Press release previews from the MotoGP teams and Michelin:
MotoGP arrives at Jerez de la Frontera for the Spanish GP, the first European round of the 2018 season
Following on from the first three overseas rounds of the season, the Ducati Team has now arrived in Spain, where the fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship will be held on Sunday at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Andalusia.
Andrea Dovizioso comes to the Spanish track leading the championship and, even though the Jerez circuit has never provided him with much satisfaction, he is confident he can produce a good race. Until now the best result for the Italian rider at Jerez has been a fifth place, which he obtained three times: in 2012, in 2014 and last year.
Jerez on the other hand has always proved to be a happy hunting-ground for Jorge Lorenzo, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Friday. In ten races at Jerez the Spanish rider has been on the podium eight times, winning the Spanish GP in 2010, in 2011 and in 2015. Last year Jorge scored his first podium for Ducati with a third-place finish.
The Jerez de la Frontera weekend gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 9.55 am, while the 25-lap race is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 14.00 CET.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (46 points)
“We come to the first European round of the season first in the standings, a situation that is clearly much better than last year, and this is certainly positive. We managed the first three rounds well, but we could also see that our rivals are all really fast. In November last year we did a good test at the Jerez circuit and the new asphalt had good grip, but it was colder then so we will have to wait for Friday to get a better idea of the track conditions.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 16th (6 points)
“After the difficult race at Austin it’s now time to change the situation and I come to Spain determined to do well. The Jerez circuit is one of my favourite tracks and I’ve got some good memories here, including my first podium for Ducati last year. I think it is the right circuit to begin to reverse the early season trend and it will be important to begin well on Friday and see what the track surface is like with the new asphalt. We’re working hard and we must continue to think positively. I don’t intend to give in.”
The Jerez de la Frontera circuit
Built in 1986, the Jerez circuit hosted its first GP the following year, rapidly becoming one of the most popular tracks of the entire MotoGP calendar. The circuit is situated in a valley in Andalusia in the south of Spain, offering spectacular views and nearly always characterized by excellent weather. Its numerous grandstands provide perfect viewing facilities for over 150,000 spectators and the track was resurfaced in 2017.
Repsol Honda Team ready to tackle the season’s Continental phase
The Repsol Honda Team has returned to Europe, to Southern Spain, for Round 4 of the MotoGP Championship, fresh from Marc Marquez’s maiden win of the season in Austin, with which he equalled Mick Doohan (Mugello, 1993-1998) and Casey Stoner (Phillip Island, 2007-2012) with six consecutive premier-class victories at the same circuit*. The amazing result allowed Marc to move up the order to second, just one point off the top of the World Championship classification.
Dani made his MotoGP debut at Jerez in 2006 with a brilliant second-place finish, and last year he reached an historic landmark in winning the 3,000th Grand Prix race ever held and taking the Repsol Honda Team’s 100th victory in the MotoGP class. He will try to make the best of his good feeling with the track to overcome the difficulties of recovering from surgery to his right wrist.
Marc and Dani have stood together on the podium at the Andalusian track on three occasions, in 2013, 2014, and last year.
The Repsol Honda Team has completed a positive one-day private test in Jerez – which has been fully resurfaced last summer, on 26 March.
The circuit will be renamed in honor of Ángel Nieto in a special ceremony on Thursday, May 3.
Along with the recent Grand Prix of the Americas, the Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix will be the second event this season to be shortened in length compared to previous years. This time the race will change from 27 laps to 25.
At the Gran Premio Red Bull de España
Dani Pedrosa has 4 wins: 1 x 250 (2005) and 3 x MotoGP (2008, 2013 and 2017), plus an additional 7 podiums and 4 pole positions.
Marc Marquez has 1 win: MotoGP (2014), plus an additional 6 podiums and 3 pole positions.
“We arrive in Spain following a great weekend and a great result in Texas, but now a new phase begins in Europe, where we’ll see the level of every team and rider. Here, the circuits are generally different and more ‘traditional,’ starting with Jerez, which is a tighter, slower, and more difficult track than the ones like Austin. We had a good setup there, and now it will be important to also find a good base for circuits like Jerez. We had a good test there at the end of March, and we’ll approach it with a positive mentality. Racing in front of my home crowd and my fan club will of course add to the good feeling and atmosphere. We’ll keep working hard and focusing on consistency, which is a crucial point for the title chase; I think Dovi will be a great rival, as he was last year. Anyway, this year I feel really good on the bike: In Qatar, Argentina, and Austin, the confidence was always there, and that’s the most important thing. We’re just one point behind in the championship, so we must continue this way.”
“I’m looking forward to the next race, in Jerez. Finally we get to Europe. I’ve had one more week for my wrist to recover, and hopefully that will help with my riding. It was important to get some points in the last race, and once again we’ll try our best at Jerez. Hopefully on Friday there will be less pain in my hand, and the strength will be good enough to ride in the best possible conditions at a track that I like very much, surrounded by all my fans.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Sets Up Camp for the Grand Prix of Spain
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi journeyed back to Europe to continue the 2018 MotoGP World Championship fight this weekend at the Gran Premio de España, held at the Circuito de Jerez.
Viñales is particularly eager to get the show going in Jerez, so he can meet the Spanish fans at his first home Grand Prix of the season. After a strong second place in America a fortnight ago, he moved up to third place in the championship rankings, only five points from the top. With the support of the local fans he hopes to bridge the margin and fight for the lead in the standings.
Last year, the young gun equaled his sixth-place best MotoGP finish in Jerez, which he had previously scored in 2016. This year nothing but a podium place will please him, as he's determined to revisit the Andalusian podium for the first time since his Moto3 win in 2013.
Rossi is also looking forward to the first European Grand Prix of the year. Having made a positive step with the YZR-M1 in the previous weeks, he is excited to confirm his findings in Jerez and challenge for a place on the rostrum.
The Doctor arrives in Spain holding seventh place in the championship standings and he's determined to put up a fight. He hopes to add another top finish to his list of successes achieved in Jerez. He has claimed seven premier class wins at this circuit (in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2016), secured two second places (in 2008 and 2014), and achieved two third places (in 2010 and 2015) in the premier class alone.
Circuito de Jerez is vastly popular amongst riders and fans, thanks to its consistently good weather and beautiful scenery. The track was built in 1986 and hosted its first Grand Prix one year later. It's usually filled to its full capacity, giving the event a great atmosphere. The recently resurfaced 4.4km circuit sits within a slight valley that serves as a natural amphitheater, allowing race fanatics not to miss any of the overtakes that are bound to happen thanks to the multiple fast corners and hard braking points.
Position: 3rd - Points: 41
"After the podium in Austin I can say that I'm happy overall, our mind changed a lot during the last races. Now we are focused on the next race in Jerez, we are very motivated and positive, and this is good to recover again the feeling that we had last year at the beginning of the season. Last year Jerez was a difficult race for me. I suffered a lot because we had some issues with the front tyre, but now we have more information to be even stronger than in the last weeks, so we will work hard during this GP to be on the podium again. The new asphalt of the circuit has grip, so I'm quite positive. I can't wait to be at the Circuito de Jerez; one of my home GPs in Spain, and a track that I really like - I enjoy riding there. We will go for the win and we'll push for it. The support of the fans will help me to do the rest."
Championship: 7th - Points: 29
"I'm happy to come back to Europe. The first races of the season didn't go very well but we tried something positive. Our M1 is improving and now we arrive at Jerez, a very important track to understand our potential. Last year we struggled a lot, but this year I think we can be better. Jerez is a circuit that I like very much, I have had some good races here and I would be happy to be back on the podium. Together, me and my team, we'll work hard to find the best set-up and understand the behaviour of the bike with the new asphalt. On Monday we will also have a very important test. We want to improve and fight for this championship."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"Coming back to Europe after the first three overseas races is always nice, because we get the full team together for the first time this season, which adds to the atmosphere at the Grand Prix of Spain. Racing in Jerez is always special, thanks to the thousands of fans that support our team. Our riders both really enjoy the Jerez track and are in a great shape, so we're looking forward to a competitive weekend. It will be interesting to see how the resurfacing of the track will affect us. Last year we struggled, but we made some big steps with our YZR-M1 in the recent weeks and we are optimistic that we can confirm our findings this weekend and fight at the front of the pack. It will be a busy few days, especially with the Official IRTA Jerez Test right after the GP weekend, but we are looking forward to getting as much work done as possible."
THE LONG EUROPEAN LEG OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP STARTS IN JEREZ
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 2.
With two podiums, one for each rider, already on the scoreboard in the first three races of the season, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR are ready to start the long European leg of the season, which will form a crucial part of this year’s Championship. With Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone able to score a third place each in Argentina and Texas respectively, it proved the improvements done during winter and the renewed competitiveness of the GSX-RR.
These positive signs early in the season also indicate that even better results are achievable, although the whole team is well aware that the European circuits are very different from the “fly-away” rounds across the oceans. Jerez in particular is quite a tight track, which last year proved to be very demanding for the Suzuki machine. However, this year the premises are completely different, given how much the rider-bike package has improved, and the extra level of competitiveness found.
Andrea Iannone had a good start to the Spanish GP in 2017; 5th on the grid after qualifying and finding himself in podium contention in the early laps of the race, but unfortunately he had to give up his dreams of glory when he crashed out with 18 laps to go. Alex Rins did not take part in the race, as he was still suffering with his arm injury, and test rider Takuya Tsuda took his place with the main objective of collecting data and information.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“After the two podiums in Argentina and Texas it will be interesting to see how our package is on a European circuit. With Jerez we will start the long European season, with many races in a short space of time, and it will be a crucial part of the season. I hope we will be able to confirm the good form we’ve shown in the winter tests and especially in the first three races. So far we proved to be able to be competitive at the first three circuits, so I’m curious to see how we can respond in such a different circuit like Jerez. We tested here last November, in a test that was crucial for the development as we were about to choose the actual package we’re using now, it will be interesting to make some real comparisons and back-to-back tests to check how much we’ve improved since then. Getting consecutive podiums, one each, I believe that both Alex and Andrea can do a good job also in Jerez, their competitiveness has increased and we will do our best to deliver them the best possible package to aim for a good result.”
“I hope it will be another positive race. Last year was not an easy one for us, we had to face some troubles, but yet we could still find some positives that allowed us to improve our knowledge. This year we arrive in Jerez in a totally different mood and condition, we did some solid improvements and we feel in good shape. I’m happy to get back to racing after the good podium in Texas, it has been a boost; a proof of the trust in me, and a reward for the hard work that me and my team have done. Seeing the progress we are making and the positive path we are on, I hope we will be able to be competitive again and score another positive result.”
“For me this GP will be a sort of ‘rookie experience’ as last year I missed the race and could only test here at the end of the year, however I feel much more solid this year. For a few races now I will lack the ‘GP experience’ because of my long injury time out last year, but we have established a positive working method which allows me to look at any race with confidence. My experience has improved a lot since last year, with many races already completed with the GSX-RR, which makes me feel confident towards this race too. The early signs of this year proved that we have taken important steps forward and that we can be competitive. I’m not expecting Jerez to be a friendly circuit for us, but thanks to the improvement we’ve done technically, and also in my riding, we can look at this round with optimism.”
THE MOTOGP EUROPEAN TOUR BEGINS
ESPARGARÓ: "I LOVE JEREZ, WE ARE READY TO ASTONISH"
REDDING: "THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TRACK WILL HELP US"
After three intercontinental rounds, MotoGP is back in Europe for an 11-round tour on the most exciting tracks of motorcycle racing history. The tour kicks off with Jerez de la Frontera for the GP of Spain, a World Championship GP Motorcycle Racing staple since 1987.
For both of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders, this will be a particularly important event. Aleix Espargaró will be on his home pitch at a circuit that he loves and that seems to be a good fit for the dynamic characteristics of the RS-GP. After earning his first points of the 2018 season in Austin, the Spanish rider has the motivation and the potential to aim for important results.
Scott Redding tackled the opening rounds of the season as an apprentice, focusing on increasing his familiarity with the new bike and the new team. The experience gained in the first three Grand Prix races will help the British rider on friendlier circuits.
"We are heading to Jerez with positive sensations. We knew that Austin would be a difficult track for us, but we did well and in the tests after the race, we were able to improve even more. I love the European circuits. They are narrower and have different asphalt, plus my Aprilia is a better fit for tracks like the one we will be on this weekend. Our level is decidedly higher than the results of the first races would indicate. In Europe we will be able to be the pleasant surprise of this championship."
"It's always good to get back to Europe where our work is a little more 'conventional' on the weekend. Jerez is a circuit that suits the characteristics of the RS-GP well. We did pre-season tests here and the sensations were good. The track has different characteristics than what we have seen so far, so this is one more reason for me to aim at taking another step forward. We have only shown a glimpse of our potential. The only thing we were lacking was the experience to adapt the setup quickly to the different conditions."
Mika Kallio returns to action this weekend in Jerez
KTM test rider Mika Kallio makes his season debut this weekend when the fourth round of the MotoGP World Championship arrives to Jerez, Spain.
When the MotoGP season continues this weekend in Jerez Mika Kallio returns on the grid for the first time since the Valencia GP last November.
- For sure it is great to race again, but at the same time I realize, that there has been a long break since the last GP. The preparation hasn´t been ideal compared to the other riders who have their racing rhythm on, Kallio admits.
The Finn however does not spend too much time worrying about the advantage others might have.
- It was similar situation last year and still I managed to make good results. This is not the optimal case, but I have all the possibilities to be the fastest KTM rider and if everything goes perfectly, then there is a chance to be among the top ten, or at least close.
Kallio heads off to the weekend with a realistic mind. KTM factory riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith have faced challenges to achieve points in the three first GPs of the season.
- The beginning of the season has been more difficult than expected with the new bike. During the winter we were not able to improve the new model as much as desired and even though steps were taken, other teams went forward as well with amazing pace.
The upcoming weekend will be interesting regarding the setup of his KTM RC16. Kallio was testing last week in Mugello and based on the results there and the tests of early season, new things are in place.
- My bike will differ somewhat from what Espargaro and Smith have. This is a new version that is based pretty much on the next year´s model already and for sure it will be interesting to see what the race performance of the new bike is.
Kallio also hopes that the weather in Jerez would be on their side.
- For us it would be very important that the weather stays good, so that we get a full experience with the new bike. Even if the overseas GPs have been difficult for KTM, I believe that we can improve in Jerez. If I managed to beat the factory riders, then the weekend would be successful for me.
The MotoGP qualifying will take place on Saturday at 14:10 local time and the race on Sunday at 14:00.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo is keen to kick off European season in Spain
Following three exciting rounds for Johann Zarcoand Hafizh Syahrinin Qatar, Argentina and Texas, the Grand Prix circuit is heading back to Europe this week for the Spanish GP in Jerez de la Frontera, where both Monster Yamaha Tech3riders aim to continue their respective strong performances.
However, Zarco has an impressive statistic under his belt, as apart from his first ever MotoGP race in Qatar 2017, the French star never missed out on the points and therefore intends to extend his success with a 21stresult inside the points scoring ranks in succession this weekend in Andalusia. Meanwhile Syahrin maintains the top spot of the Rookie of the Year ranking, although he wasn’t able to finish the Americas GP. The Malaysian MotoGP newcomer is set to attack again, starting with the first Free Practice on Friday at 9.55 local time.
Championship: 5th– Points: 38
“We’re back to Europe with the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez, a track, that I think everybody likes and I enjoy it, too. I’ve got some great memories from last year and I want an even better souvenir this year. I feel the bike well and after Texas I needed some time to get along with the jetlag, which was quite difficult this time. It took me two days to have the full energy during the day back, but now I feel ready enough and I’m just happy to be back on my bike. I’ll try to push the Yamaha in the right way to fight for the victory, if we are able to do so. Let’s trust in the victory and the podium and wait and see what happens.”
Championship: 13th– Points: 9
“I’m looking forward to the next race in Jerez de la Frontera. My physical condition is getting better and better and I think I meanwhile learned what I need for the big bike. After the disappointment in Texas, I’m feeling good again and I was training a lot with the bicycle, dirt bike and trial, so I’m more than ready to get it started again. I will try to avoid to repeat the mistake I did in the Americas GP Warm Up and I hope I can end up in the points scoring positions again.”
“We had a few days at the office on the way back from the USA, that helped everybody to recover and to get ready to organize the logistics for the European rounds, who are quite different to the overseas Grand Prix’. That kept all of us busy, but now we already have half of the team on the road driving to beautiful Andalusia. Jerez is always a very special place because of the location, which is truly amazing, because of the fans that are passionate and really hot and because of the racing, which is always incredibly close and exciting there. We at Monster Yamaha Tech3 arrive in Jerez with an interesting position being the joint independent team leader with Johann and Cal Crutchlow equal on points and leading the rookie classification with Hafizh. We have great memories of how Johann and the Yamaha YZR-M1 are working in Jerez from last year, where he had an incredible fight, leading the race for some laps, fighting with Marc Marquez and only giving up the podium to Jorge Lorenzo. Let’s hope we can repeat this kind of performance this year. Johann is eager to continue the incredible start of year he is having. On Hafizh’ side, I would say the same. He was really disappointed, that he was not able to score in Texas, but we could see that in Qualifying and before the crash he was very fast and he will want to be fast like this again and fighting with his fellow rookies. Spain is a special country for him, because this is his base in Europe. He has a lot of fans there and his nickname is ‘El Pescao’, therefore this round is one of his second home GP’s. Everybody at Monster Yamaha Tech3 can’t wait to be on the track to meet all of our friends we haven’t seen since Valencia 2017, because some of the staff do not follow the overseas. It will be the first GP where we can see everybody working in MotoGP and we can’t wait to meet them there.”
CRUTCHLOW TARGETS PODIUM FINISH IN JEREZ
PRESS RELEASE: 03 May 2018 | Jerez GP Preview
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow is looking to reassert his claims at the top of the MotoGP World Championship at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez this weekend. The Briton led the standings heading into the previous round in Austin following his memorable victory at the Argentina GP, but finished outside the points after a frustrating fall halted his progress in Texas.
Still amongst the early pacesetters, Crutchlow is determined to challenge for the podium places once again at a circuit where he enjoyed an encouraging test session during the close season. The 32-year-old – who claimed fourth-placed finishes at the Circuito de Jerez in both 2012 and 2015 – is expecting another challenging weekend, but remains confident he has the pace to be in the mix during Sunday’s race in southern Spain.
“It’s great to be back in Europe. We have a lot of travelling with the pre-season tests and the three flyaway races at the start of the year, so it’s nice to get the European season started and we’re looking forward to hopefully getting a good result here in Jerez. I’m happy with my start, I had a win and I felt great there (Argentina), but the worst one for me was Texas because I was competitive all weekend, enough to be on the podium and probably even second place with the pace that I had, but I made a mistake unfortunately.
“We have to try and continue with the positives; I could quite easily be leading the championship going into Jerez. We’re eight points down but that’s only ninth place and I could have finished a lot better than ninth (in Austin) with the pace I had, so that’s why it’s a little disappointing. But my team is fully behind me and giving me 100% support and we need to aim for the podium here – it’s as simple as that. We’ll assess the situation here, I think it’s going to be a strange weekend again with regard to tyres given the track surface temperature. The track is quite rough in certain areas so we’ll have to manage the situation well, but I look forward to riding here. I had a good test here at the end of last year, I felt positive and so we have to continue in that way.”
Reale Avintia Racing starts the European season at home soil
MotoGP GP of Spain – Circuito de Jerez
Reale Avintia Racing team riders, Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon, head Jerez for the fourth round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship this weekend. The Spanish Grand Prix will be the first European race of the season after three overseas races in Qatar, Argentina and America.
Tito Rabat heads his home race confident, Reale Avintia Racing rider is ninth on the standings thank to his great performance in the first three races. He is really comfortable with his new bike and his crew and, in Jerez, a track he knows very well and where he has been testing with his Ducati GP17 during the winter, Tito expects to be fighting at the front.
The track will be also familiar for the MotoGP rookie Xavier Simeon, as the Belgian rider completed a positive test at the Spanish circuit back in November and he is looking forward to start working from Friday to get close to the points positions. It wont be easy, because the level in MotoGP this season is very high, but Simeon is getting closer and he wants to step forward in Jerez.
“We did a great start of the season so far and I’m very happy with my performance in the first three races. Now we arrive in Europe and we will find smaller and more technical circuits, so we will see how we go there. I head Jerez al 100% and looking forward for a good result, we did a good test back in November and we will start with base set up. Racing at home is always special and the fans give you extra motivation, so we need to give our best to give them something to celebrate.”
“If I look back to my three first races in MotoGP I think that overall result has to be positive. We learned many things, like set up the bike fast and get the best of the 45 minutes available in each free practice session, we learned to get decisions with the tyres, sometimes right, sometimes wrong, and we did improve the bike and my riding style. Now we go to Jerez, a track where I have some experience with the MotoGP bike and I want to improve further to get a good result on Sunday.”
Lüthi and Morbidelli looking for improvement in Jerez
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Tom Lüthi and Franco Morbidelli head for Spain this weekend and round four of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship at Jerez
The MotoGP rookies endured a difficult outing at the technical and physically demanding Circuit of the Americas, for which both are looking to make amends with a more successful weekend as the championship lands in Andalucía for the first European race of the season.
Of the two it is Lüthi who has enjoyed the most success in the intermediate class in Jerez previously, having finished on the podium three times. However, Morbidelli has the advantage of having testing the Honda RC213V at the circuit back in November, a test that Lüthi was forced to sit out due to an injury sustained in a Moto2 qualifying crash in Malaysia.
Jerez is a demanding circuit on a MotoGP machine. The relatively narrow track, which has been completely resurfaced since last year's Spanish Grand Prix, features a combination of fast and slow turns with only two short straights and is renowned for highlighting any shortcomings in bike set up.
Jerez promises to be another tough test for Lüthi and Morbidelli in their debut season in the premier class, but it's a challenge that both riders are looking forward to taking on this weekend.
"I'm looking forward to racing in Europe again at Jerez. It's unfortunate that I missed out on the November test at the circuit, but it's positive that my crew were working there and that my crew chief Gilles Bigot already has some experience with the Honda RC213V at Jerez. Hopefully this means we will start the weekend on a little bit of a higher level. When I look back at Austin we couldn't really find any improvements on Saturday or Sunday and this is something we need to change in Jerez, with the goal being to make a step each day and to secure some points on Sunday."
"After the difficult race we had in Austin it will be important to regain some confidence this weekend in Jerez, which is a track we've tested at previously and for which we have more data and more experience compared to Argentina and Austin. We know that Jerez is a track where controlling the power and the tendency of the bike to wheelie out of the corners is important and that's what we need to focus on. We need to make another step forward with the bike, which will be the main goal this weekend."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"After a reasonable start to the season in Qatar and Argentina we struggled to give both riders a set up they felt comfortable with in Austin. This we need to address this weekend in Jerez, a tight and twisty track that we know from the past punishes severely any weaknesses in set up. This is important for us, as it will give us a good indication of exactly where we are with the bike and a clearer idea of which direction we need to work in with the set up. This weekend will be another challenge, but I'm confident that both Tom and Franco will step up and take advantage of the opportunity to increase their understanding of the Honda RC213V."
SPECIAL WEEKEND AHEAD FOR ÁNGEL NIETO TEAM AT JEREZ
Spanish MotoGP team head to home circuit, which will be renamed in honour of Ángel Nieto this weekend
The MotoGP World Championship is set for an emotional weekend in Jerez, as the Spanish circuit prepares to host the first European race of the season and to be renamed in honour of Ángel Nieto, a legend of motorcycle racing in Spain and worldwide. Tributes to the 12+1 World Champion will take place throughout the Gran Premio de España, where Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez arrive separated by just one point at the top of the standings. Last year's runner-up and World Champion are closely followed in the championship by Maverick Viñales, Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco, who have emerged as their closest rivals in this early part of the season.
It will be a special weekend for the Ángel Nieto Team at Jerez. The team that was itself renamed in honour of the 12+1 World Champion will be involved in the many tributes to Nieto this weekend, including the unveiling of a bust at the entrance to the track, the presentation of the Ángel Nieto Foundation and a lap of honour by his sons Gelete and Pablo on the Garelli 125cc and the Derbi 80cc before the races on Sunday. The Ángel Nieto Team riders Álvaro Bautista and Karel Abraham could have no better reasons to be motivated for this one, with the Spaniard also determined to put on a good show in front of the home support as he battles to overcome some problems with the feeling from his tyres on his Ducati. Karel Abraham heads into the European leg of the season still nursing some bumps and bruises from his crash on the Saturday of the last Grand Prix in Austin, although the Czech rider has been able to train on a supermoto bike and is hoping to further improve his condition in the final few days before the Grand Prix.
Álvaro Bautista: “Jerez will be a special race for everybody, not just for the home riders but for any motorcycle fan in the world as we pay tribute to our beloved Ángel Nieto. Looking ahead to the race itself, we can say this is a quite different track to those we have visited so far this season, shorter and with less time between the corners. It has been practically relaid fairly recently, so we will see how the tyres work here. We didn't test there in November so we have to wait and find out what the new asphalt is like. I am going into the weekend feeling as determined as ever to try and turn things around and overcome the difficulties with our bike. I am confident that in front of our fans we can take a step forward and find something extra. I am really excited to start the run of races in Europe.”
Karel Abraham: “We are going to give our best this weekend at Jerez. The track is one I like and it's a good place to race for the first time this season in Europe. It will also be a special weekend for the team because of the tributes to Ángel Nieto. As far as I am concerned, I arrive at Jerez still a little bruised and beaten after the crash in Austin, but hopefully over the next few days everything will improve. I rode some supermoto this week and felt much more comfortable on the bike.”
NAKAGAMI LOOKING FORWARD TO JEREZ
PRESS RELEASE: 03 May 2018 | Jerez GP Preview
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami wants to continue his positive start to life in the MotoGP class at the fourth round in Jerez this weekend. The Japanese rookie has adapted well to the premier category following his switch from Moto2 and finished in the points at both the last two rounds in Argentina and Austin.
While satisfied by his performances thus far, Nakagami is confident there is much more to come and is looking forward to returning to a circuit where he tested during the close season last November. The 26-year-old feels he is already much improved from that outing and is hoping for a good result in Sunday’s showpiece.
“The last test here was in November and since then I learnt a lot about the bike. But different layouts produce different feelings, so we’ll have to check tomorrow. Now we are back in Europe so it will be a big change as I think everybody in the field will be more motivated.
“After the test here in November, I will be really interested to see how much I’ve improved and look at the data. I’m satisfied with how things have gone so far, but I’m not 100% happy with our performances. I’m sure we can produce much better results, but this is racing – sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not. But the good thing is we’ve had three races now and we’ve finished all the races. My first priority is always to finish the race and then to learn from them, we’re expecting a little bit more from the results but we’ll take the positives and try to improve.”
GP of Spain (Jerez): Lorenzo’s lucky track
Ducati in Jerez
- Dovizioso leads the Championship after the GP of the Americas. Andrea is again in first position after his victory in the first race.
- Lorenzo scored his first podium with Ducati at the GP of Spain last year, in a race where he overtook Folger, Miller, Rossi, Viñales, Iannone and Zarco.
- With 5 victories, Jorge Lorenzo is in second place for the most number of wins at the Jerez circuit; and he has stood on the podium 10 times.
- Lorenzo has 7 pole positions in Jerez, making him the rider who has held the starting position the most number of times.
- Lorenzo has started from the front row 11 times in Jerez.
- Jorge Lorenzo holds the circuit record in Jerez (1'38.735 in 2015), the fastest lap record (1'37.910 in 2015), and the pole record (1'37.910 in 2015).
- At the GP of Spain on May 5th 2002, Jorge Lorenzo became the youngest rider to participate in a World Championship race, at 15 years and 1 day of age.
- The first pole position for Ducati was obtained by Capirossi at the Spanish GP of 2003, which was only the third race for the Italian MotoGP bike.
- The two podiums achieved in 2006 and 2007 in the 250cc category are Dovizioso’s best results in Jerez. His best position in MotoGP is the 5th he scored in 2014.
- For Lorenzo’s first year in MotoGP, he held pole position at the GP of Spain with an advantage of 7 tenths over the rider who qualified second.
- Ducati has the top speed record, with a total of 295.90 km/h achieved in 2015.
- Ducati has one victory in Jerez: in 2006 with Loris Capirossi, which was the first race of the season, and has four additional podiums: with Bayliss in 2003, Stoner in 2009, Hayden in 2011 and with Lorenzo last year.
- At this GP the circuit of Jerez will be renamed after the legendary rider Angel Nieto, who tragically lost his life last year.
- There will have been 32 races at Jerez after this weekend, putting the circuit just after Assen which has held races continuously since 1987.
- Jerez is the third circuit with the most GPs held in the history of the Motorcycle World Championship, behind the Dutch track, which is the only event that has been present since the start of the championship in 1949, and Spa-Francorchamps, which has held 40 races.
- Of the 31 GPs held in Jerez to date, only three of them have been in the rain: in 2000, 2004 and 2011.
- The corner onto the front straight, named Jorge Lorenzo, has decided many races and generated more than one controversy. The most outstanding were the races in 2005, with the collision between Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau, and the race in 2013 between Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo.
- In the last seven years, no rider has managed to score two consecutive victories at the Spanish track. The last rider to do it was Lorenzo in 2010 and 2011.
- Of all the circuits where Márquez has won, Jerez has his worst percentage of victories. He has only won one of the nine races he has contested there.
- In 1996, the public invaded the track before the final lap because they believed that the race had ended.
MICHELIN HEADS BACK TO EUROPE AND A DATE WITH HISTORY
Michelin has completed the fly-away start to the 2018 season and now MotoGP™ heads to its spiritual home as the championship moves to Europe and the first of 11 consecutive events on the continent with the Gran Premio Red Bull de España at Jerez in Spain beginning proceedings this weekend.
Michelin’s date with the Circuit de Jerez will also see the French company facing the third track in succession that has had significant work carried out on the surface since last year’s races. This time the 4,423m layout in the Andalusian region of Spain has undergone a complete resurface, but unlike the previous two events in Argentina and America, Michelin has had the chance to assess the data of the teams that have tested at the circuit and is heading to round four with good information as to the track’s properties. With this valuable data the tyre selection for this weekend will feature compounds designed to meet the needs of all riders, teams and machines, and give a thorough choice for all involved. The full range will feature soft, medium and hard MICHELIN Power Slick tyres for the front and rear, with the front all a symmetrical design, whilst the rears will be asymmetric and feature a harder right-hand side to cope with the extra stress that part of the tyre will face from the nine corners which travel in that direction, as opposed to just five left-handers. Should wet weather be a factor at any time during the weekend a range of MICHELIN Power Rain tyres will be available in soft and medium compounds, with the rears being an asymmetric design with a harder right shoulder, the same as the slicks.
The opening European event of the year will also signal a very special occasion for Michelin, as race day will see the 400th occasion that the winner of premier class Grand Prix has used Michelin tyres to race to victory. Since joining the two-wheeled Grand Prix championship in 1973, Michelin has taken victory in 73% of the races it has competed in during the open era, with 39 victories – prior to this weekend’s Jerez event – coming since Michelin returned to the championship as the Official MotoGP Class Tyre.
The Circuit de Jerez is situated close to the town of Jerez de la Frontera in the sherry producing region of Spain, approximately 90km south of Seville. It has been a regular event on the MotoGP calendar since 1989 and is now the traditional opening European race of the season. Although it is one of four races held in Spain, it is the only one given the title of Spanish Grand Prix and this highly charged event always attracts a huge crowd which fills the hillsides surrounding the track.
Michelin will be in action on Friday for two Free Practice sessions, followed by two more sessions on Saturday, alongside qualifying to decide grid positions for Sunday’s race. The main event this season is one of the races that have had a reduction in laps, with only 25 circulations this year, down from 27 in previous seasons. The lights will change to signal go at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs BST, 14.00hrs CEST, 12.00hrs UTC) when the riders will begin the battle to see who will be number 400.
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“After three very demanding fly-away races and the three pre-season tests, it’s good to be heading back to Europe, but the task ahead is no less difficult. We are going to another track that has been resurfaced, so we have no real data as to how it will perform during a race weekend, but we have been able to gather information from tests that have been conducted there, so we are able to bring a range of tyres which we believe will be ideally suited to the new surface and give all riders the best opportunity to make the optimum choice to suit their style and bikes. Jerez is always a great event and this year will have added significance, as it will see the 400th victory for Michelin in Grands Prix, this is a fantastic achievement and we are determined to put on a good show, so that this can be commemorated in style.”