Jerez previews from the Moto2 and 125cc teams:
NICO TEROL HEADS TO JEREZ AS EARLY 125 SERIES LEADER
Héctor Faubel hoping to open podium account for the season at first home race
The fuse is ready to be lit on the first of four firecracking Grand Prix weekends on Spanish soil this weekend as the Jerez circuit prepares to host the second round of the MotoGP World Championship. The target for the 125cc riders is a win at all cost, with the vociferous local crowd baying for a repeat of the Spanish victory hat-trick from last season. There are plenty of Spanish stars amongst the favourites for the win in the minor category this weekend after a dominant opening round in Qatar but home advantage doesn't necessarily play to their favour here, with the majority of 125cc competitors having come through the Spanish Championship regardless of their country of origin.
BANKIA Aspar Team rider Nico Terol took his own hat-trick of pole position, fastest lap and race victory at Losail two weeks ago and the man from Alcoy is keen to maintain his strong start to the season. Taking the 125cc World Championship lead to Jerez is not a new experience for him, having done so last year, although this time he is aiming to improve on second place and tale victory. His BANKIA Aspar Team colleague Héctor Faubel left the winter tests at Jerez with the fastest lap time and the experienced Valencian is a former winner here. His season didn't get off to the smoothest of starts in Qatar but he is calm and confident of a strong challenge this weekend. The team's third rider Adrián Martín is looking forward to racing on home soil after crashing out in the desert and the youngster is targeting a top ten finish.
Nico Terol: "I am really motivated about Jerez and to arrive there as series leader is an extra boost. I am sure we are going to have a great weekend along with the fans. It has been a very long winter but all the hard work was worth it as we saw in Qatar. I scored my first ever Grand Prix podium at Jerez so I have great memories of that. It is a demanding circuit with a bit of everything and you have to push in every corner to get a good set-up. I feel I'm in incredible shape and my objective is to fight for the victory again even though I know it won't be easy. It will be a tough race and there are a lot of guys out to win it, especially the Spanish riders. The team is working exceptionally well but we can't take our eye off the ball because every weekend is huge."
Héctor Faubel: "I can't wait to get to Jerez. At the last test we finished fastest and that makes me excited for the weekend ahead. If we do things the right way we can be setting the pace again and that is the target to get rid of the bad taste in our mouths from Qatar. The racing is always special at Jerez, the fans really get behind us all weekend and that gives you a lot of strength. Jerez is a circuit where I have always been able to ride fast but my best result is a third place so I want to improve on that and fight for the win."
Adrián Martín: "My objective next weekend is to be fighting in the top ten. I know Jerez quite well, which is important for us to be performing at our best and as near to the front as possible. We tested at Jerez not long ago so all the work we did back then should be useful and help us to find our references. We have a good set-up from the test. The key will be the fast corners."
MOTOGP FLIES INTO JEREZ FOR FIRST SPANISH FIESTA OF THE SEASON
MAPFRE Aspar rider Julián Simón and Xavi Forés determined to conquer Jerez
After a night race with an opening practice session on Thursday and the warm-up on Saturday things get back to normal this weekend for the MotoGP World Championship as it rolls into Europe for the first of four races on Spanish soil. The unmistakable smell of burning rubber welcomes the teams and riders to one of the most passionate and iconic races of the season, which takes place a month earlier than normal, with a host of home riders desperate to add victory at Jerez to their career stats.
It is an extra special weekend for MAPFRE Aspar rider Julián Simón, not just because it is one of the most exciting events a Spanish sportsman can take part in but because it is tenth appearance at this track since making his Grand Prix debut as a wildcard back in 2002. A lot of things have changed since then but his determination to be first to the chequered flag is stronger than ever. Luck was not on his side in the opening round in Qatar two weeks ago but he would love nothing more than to step onto the top of the podium on Sunday, which is also his 24th birthday. His MAPFRE Aspar team-mate Xavi Forés was disappointed with his own Grand Prix debut in Qatar but he is hopeful of making up for it on familiar territory.
Julián Simón: "This will be my tenth Spanish Grand Prix so I am really determined to make it a good one. In Qatar things didn't work out how we hoped so I want to set the record straight this weekend by finishing on the podium, hopefully with a win if possible. Sunday is my birthday so that would be the ideal way to celebrate. We need to start out well and do all we can to be consistently on the pace over the course of the weekend. We have a lot of data from winter testing, which went well for us, and I am sure this weekend will too."
Xavi Forés: "I am feeling very optimistic about the weekend because it is our first home race and at a circuit I know perfectly well. We had the opportunity to test at Jerez over the winter and it went quite well. Things started out okay in Qatar but didn't go our way in the end so I want to make up for that on Sunday. We are pretty well sorted in terms of set-up so I suppose it is a case of putting some laps together and getting into a rhythm. We didn't have any race pace in Qatar so maybe we need to do some longer runs at Jerez to prepare ourselves. I also need to qualify well because I saw at Qatar that if you are a long way back it is really difficult to recover ground."
PIRRO AND TAKAHASHI LOOK TO BUILD ON QATAR RESULT AT JEREZ
The partial satisfaction of Team Gresini riders Michele Pirro and Yuki Takahashi for their results in the opening round of the season at Losail will provide them with all the motivation they need to improve this weekend at Jerez. Fifth place for the Japanese rider left him slightly disappointed after mounting a strong challenge for the podium but confident that he can meet his objective at the very next opportunity, especially given the form he showed at the Jerez circuit during preseason testing. Michele Pirro has less confidence and experience at Jerez but his determination to figure at the front of the Moto2 field will no doubt see him do that in the near future. His target this weekend is a top six finish and he certainly has the potential to achieve it.
Yuki Takahashi "I am determined to improve on our performance in Qatar. It was important to finish the race at Losail but I think fifth place was beneath my potential and that of the Moriwaki MD600. Jerez is a circuit I like, we went well there during preseason testing and in 2008 I finished on the podium in the 250cc race. We are working well and the team are giving me a lot of confidence. I am sure I can have a good season and this weekend I will be doing everything I can to give the guys their first podium to celebrate."
Michele Pirro "At the end of the race in Qatar I wasn't particularly satisfied because I was sure I was capable of a better result but looking back I think we can say it was a decent start. It was the first time I had ridden at night and not having a warm-up before the race made things even more difficult. Over the first few laps I was guilty of 'falling asleep' a little when I was chasing Smith and I lost valuable time. It is all experience for me though and the result at Qatar is a decent starting point. Jerez is a circuit I like even though I don't know it particularly well but if you want to be a consistent frontrunner you have to like them all!"
Fausto Gresini "We could have maybe done better in Qatar but I was satisfied and proud of the riders and the team. I could see that the working environment was a positive one and there is an important relationship there that will help us get the best out of the Moriwaki MD600. Takahashi is already a Moto2 frontrunner and his fight for the podium in Qatar proved that. Pirro is making great progreess and his determination will soon ensure that he is fighting for top results. In Qatar we weren't at 100% but we will be working hard to be exactly that at Jerez. Things went well there over the winter tests and the data we gathered should allow us to be competitive."