Normality returns, at last. MotoGP is finally back at a track where the schedule follows the same pattern as the rest of the year, at a circuit which everyone in MotoGP – riders, teams, manufacturers, tire makers, equipment manufacturers – knows like the back of their hands, and at its normal slot in the calendar, late April and early May. After Qatar and Portimão, two tracks which held so many unknowns, we are very firmly back in known territory.
It is hard to overstate just how well everyone knows the circuit. From CEV to Red Bull Rookies to Grand Prix to WorldSBK, and even BSB and CIV, the Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto is used to race, to test, on track days and practice days. Riders have hundreds of laps at the circuit under their belts before they even reach the Grand Prix paddock. They then proceed to use Jerez as their main testing base for Moto3, then Moto2, and back in the pre-Covid days, even MotoGP would have a winter test at the circuit. It's even one of the main test circuits for the MotoGP manufacturers.
Even journalists have an intimate knowledge of the circuit. In the ten years of traveling to MotoGP events I did between 2009 and 2019, I must have visited the track somewhere between 20 and 30 times. "This is the track where almost all riders have the most kilometers, so everybody knows the circuit very well, every single corner, every bump," Luca Marini said. Even for a rookie, this is a less intimidating prospect. The only thing they have to learn is the bike. That, at least, is a relief.