No rest for MotoGP as action returns to Europe
Fresh from an action packed weekend in Argentina, the MotoGP paddock has now completed an exhausting journey back to Europe. This week sees Movistar Yamaha MotoGP set up camp in Spain for the first back-to-back race weekend of the year, the Gran Premio de España at the Jerez circuit in the South of the country.
Valentino Rossi arrives back in Europe excited to return to a circuit that has recorded him a considerable number of victories. The nine-time World Champion has an impressive record on the Andalucian circuit with a staggering six premier class wins and two additional victories in the 125cc and 250cc classes. Last year’s visit saw him finish just off the podium with fourth place.
Jorge Lorenzo is excited to return to his home country to race on familiar territory, the two-time premier class world champion has an impressive record at Jerez, with two 250cc wins in 2006 and 2007 and a further two premier class victories in 2010 and 2011. 2012 saw him take second on the podium, just 0.9 seconds from a third potential premier class win and last year saw him continue his premier class podium run with third.
The Jerez circuit was built in 1986 with the first Grand Prix taking place one year later. The 4.423km Jerez circuit sits within a natural amphitheater usually full to capacity with a dedicated MotoGP crowd and is characterized by numerous quick direction changes and few hard braking points.
With not even a week separating the two Grand Prix events, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will be once again back on track at the 4423 metre clockwise circuit, which is rich in motorsport history. Both Tech3 riders have had previous success here during the past years, as they seek to continue their positive work done so far this season with the French MotoGP team.
Bradley Smith intends to raise the bar this weekend as the series begins its European run of events. After another pleasing finish, the British rider’s optimism is high as he hopes to up the pace and assert himself as the leading satellite bike under the Andulacian sun.
Whilst, Spaniard Pol Espargaro will perform in front of his home country’s fans with the aim to put on a great show, as the 22 year old Catalan continues to gather pace and experience after a positive and notable beginning to his rookie campaign in the premier class.
NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, who made a great recovery in Argentina after crashing, showed a strong pace during the whole weekend and he hopes to capitalize with a good result on the Spanish track in front of his home fans. His team mate Colin Edwards, who was on the podium at Jerez in 2007, looks forward to race the first European round of the season.
“Jerez is one of the most special and important Grand Prix weekends of the season, the track is fantastic and there will be a lot of fans so the target is to improve and make the podium. We have to work a lot, the bike is good but we have some weak points which we have to improve to go faster so we can fight with the Hondas.”
“We come back to Europe and I’m so excited to race at home, in Jerez, in front of the Spanish crowd, especially after I’ve got my first podium of 2014 now. The taste of that podium was really great and sweet after two difficult races. The track is always amazing not only because of the layout but also the atmosphere; that is so magical. Obviously this race is going to be tough because both Honda riders are in a very good shape as we saw from Qatar, although Jerez is normally good for Yamaha it is also a special place for Honda. I think I have to improve my physical condition a little and also we need to improve as best as possible our bike and be patient and wait for our moment that for sure will come. Anyway, the latest results feed me to be stronger and gave me much more confidence. In Jerez I will push at the maximum to get another great result!”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We are all very happy to return to Europe after our adventures in South America. It is with mixed emotions that we come back to Europe, following Jorge’s first podium in 2014 after two very difficult races and Valentino’s fourth place that confirms his third position in the overall standing. We know our competitors are at their best but we are confident we will also be so from the start on Friday. It’s been a long and exhausting journey from Argentina to here but it is a testament to the professionalism of the team and riders that we will be giving 100% from the start. Both Vale and Jorge are very familiar faces on the Jerez podium, we aim to continue that tradition this year.”
“After what has been a great couple of weeks travelling from one continent to the next, it will be nice to get back to Europe, and to Jerez which is a circuit I, and the Yamaha favour. I scored my first Pole position here in 2008, and then won the race in 2009 in the 125 class, which are nice memories. For this year there’s a little work that needs to be undertaken on the bike, but I have full confidence that we will continue our steady improvements, and the team as well as Yamaha are doing a great job so far. However, the result from the last race was not where I would like to be, and I am determined to close the gap to the bikes in front of me, and who knows, possibly be in the hunt for a podium.”
“It may seem like a bit of a squeeze, but I am really happy that I get to go back out on my Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bike again in such a short space of time after the last race. I enjoy Jerez and I have had some great results here in the past, including my first World Championship win in 125cc, so this weekend I aim to please the fans, get a good qualifying, a great start and then see what happens. It will be really nice to race in my home country for the first time on a MotoGP bike, which will give me a boost and make me ride even harder. I can’t wait to get it started."
“After the crash in Argentina, I look forward to capitalize with a good result in Jerez. It was a pity because we did a good job and we had the pace to fight for the first five positions. In Spain we need to improve in the first part of the race when the tank is still full. I’m confident that we can get a good result in front of the Spanish fans”.
“I look forward to getting to Europe and the normal GP style. The “flyaway” races are awesome but Europe is Europe. I was on the podium in Jerez in 2007 and I get along well with the track. We need to figure out the machine in the first days, but I’m confident that together with the team we will find some new solutions to improve my feeling with the bike”.