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valentino_rossi_le_mansValentino Rossi didn’t get the chance to race at the Catalan Grand Prix in 2010 because of his injury, but The Doctor is back and ready for action. Rossi has taken 9 wins in Catalunya, and says that the Spanish circuit is one of his favorite on the calendar.

“The Catalan Grand Prix is one of the nicest of the season,” Rossi said. “Barcelona is a beautiful city, the track is really nice, probably my second-favourite after Mugello. And as is always the case at Spanish races, the grandstands are filled with enthusiastic fans.”

Rossi scored his first podium at the Le Mans GP and will look to carry that momentum into Spain. Rossi has won in every class at Catalunya, with a total of nine wins and four podiums at the circuit.

“I’m really happy to return to the track, since I had to watch the race from my house last year. I’ve always been quite strong at the track, so I have many nice memories, the most recent of which is the 2009 win after a great battle with Lorenzo. We’re very motivated and we’re working really hard on the bike; step-by-step, we can see that we’re making progress. We know there’s still a lot of work to be done, but we need to keep trying to get closer to the front.”

Nicky Hayden has also seen success at Cataluna. Hayden found the podium in 2006 on his way to his first MotoGP championship. Hayden hasn’t found similar results recently, but is looking forward to changing that this weekend.

“Any race in Spain is huge, and Catalunya is no exception,” Hayden said. “It’s a good track. I made the podium there in 2006, although I haven’t gotten the results I’d like there in recent years, especially last season. I’m looking forward to it.”

After the Catalunya GP, the 2011 MotoGP season really hits its stride with 6 races in 8 weeks.

“The two weeks off have been okay, but I enjoy this part of the season, with back-to-back races,” Hayden said. “The next month and a half is going to be busy, because this is when the season really gets going. Even though our end result wasn’t a lot better in Le Mans, I definitely think we were closer to the front. Ducati hasn’t stopped working over the last couple of weeks, and we’ll see at Barcelona if we can keep going on the right path.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

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