With an average lap speed of almost 160kmph, Catalunya is another of the faster tracks on the MotoGP calendar, with a 1.047km long main straight and a fulsome 4.727km overall length.

The fast exit onto Catalunya's steel and glass lined straight leads to some blisteringly fast top speeds being recorded, with 330kmph easily exceeded by the YZR-M1 in pre-season IRTA tests.

With a fast right hand corner immediately after the main straight, the advantage gained by a high speed run down Catalunya's flying kilometre can be negated by a committed rider on a sweet handling package through the next section.

A proliferation of high and medium speed corners are integral to the Catalunya layout, counter pointed by two slow left hand hairpins. Bumps abound, adding to the complexities of suspension set up. To further complicate the chassis set-up equations, there are also changes in camber, as the track weaves its way between the spectators' vantage points on the hillsides, following the natural topography.

A true test of a complete set-up, the Catalunya track is the site of one of the main pre-season IRTA tests, with the Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha team having gained valuable information from these tests in March. With so many long corners Catalunya places great importance on side grip from the tyres with particular emphasis on the feel and feedback available to the rider on the entry of turns.

Similarities to the previous venue of Mugello abound and thus less radical set-up changes should be required in the crucial early sessions. The basic balance of the machine should be maintained on the settings from Mugello with suspension adjustment, rather than major alterations, expected to be the order of the day.

 

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