Márquez and Morbidelli ready to resume rivalry in Barcelona
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez are ready to resume their battle for the 2017 Moto2 title this weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, venue for round seven of the World Championship.
It was Márquez who prevailed last time out in Mugello, finishing third after an epic race long battle with Tom Lüthi and eventual race winner Mattia Pasini, while Morbidelli played safe at his home race and collected more valuable championship points with an intelligent race to fourth place.
The championship positions remain unchanged, however. Morbidelli leads the series with 113 points, but Lüthi's second place in Mugello means the Swiss rider has now closed the gap to just 13 points.
Márquez remains in third place with 78 points, just 35 points adrift of his Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammate and 22 points behind Lüthi.
While Morbidelli was unable to capitalise on his home race advantage in Mugello, Márquez arrives in Barcelona for his second home Grand Prix of the season determined to give the home crowd something to cheer about with a race win on Sunday, just as he did in Jerez five weeks ago.
But the former Moto3 World Champion is under no illusions as to how tough a goal that will be, with Morbidelli, Lüthi and any number of other riders aiming to spoil the Spanish party this weekend.
“This is my home Grand Prix, so we want a good result this weekend, but then the same is true of every single Spanish rider on the grid, so it won't be so easy. The fans here bring extra motivation, especially the huge contingent that will be at the race from the fan club, but you need to control that and focus on the job at hand. I like the circuit, I like the atmosphere and I'm determined to enjoy a good race this weekend in front of my home crowd. We just need to keep the same level as Mugello; I made some small mistakes on the final lap and we need to learn from that.”
“I had to be intelligent in Mugello. The guys in front of me were a bit faster than me and I didn't have the pace to stay with them. But now we are straight into the next race here in Barcelona, which is good news. This weekend we need to work a little more to improve the set up of the bike, so that we can find the pace we were missing in Mugello. I'm looking forward to the weekend ahead in Barcelona and I'm confident that, together with my crew, we can improve our package and be back at the front again.”