Speed, split-seconds, sand, sun and a Mediterranean vibe. MotoGP fills the grid at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the 31st time this week. The ‘Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya’ is not only the ninth round of the current racing season - that has already thrown-up more than its fair share of surprises and tension - but also a prime party spot and where the fans will swap the rasping howl of MotoGP for the pulsing beats of clubs and hangouts like the Monster Energy Compound. They’ll lap-up the action that has already produced some of the closest race finishes of all-time in the last three seasons and then chill at the beach with the gentle lapping sound of the sea a few miles away.
There’s no other Grand Prix quite like Barcelona. Just like there is no magical Mediterranean metropolis like the Catalan capital. MotoGP is currently the most heated world championship motorsport across the globe with 5 different winners and 11 different riders from the eight rounds to-date and a trek that has involved four continents.
Among the rivalries between the riders, the bravado between the brands (don’t let the fact that there is a tussle of aerodynamic supremacy fly right by you) and the stare-outs between the teams, this particular Grand Prix brings MotoGP into a spell-binding layout of 4.7km and 14 contrasting corners a short distance from the city centre. The first bricks of the track were laid just over thirty years ago and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has become a testing and racing hub for every international series that matters: MotoGP, F1, WorldSBK and more. The compact venue has dealt with thrills and tragedy in that time but has also become synonymous with searing pace and technical challenge; all orientated around the seemingly endless 1km start straight.
“It’s a spectacular track that I love,” grins 2020 world champion and Suzuki ace Joan Mir. “Every corner has something about it. The turns might seem a bit similar from the outside but this is not the reality because they all feel so different. I like riding there and I think anyone who has been lucky enough to have taken a bike around the track will say the same.”