Star rookie Marc Marquez anticipates an 'extra tough' challenge on his home MotoGP debut in Catalunya this weekend.
Barcelona is the most local of the Spanish rounds for Marquez, but unlike at the previous Jerez event - where Marquez snatched second from Jorge Lorenzo at the final turn - the Moto2 champion has no prior testing knowledge of the circuit on an RC213V.
Marquez will certainly be hoping for a smoother weekend than last time at Mugello, where he fell four times - including a huge main-straight incident in practice and a slide from second place late in the race.
That ended the 20-year-old's perfect MotoGP podium record and dropped him to third in the standings behind Dani Pedrosa, his Repsol Honda team-mate, and Yamaha's reigning champion Lorenzo.
The Spanish trio, who filled all three places on the Jerez podium, are again tipped as the riders to beat this weekend.
"After crashing out in Mugello I really can't wait to get back on the bike at my home GP in Montmelò!” said Marquez, winner of round two in Austin. “I am more relaxed after seeing Dr. Mir last week and he confirmed there are no complications with my injuries and I am on my way to feeling 100% again.
“I really hope we have good weather in Barcelona so that once again, we can make the most out of all the free practice sessions. This is another track where all the other riders have much more experience than me and they will be extra tough to beat!
“But we will keep to our own programme and work hard and try our best.”
Marquez's only previous Catalunya victory was in the 125cc class during his title-winning 2010 season, although he also finished on the podium in both of his Moto2 appearances.
Free practice in Catalunya starts on Friday morning.