Brad Baker, winner of the inaugural Superprestigio Dirt Track race in January (pictured), believes it is going to be harder than ever to retain his title at Saturday's event.

The 2013 American National Flat Track champion has shown impressive pace in testing and qualifying sessions at the Palau Sant Jordi stadium but has grand prix champions Marc Marquez and Tito Rabat and countryman Jared Mees, himself a national champion, to contend with.

Baker has spent several days training with Rabat and Toni Elias at the Canudas dirt track in Catalu?a and he believes his preparation instantly paid dividends once he took to the track on Friday.

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"I've been prepping the motorcycle so I can get a little bit more comfortable," said Baker on Friday evening. "I've been having a great time and I've made a lot of good friends. I rode a lot at the track out at Canudas and got a lot of laps in. I think it paid off, I felt really good first time out on track when we got here this evening. Everything is feeling pretty good. It's feeling better than last year. I've got a lot stiffer competition this year.

"Obviously with Jared [Mees] coming over here, Taddy [Blazusiak] and Marc Marquez, Tito... everyone else is going to step up their level so it's going to be an amazing race."

Although the track was laid in just under a week, Baker was impressed with the condition of the dirt.

"The track is actually pretty good this year. Last year it started out a lot drier but I think we can thank Mother Nature for that," he said. "It was already wet before it was put down in the stadium. Turns three and four are really smooth and excellent for racing conditions. Turns one and two got pretty broken apart there. We were the first group out and it almost turned into a motocross corner by the end.

"In the 'Superprestigio' session I had a run through it and everyone was just running through the corners. But in terms of the first time on the race track it was good to get shook in a little bit and I think they're going to do a really good job for [Saturday]. I think one and two will probably end up how three and four was and we'll see some good racing."

For the 2014 National Flat Track champion Jared Mees, racing against the likes of Marc Marquez fulfils a lifelong dream.

"This was my first time out of the country to race and out of the country to begin with," he said. "I've been to Canada and Mexico but [it's my first time] to come across the pond so to speak. Barcelona is very busy, everyone's in a rush here. But I'm very happy to be here, very excited and thankful for the opportunity.

"It's an honour to go out racing against guys like Taddy and Marc Marquez, guys that I watch on television and would call heroes. Those guys do something that I can't do and they're the best at it. To bring everyone together to race is definitely going to be a highlight of my career.

"The track was very smooth through turns three and four. Through one and two it broke up more to what we call a cushion. It's definitely going to make for a lot of mistakes, which will [allow] a lot of passing. Maybe that was a bit of an advantage off the corners for some people. Turns one and two are more of a free-for-all where you can square it up and move around a little bit."