Catalan MotoGP Betting Preview: Battle of the Barcelona Three

15Jun 2013

MotoGP

The Italian Grand Prix threw up a number of surprises a fortnight ago. One that wasn't a surprise however was Jorge Lorenzo's dominance. A feat he needs to repeat this weekend...

We are currently in what could be termed the Yamaha part of the season: A run of tracks that suit the Yamaha over the Honda. The Honda run of circuits is towards the end of the season and so now is the time Lorenzo has to stamp his authority and fight his way back to the lead of the title. Mugello was a must win and so too is Catalunya.

His team-mate Valentino Rossi may have snatached Friday's headlines by finishing top of the time sheets but that result is only skin deep. Rossi's lap was a one lap dash on soft tyres at the end of the session; a practice run at a qualifying lap. Rossi has qualified poorly this season and he needs to find himself further up the field at the start to give himself a shot at the podium. Catalunya is the sort of track that once you've lost the tow of the main group it's very difficult to claw your way back onto it, and Valentino knows he needs to start on the front two rows if he's to have any shot at a podium return on Sunday, and if he can then 1.7 or thereabouts is a decent bet for that result. Friday's quick lap had more or less a qualifying dress rehearsal feel to it than any real indication of race pace.

Lorenzo on the other hand, less than a tenth off that time of Rossi's mind you, did do it on race pace. He had a small crash this morning and didn't quite have the pace on his second bike but that won't be an issue for qualifying. Now, Catalunya is a circuit that produces some very odd races. Times are usually close and if you can't make a break early on then it's often a full race distance slog with the top guys in a group. But it's also extremely difficult to pass here. We've seen instances of guys running in close knit groups for full distance but unable to pass. If you're going to execute a maneuver here it needs to be perfect. See Rossi on Lorenzo in 2009 or Casey Stoner on Rossi in 2007. This is where Lorenzo can come into his own this weekend; his precision, lap after lap, makes him a very difficult man to pass in any instance. So even if we run in a pack, Jorge still holds the upper hand for me. On paper, 2.22 for a Lorenzo win seems a sensible investment. But, don't forget, motorcycle racing isn't run on paper.

If there's one man who won't care as much for executing perfect overtaking maneuvers it's Marc Marquez. He'll simply have a go. After crashing out in Italy he now really has nothing to lose so will be going all out. He struggled a little on Friday but was on it this morning and 5.3 for the win is a long shot, but he's sure to make things interesting.

Then there's Dani Pedrosa. He got out of jail in Mugello with a second place he himself didn't expect. He likes Catalunya but hasn't looked like challenging for the win here for many a year. His pace has been ok so far this weekend and I think his aim will be just to keep the pressure on Lorenzo and see what comes of it. He's a deserved second favourite at 3.05 but that's not long enough to entice me at this stage. If he can get out of Catalunya still leading the championship I'd think he'd be quietly pleased.

This weekend should be a case of seeing how Lorenzo can handle the pressure from his two fellow Barcelona born foes plus his Italian team-mate. If he can do that then he should win. And given he's the sort of man that usually appears immune to pressure, I'm tipping a win for Jorge. A win that in time will look a lot closer on paper than it most probably will be in reality.

Recommended Bet
Back Jorge Lorenzo for the win at 2.22

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Keywords: Catalan MotoGP, Barcelona, Jorge Lorenzo

Source: Betfair

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