Rossi looks for repeat success in Catalunya | india | Hindustan Times
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Rossi looks for repeat success in Catalunya

Valentino Rossi returns to another happy hunting ground at the Catalan Grand Prix on Sunday.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2007 15:52 IST
Simon Baskett

After notching a sixth successive win at Mugello last week, Valentino Rossi returns to another happy hunting ground at the Catalan Grand Prix on Sunday.

The seven-times world champion has won five of the last six premier class races at the Circuit de Catalunya and has stood on the top step of the podium on three other occasions in the 125cc and 250cc categories.

The 28-year-old Yamaha rider was in a class of his own in his home grand prix last Sunday and is now just nine points behind championship leader Casey Stoner of Australia.

"Barcelona is always a great race for me and I've won there the last three years with Yamaha, so hopefully we can do it again," Rossi said this week.

"I got a fantastic reception when I won the race at Jerez earlier in the season so hopefully I can start the same kind of party in Barcelona."

But the Italian expects a tough race from local favourite Dani Pedrosa and Stoner, whose powerful Ducati will once again have the edge in straight-line speed.

"Pedrosa will also have a lot of support this weekend and I expect him to be a difficult rival once again after such a good race at Mugello," he said.

"Also Stoner will be strong, especially down the long straight, but Yamaha and Michelin have worked really hard to close the gap on our rivals and I think we are ready to battle with them at every track now."

Ducati claimed their first premier class grand prix victory when Loris Capirossi won in Catalunya in 2003, but last year both their bikes were wiped out in a multi-rider crash.

The home crowd will be expecting fireworks in the 250cc class with a renewal of the Spanish duel between reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo and Alvaro Bautista, who took the 125cc crown last year.

Bautista snatched his first 250cc victory in Mugello after he sent Lorenzo tumbling onto the gravel when he squeezed past on the inside on the final lap of a thrilling race and his rival has said he is out for revenge this weekend.