Press release previews from Factory Yamaha, Repsol Honda, Gresini, Bridgestone, Ducati, NGM Forward and PBM ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez:
MotoGP Returns to Europe for Round Two at Jerez
After a dazzling start to the 2012 season under the floodlights of Qatar, the MotoGP paddock returns to Europe for the Gran Premio bwin de España at the Jerez circuit. Yamaha Factory Racing arrive in confident mood following an inspired start to the Championship from rider Jorge Lorenzo. The Mallorcan claimed an historic victory for the first ever 1000cc MotoGP race, also his first at Qatar in the premier class. The Andalucian circuit is a favourite for Lorenzo with two successive 250cc wins in 2006 and 2007 and two premier class victories in 2010 and 2011.
Texan team mate Ben Spies arrives in Spain with his eyes on the podium, determined to put his 2012 Championship fight back on track after a difficult first race in Qatar. Chronic chatter on his 1000cc YZR-M1 in the opening race left him fighting valiantly to make the finish line and earn valuable Championship points. Jerez has yet to deliver for Spies, 2010 saw an unfortunate retirement from the race after 20 laps and last season saw him as one of the many riders to fall as a result of the treacherous race conditions.
The 4.423km Jerez circuit, sitting within a natural amphitheatre, is characterised by numerous quick direction changes and few hard braking points. The Yamaha YZR-M1, famed for its class leading agility, has won at Jerez for the last three years in a row. This weekend marks the 26th successive Grand Prix race at the track.
“I’m very excited to be coming back to Jerez again. We were very strong here in our test and I have always had good results. The competition will be tough; I expect Casey and especially Dani to be very fast. Qatar was a perfect start to our season; we worked very hard for that incredible victory. Now we get to race in front of our home fans, I will try to make sure we make a good show for them! Let’s hope it doesn’t rain this year!”
“I’m feeling good, I haven’t had great results at Jerez yet but we had a really positive test there so I’m confident. The Yamaha M1 is working well at all circuits we’ve been to so far. After a tough start at Qatar my goal at Jerez is starting the season again, I’m going to do the best I can to deliver. We had a good Qatar weekend except for the race, we know our pace is strong, the bike is competitive and I’m riding well so we should have a successful weekend.”
“I’m looking forward to Jerez, it’s always a great event with a lot of spectators. Jorge has won two years in a row; our aim is to make it three! After Qatar we are very confident with the package, with the hard work of the team and with Jorge’s performance. We’re looking forward to Friday to start again.”
“We are arriving in Jerez in the best possible way after Jorge’s win in Qatar. The team is very confident that we can continue to deliver strong results. Despite the issue in the race Ben had a very strong weekend in Qatar in the practice sessions so we know he can be very competitive against his rivals. When we tested here earlier in the year the 2012 1000cc M1 was immediately fast so we expect to start this way on Friday.”
JEREZ SIGNALS START OF EUROPEAN SEASON
After the traditional opening night under the lights in Qatar the MotoGP World Championship begins its European summer road trip in Spain this weekend as Jerez de la Frontera prepares to host the world's premier motorcycle racing series, as it has done every year since 1987. For Team San Carlo Honda Gresini riders Alvaro Bautista and Michele Pirro the second round of the season presents an opportunity to build on the progress made in Qatar and show their true potential at a circuit more suited to them. Bautista is determined to enter the battle at the front of the pack in front of his home crowd, having established a good feel for his Honda RC213V machine around this track during preseason testing. Pirro's main challenge is to continue development of the team's new CRT bike, which has shown good potential during its limited track life so far. A two-week break since the last race has given the team time to work on the fledgling machine, with Pirro hopeful of an increasingly competitive package as the season progresses.
Alvaro Bautista “It was a tough weekend for us in Qatar because I struggled to find the confidence with the bike that I had enjoyed during preseason testing. We tried a lot of things without ever establishing a good feeling and I had to work very hard in the race to get 100% out of what we had. It was important for us to finish the race and to finish it in seventh was a positive way to finish a difficult weekend. During this short break I have been training hard every day and enjoying some time relaxing with my family, without ever taking my mind off the job. We have some extra PR work to do this weekend but I always look forward to Jerez because it is a very special race to me. I missed out last year through injury but we gathered some good data during preseason that should help us have a good race on Sunday. Our objective is to run with the guys at the front, which would be great because it is always such a pleasure to race at Jerez in front of the fans. Jerez always feels like the true start to the season because it is the first European round and everything runs according to the normal daytime schedule. It is a real festival of motorcycles and it's exciting for the fans and riders. I have some unforgettable memories of Jerez because it was here that I took my first ever Grand Prix win and it would be nice if I could get my first MotoGP podium here too.”
Michele Pirro “It was exciting for me to make my MotoGP debut in Qatar, racing alongside so many great champions. Unfortunately it wasn't an easy debut from a technical point of view because our bike still has some teething problems, which is to be expected, so I wasn't able to find my limit despite a lot of hard work from the team. They are putting in a huge effort and I hope that is rewarded in a positive fashion in Jerez. It won't be easy because we don't have a magic wand to wave but I am confident that we can take another step forward and be on the pace of the best CRT bikes out there. Jerez is one of the best events on the calendar and the atmosphere there is very special. We all believe in this project and hopefully Jerez can prove to be a launchpad to bigger and better things.”
Fausto Gresini “The first race of the season in Qatar gives us an idea of how the season can be for us and I thought Bautista showed the potential to be running at the front in future. It wasn't an easy weekend because we had three cashes to contend with but in the end it was a positive weekend. He ran with a competitive group, fought hard for sixth place and could have maybe even finished higher. He had a good pace at Jerez in testing despite a few crashes there too so if he can improve his feeling for the Honda RC213V from Qatar he should have a good weekend. The incredible Spanish crowd will be behind Alvaro at Jerez which is an important factor and can help him make that step up to the lead group. It wasn't an easy debut for the CRT project in Qatar because the bike is still so young and needs a lot of work, especially with us having fallen behind the planned schedule. It is an important project to us and the guys are working hard on it with a lot of enthusiasm. That includes Michele, who is giving his maximum every time he goes out on track and I am sure we will see marked improvements this weekend after that first real outing with the bike in Qatar. With the changes we have made since then we can look forward to taking another step forward at Jerez.”
Highly motivated Repsol Honda Team heads to Jerez
This week the 2012 MotoGP World Championship heads to the south of Spain for the Jerez Grand Prix, the second round on the calendar.
Following the positive Championship debut with two podium finishes at Losail circuit - second place for Dani Pedrosa and third for Casey Stoner - the Repsol Honda riders arrive in Jerez confident and look forward to repeating the same good potential they showed in pre-season at this track.
The pre-season tests are a good reference to start working from this weekend. Casey Stoner managed to set the fastest lap (1'38.780) while Dani Pedrosa, lapped under his circuit record in Jerez (1'39.731 in 2010) with a best lap time of 1'39.157 and did a race simulation maintaining a high pace.
Dani Pedrosa, who will be making his 100th premier class start on Sunday, has visited the podium in Jerez in the last seven years with two victories (2005 and 2008) and five second positions, while the best result for Casey is a third place in 2009.
DANI PEDROSA World Championship Position: 2nd with 20 points
"The pre season test at Jerez was positive for us, we had good feelings on the bike and finished happy, so I'm really looking forward to going there for the Grand Prix this weekend. We need to be very focused and have a good qualifying session in order to start the race in a good position. I love the Jerez circuit and the passionate support of the Spanish fans, I hope the grandstands are full again as it adds to the unique atmosphere there. We had a great race in Qatar and to start the season on the podium is important, but we cannot relax, we will be aiming for another strong race this weekend".
CASEY STONER World Championship Position: 3rd with 16 points
"After a difficult race in Qatar, I'm looking forward to Jerez. We had a very good pre-season test there, it's a track that hasn't been so good for me in the past so the fact we were able to hold a good pace there in testing has given us a lot of confidence. We still have some issues that we really need to resolve with the bike especially the chattering in the entrance and exit of the corner, when we solve these we believe we will have a very competitive package. Since Qatar I've been working on the arm pump issue I experienced in the race and it's definitely feeling better, we've treated it the same way as when I had it in 2010 at Silverstone so I'm hoping it won't be a problem for us this weekend".
Bridgestone MotoGP Race Preview - Round 2: Jerez, Spain
24 April 2012
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium.
Bridgestone wet tyre compound available: Hard.
After a thrilling season opener at Qatar, MotoGP heads to the Jerez circuit in southern Spain where huge crowds are expected as Europe gets its first taste of MotoGP action in 2012.
Jerez is a popular circuit among fans and riders and its balance of left and right-handed, as well as slow and fast turns, makes it technically demanding for riders. From a tyre standpoint, the layout of the circuit puts equal demands on both the left and right shoulders of the tyre and so there is no need for an asymmetric rear tyre. Track temperatures at Jerez for this time of year are usually around the 40°C mark, though rain at last year’s race and in pre-season testing earlier this year are proof that wet conditions are a possibility for the race.
Bridgestone will introduce its new front specification tyre with a revised construction at Jerez, with two pieces being made available to each rider for the race weekend. The new specification tyre will only be made available in the harder compound as the greater durability this option provides makes it better suited for race use.
Recent history shows that the Jerez circuit suits local riders, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo winning the past two races at the venue, while Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa won in 2007. A first ever win at Jerez will be on the agenda for Casey Stoner on the other Repsol Honda, while Valentino Rossi’s affinity with the Jerez circuit where he has won five times previously will provide extra impetus for the Ducati team as they fight for the podium.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“After the excitement we had in Qatar I anticipate more close racing at Jerez as this circuit has produced several good contests over the years and many riders are in good form at the moment. Jerez is a very important occasion for Bridgestone as not only is it the first time our new specification front tyre is available to riders at a race weekend, it also sees the new wet tyre allocation regulation come into effect.
“After analysing wet tyre performance at last year’s race and pre-season testing in Jerez and ongoing discussion with the Safety Commission, we have decided to change the allocated wet compound for the Jerez race from soft to hard. However, with the new regulation in place if after the first wet practice there is a consensus among riders that the conditions warrant a different wet tyre compound, Bridgestone, following consultation with the Race Director can make an alternative wet tyre compound available. This change in wet tyre allocation is yet another example of how Bridgestone is working closely with Dorna and the FIM to improve rider safety.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Jerez is a technical circuit with a mix of fast and slow corners as well as some elevation changes and the diversity of the corner layout means a tyre with a balanced character is required to provide good handling in both the low and high speed sections. Jerez has an almost even distribution of right and left-hand corners so we will supply symmetrical rear tyres in the soft and medium compound options.
“Though the track temperature during the race weekend at Jerez is historically high, conditions can be quite variable as evidenced at last year’s race and during pre-season testing this year when rain fell. In addition to the regular front tyre compound choices of medium and hard for Jerez, we are also making a soft front option available this year in case there are unusually cool conditions. The race at Jerez will also be the race debut for our new specification front tyre and each rider will be provided with two pieces of the new front tyre in the harder compound option.”
NGM Mobile Forward Racing at Jerez for the second round of the championship
The championship continues and this time it is back in Europe at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit that the team continues their adventure.
In the MotoGP class, Colin Edwards lands on Andalusia soil as leader of the MotoGP CRT category after finishing first among the new prototypes that participate at this 2012 World Championship. The American rider will find a few new changes in terms of the electronics thanks to last week’s test of the Suter-BMW bike with Alex De Angelis as test rider.
In the Moto2 class, the rider from San Marino and Yuki Takahashi face this second round with a positive attitude after the unfortunate first race. For both riders the Jerez circuit has very positive associations: De Angelis achieved 3 podiums (2003 in 125cc, 2005 and 2006 in 250cc), while Takahashi finished second in 2008 in 250cc and was 4º in 2012 in Moto2 on the first line of the starting grid.
The Jerez weekend will begin with the first MotoGP Free Practice Friday April 27th at 10:10 followed y the Moto2 FP1.
Marco Curioni - Managing Director Forward Racing Team
“Jerez is an important step for in our journey, our first European round in MotoGP, the “start-up” of the full team structure with the new technical trucks and the renovated hospitality where for the first time this Seaton we will be meeting the fans and guests.
It is also the circuit at which we have tested the most this pre season and where we have found the most difficulties.
It will be hard in Moto2, where Alex and Yuki have to redeem themselves after the results in Qatar and it will not be an easy task. Even for Colin it will not be simple, now he has established himself as CRT leader and has set standards that he has now to defend and Jerez is not he ideal scenario for our Suter-BMW, at least it was not the case during the last official pre season tests. We continue working and making progress, who knows…I remain optimistic.”
Ducati Team readies for Spanish Grand Prix
The Ducati Team travels to Spain this week for one of the most popular events on the world championship calendar, the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez de la Frontera.
Last year’s rain-affected race saw Nicky Hayden climb the third step of the podium, while Valentino Rossi, following a fall at the beginning of the eighth lap, mounted a charge through the pack to finish in fifth place. The Italian is the most successful rider ever at the Andalusian circuit, with no fewer than eight career wins, including six in the premier class.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
“I’ve always liked the Jerez track a lot, and we certainly must try to do better than in Qatar. By the end of the three-day test in March, we had found a decent setup for the GP12, so we have a base to start from for this track as we prepare the bike for the race. It will be very important to work well during the Friday and Saturday practice sessions, focusing particularly on maintaining a good direction and on taking advantage of what we currently have to work with.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
“I really enjoy the Jerez GP. In some ways it’s like the first race all over again, because it’s a little bit different than Qatar. We’re back in Europe, with our trucks and all the crowds. It’s also a special track. It’s really tough, with very few straightaways, so you have to ‘connect the dots’ and do some hard braking. If you want to do a good lap time, it’s important to be fast in those last two right-handers. I’m looking forward to it. We tested there last month, but since then we have a race under our belt and a bit more data to consider. We know the general setup of the bike now. Last year the weather definitely mixed things up a bit, so we’ll see what it does this time.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“We’re returning to Jerez a month after the winter test there, so we should find very similar conditions. The first race, in Qatar, was very difficult for Valentino, as we didn’t find a good setup that would let him feel comfortable on the bike. In Spain, by taking advantage of the work we did there in March, we’ll focus on helping him once again find a good feeling. Nicky is coming off of two days of testing at Mugello, where he had hoped to make up some of the time lost during winter testing, but bad weather prevented him from doing much. Still, he was able to get to know the bike better at the first round, and he’s confident in being able to find a good setup for this track as well.”
Ellison Seeking Jerez Improvements
PBM UK rider James Ellison hopes to put into practice the experiences of the opening round in Qatar when he contests round two of the MotoGP World Championship in Jerez this weekend.
The 31-year-old from Kendal returned to the Grand Prix arena for the first time since 2006 at the opening round where he brought the Claiming Rules Team (CRT) specification PBM UK Aprilia ART home in 18th place on the team's debut in the premier class.
The Penrith-based team have since had more valuable time to continue their steep development curve with the bike but with a race under both theirs and Ellison's belts, they are going into the first of the Spanish rounds with renewed optimism.
James Ellison: "I made the trip to Jerez a little early so I could get out on my bicycle in the Spanish hills around Madrid and also catch up with my wife's Spanish side of the family, it's been really good to see them and also great to get out on my bike without being soaked to the bone! It was a tough weekend mentally in Qatar as I didn't gel with the bike as much as I was hoping until the race and I made two big mistakes which cost us 10 seconds in total. Without those mistakes the result would have been far more promising so I have taken the positives out of it and will work really hard again at Jerez to try to carry on with the improvements we made in Qatar."
Phil Borley, Crew Chief: "We made a lot of progress in Qatar and although the result didn't reflect that, we did well to get a finish on the same lap as the leader and it's given us a lot more information to work with. This is a long term project and we have to find our feet so all we need again this weekend is another solid performance from James and we will get more competitive as the season progresses."