When the show on the racetrack turns into a party MotoGP engines fire up once again this weekend as the second round of the championship gets underway at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Always one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the ...
When the show on the racetrack turns into a party
MotoGP engines fire up once again this weekend as the second round of the championship gets underway at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Always one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the calendar, Jerez attracts hundreds of thousands of fans every year.
The passionate locals create an incredible atmosphere for the riders, who simply love to race at the Andalusian venue. Many of the thirteen curves are particularly demanding and put the talent and technique of the rider to the test, demanding stability and balance from the motorcycle.
It is a party within a party, and not just for the Spanish riders. The Team Honda Gresini pair are looking forward to the second round of the season with enthusiasm and determination.
Marco Melandri: "There is a lot of expectation for this first race in Europe and it's sure to be a great show. Jerez is a circuit I like a lot because it is so technical and complete. To ride fast there you need to have a well balanced bike. The track is characterised by long corners that require a stable front end set-up that gives you plenty of confidence. There isn't a long straight like in Qatar, so that is an advantage for us at this moment. Personally I feel good and can't wait to get back on track. We prepared well for this race during testing in terms of setting up the cycle part of the bike and choosing the tyres".
Toni Elias: "I can't wait to ride in front of my home fans. Racing here is always an incredible emotion, especially when you enter the stadium section through the Nieto- Peluqui -- Senna corners. You can feel the heat of the fans, it's really amazing. We took a major step forward at the test here with the Bridgestone tyres and in Qatar we made more progress, qualifying fourth fastest, although we need to work on the durability of the tyres. I'm confident - together with the guys in the team and the Bridgestone technicians we are working well so I'm hoping for another improvement in the second race. We are working to find a good base set-up, which is particularly important for Jerez, which combines fast and slow corners. There are some hard braking areas too and this is important for the set-up because you have to deal with that without losing any time through the corners".
The track: Home to the MotoGP World Championship since 1987, Jerez is a track that combines short, medium and long corners. It is a well balanced track that offers a bit of everything but nothing too extreme. The characteristics of the track make it imperative to have a balanced set-up on the bike. Several hard braking areas make front tyre choice crucial, whilst rear tyre choice is also important as the riders look to use as much of the bike's power as possible on the way out of the corners. The best places to overtake are turn one and the tight right hander at the end of the back straight.