, sweeping nature of the Catalunya circuit will play to the strengths of Honda’s RC213V in this weekend’s MotoGP race.
The Australian struggled to match title rival Jorge Lorenzo in wet conditions at Le Mans, surrendering the lead of the championship to the Yamaha rider after being bumped down to third by Valentino Rossi on the final lap.
Stoner says he is consequently hoping for dry conditions at Barcelona, a circuit at which he won in 2011 and has finished on the podium in every year since 2007.
“Catalunya is one of my favourite races and it was the first major grand prix circuit I tested on. Ever since that moment I fell in love with the track,” Stoner said.
“The big fast sweeping corners [mean] there’s a lot of control in the middle of the turn trying to get grip for the exit. We know the Honda works well here and we had a good race here last year. I just hope this weekend will be dry, that would be great.”
Stoner’s Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa said missing last year’s race – the result of his Le Mans crash with Marco Simoncelli – has only added to his enthusiasm for what is effectively his home grand prix.
“Catalunya is obviously one of my favourite races because all my family, friends and fans are there supporting me and it’s a very special date on the calendar,” he explained.
“I’m really looking forward to getting there after missing the race last year. I want to feel the atmosphere again and I’m very excited and motivated to do well and fight for victory.”
Both riders also expressed how important Honda’s post-race test at the Catalan track would be in helping shape its future direction.
“The test on Monday will be very important for the team,” Pedrosa confirmed. “Catalunya is a very good track to test the new tyres because it is one of the circuits where you stay on the edge of the tyre longer and a long time turning right, you need good feeling in the front.
“It will be important to have a good test to arrive at Silverstone with the best information possible.”