The MotoGP World Championship lands in Spain for the second time this season after Jerez. On this occasion, the Barcelona Circuit will host this weekend (June 3-5) the Catalan MotoGP 2022 and ninth round of the calendar.
The greatest absence will be that of Marc Márquez in the land of his birth. After suffering from recurrent issues with his right humerus, he has undergone surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the United States, this Thursday. The 2014 and 2019 Catalunya winner hopes this intervention will resolve the pathology that prevents him from being competitive again, once and for all.
This season’s leader Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha),recently renovated, arrives at one of his favourite tracks. It was here in Montmeló that he achieved his first World Championship victory in Moto2 in 2018. He also got his first MotoGP podium in 2019 and went on to win the following year.
Last year he was nearly the star at his lucky Montmeló once more when a series of unfortunate coincidences deprived him of the honour. In any case, the crown defender is squeezing all of the juice out of his M1 this season. After finishing second in Tuscany, ‘El Diablo’ rules the standings, 8 points above his immediate pursuer, Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia).
— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) June 1, 2022
Aleix Espargaró and Bagnaia on the prowl behind Quartararo
The Frenchman will have to keep a close eye on local pilot Espargaró, hot on his heels on the standings. The rider from nearby town Granollers is in a great estate of form, although he didn’t finish six of his last seven races at home.
The Spaniard is ecstatic after taking his fifth podium of the season in Italy (Argentine, Portugal, Jerez & France) ahead of the Catalonan MotoGP 2022. He has every right of dreaming about breaking the curse that hangs over him and his home appointment and delighting the local fans with a great performance.
Both contenders, however, will have to watch out for a third rival. Victor in Mugello, Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) will be chasing his second consecutive win, and third of the year, at the Catalan MotoGP 2022. All the way down in fourth place with 41 points less than Quartararo, he must narrow his distance sooner rather than later if he wants to keep his title bid alive.
Beware of the Milanese pilot! He has climbed to the podium in two of the last three races, and, if he hadn’t crashed at Le Mans, it probably would have been three out of three. On top of this, the sheer power of the Desmosedici GP2022 is perfectly suited for a track with a 1-kilometre long straight. Despite this, he knows that Yamaha remains the dominant brand in Montmeló with ten wins in the MotoGP era since 2004.
Catalan MotoGP 2022, a second chance for many
The Spanish appointment could be a sort of second chance for several of the pilots on the grid. One of those is Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing), who crashed at Mugello days after winning in France. The accident has set the pilot from Rimini back to third place in the standings 28 points down from Quartararo, having arrived at Mugello with a short 4-point distance.
Similarly, Álex Rins and Joan Mir (Suzuki), who haven’t won a single point since their team announced its withdrawal from the championship at the end of the year, will arrive in Barcelona hoping to turn things around. They have both been left without a place for next season and need to stand out with some good performances if they want someone to hire them for 2023. Rins and Mir are now relegated to sixth (69 points) and tenth place (56 points) respectively, so they need to give it all they have this weekend.
At the same time, a tepid Jorge Martín (Pramac Racing) needs to immediately redirect a thoroughly disappointing season. After three retirements in the last four races, five in total during 2022, he is fifteenth in the standings with just 31 points.
Miguel Oliveira, for his part, winner in Barcelona in 2021, could give everyone a surprise. Pressured by the intense rumours of his possible dismissal from KTM, he will be eager to make an impression at the Catalan MotoGP 2022.
Images of Catalan MotoGP 2022: Yamaha MotoGP Team.