Main favorite to win: Marc Márquez
Can Lorenzo repeat his Mugello victory on a track where he has five wins, or will it be Dovizioso who repeats the triumph he had here last year? Will Márquez return to a run of victories that last saw him win three consecutive races? Can Rossi repeat the win he had here in 2016? Will Viñales return to the top as he did in testing three weeks ago? Is Pedrosa going to rejoin the top after leaving HRC or will it be Petrucci who surprises us after the security of knowing where he will be next year sets in? Will it be the day Zarco has his first MotoGP win? And what about Suzuki, can they make the small step here they need to return to the top of the podium? These are all of the questions we are asking ahead of the Catalonia GP. This is the most open race at this point in the season, and any one of these riders could win without surprising us.
Can Lorenzo repeat his Mugello victory on a track where he has five wins, or will it be Dovizioso who repeats the triumph he had here last year?
The best way to conclude our best bet is to answer each of these questions. Lorenzo, with his confidence sky high after being the first rider to take the most important victory for Ducati, will fight again to win, but this time the rest won’t let him escape at the front. Everyone is hoping for a dip in Jorge’s performance as has happened so far, so if he begins leading the race, he will surely be hunted down as soon as possible, as Dovizioso attempted at Le Mans. Andrea needs to remove the redeem himself after Mugello, and the best way to do this is to beat his teammate. Remember that last year he won despite starting 7th on the grid. Yamaha is a mystery and seems to not adapt well to changes, which makes them a risky bet with new asphalt and higher temperatures than normal, at least with the official riders, because Zarco is at a place he goes fast. The Frenchman has two victories in Barcelona, which could have been three because in 2011 he crossed the finish line first in what would have been his first victory in the GPs but was disqualified for pushing Terol off track.
Marquez as our safest bet, despite the fact that last year he crashed here five times and that this is not a track that is among his favorites
All this leaves Marquez as our safest bet, despite the fact that last year he crashed here five times and that this is not a track that is among his favorites. Jerez and Le Mans ended with him winning despite being places he does not usually go well, but Mugello was also one of the circuits that is harder for him and he didn’t manage to triumph there despite playing a riskier hand. Despite this, he has a good advantage over the field and there is still no clear challenger, so there is no doubt that Marc will race without holding back.
The moment has arrived for Álex Márquez. The rear brake prevented him from fighting in Qatar, a collision with Oliveira in Argentina shortened his race, the 12 laps he led in Austin were not enough to take the victory, a crash in Jerez didn’t help anything; in France he could not compete with Bagnaia, and in Italy they got the set-up wrong. Now he comes to his home circuit, where last year he crushed his rivals and where he will give everything he has.
Bagnaia, Baldassarri, Oliveira, Pasini … the list of rivals is extensive but this time, Marquez’s first obstacle is named Joan Mir, his teammate. His recent signing with Suzuki is fueling the potential he showed last year by leaps and bounds and it would not be surprising if he stepps it up even more in Barcelona. He climbed the podium at the last two races, at two completely different tracks in every way. Last year as a Moto3 rider he took the victory after a surprising overtake in the last minute. His only goal now is to clinch his first victory in the category, although with 13 races still to go, the fight for the championship has not been ruled out.
The Montmeló circuit facilitates big groups racing together, making an escape difficult, although if one rider is able to put ground between themselves and the rest that rider is Martin. Jorge is the fastest rider Moto3, but he doesn’t always succeed with the strategies he chooses in big group races. Last year, Mir “stole” the victory with an unexpected pass at the ultimate moment. His weapon is to ride hard and get ahead as he did in Mugello, and he’ll attempt to do so again here.
The Montmelo circuit facilitates big groups racing together, making an escape difficult
The group that is going to fight to not let that happen we already know: Bezzecchi is showing very strong, as is Di Giannantonio with the difference being the latter is still pursuing his first victory. Canet disappeared from the first positions in the last few races, but you always have to bet on him and even more so at a track he knows well. One to watch is Bastianini, who is usually fast at Montmeló. Racing on Spanish soil, we cannot discount Ramírez, Masía, López and even Rodri, riders who could surprise us as Arenas did at Le Mans.