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Page last updated at 06:08 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 07:08 UK
Catalunya MotoGP
Barcelona - 8 June, 2008

Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

Jorge Lorenzo on crutches
Lorenzo's Mugello crash was his third in successive rounds
You have to feel sorry for Jorge Lorenzo.

He's been pushing it to the limit for a while - and last time out, at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, it bit him.

In the past he's been lucky, his crashes have been in practice, but this time it was in the race.

He's probably learnt a valuable lesson.

He's lost touch with championship a bit but it will make him realise he needs to plug away.

I'm sure he'll win some more races this year but he was making it look a bit easy, so some guys will say he was asking for it - in a way, he was.

I pretty much guarantee Lorenzo will be champion one day.

He has huge natural talent but has to learn to tone it down a bit, and no-one can do that for him, only himself. He's hugely talented but experience counts for a lot.

This weekend's race is in Barcelona, in front of his home crowd.

These riders are the biking equivalents of Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, so they need the best tyre they can get under them.

Steve Parrish

He has to learn to race for himself, and not the crowd - it's amazing how often people come to grief in their home race with the home crowd cheering them on.

Fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa will absorb some of the crowd pressure but you don't want someone from your own country beating you.

Lorenzo will be world champion one day, but it won't necessarily be this year.

His Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi is on the same bike but with different tyres - Bridgestones, as opposed to Lorenzo's Michelins - which makes it harder for him.

Maybe Rossi was smarter that we thought when he went for different tyres, as he knew he'd have to swap data if they were on the same tyres.

So Lorenzo is effectively there with no team-mate and no data when he wants it, so he's done incredibly well.

The importance of tyres is huge, but hard to explain - it's a bit like a golf club.

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Different people like different ones, but it's difficult to understand how much difference there is between them until you're good enough to play off -2.

The average golfer couldn't spot the difference between clubs, nor could average biker with tyres.

But these riders are the biking equivalents of Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, so they need the best tyre they can get under them. It transmits the bike's power onto the track.

Every tiny tenth of a second and fraction of grip on the track makes a difference to them. The tyre gives more percentage advantage than any part of the bike.

What has happened this year is that Yamaha have hedged their bets.

Last year Bridgestone definitely had the advantage ahead of Michelin, but this year Michelin have moved on and sorted out their issues.

I've never seen a year where the products were so equal, so it's down to the rider to make the best use of the product he has underneath him.

So what did we learn about any of the other teams last weekend?

A lot of people were writing Casey Stoner off, saying he didn't have it to defend his world title, but he's proven that's not the case, so don't discount him.

He'll certainly be on the podium lots this year.

Reigning world champion Casey Stoner
Stoner is still world number one - for this year at least

And nobody had a tougher task at Mugello than James Tosleand.

He'd not raced there before and only had about an hour's dry track time in which to qualify and get to know the circuit.

When you think how little time he had on the track, it was excellent - he's like a sponge, absorbing everything at every race he goes to, so I can't wait for Assen and Donington, two circuits he knows.

He didn't have the settings he wanted at Mugello because he spent so much time learning the circuit.

He said he'd never been so tired after a race, because if the bike's not set up right you're fighting it, but it's better to finish sixth than crash going for fifth.

We've had some fabulous races but I want to see a blanket finish before the summer break.

This weekend, I think it'll be between the usual protagonists.

Rossi's on a roll, it's Pedrosa's home race and it's another fairly long track where we've seen great battles between Stoner and Rossi in the past - and we could easily see Lorenzo on pole.

Barcelona's always a wild crowd and it'll be tough for all the guys as it's back to back races, pretty intensive schedule

Catalunya prediction 1. Rossi 2. Pedrosa 3. Stoner

Steve Parrish was talking to Julian Shea

see also
Pedrosa leads after Lorenzo crash
06 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Impeccable Rossi wins at Mugello
01 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
30 May 08 |  Motorbikes
Rossi secures victory in France
18 May 08 |  Motorbikes
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
15 May 08 |  Motorbikes
Lorenzo shrugs off broken ankle
14 May 08 |  Motorbikes
Fresh injury setback for Lorenzo
08 May 08 |  Motorbikes
Rossi storms to victory in China
04 May 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP world championship
01 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
BBC pundits on MotoGP 2008
06 Mar 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP on the BBC
02 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Contact the motorbikes TV team
06 Mar 07 |  Motorbikes

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