Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Revvs Up For First European Round
Having flown back across the Atlantic Ocean, the MotoGP paddock is ready to bring the racing action to Europe. This week, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will set up their camp in the South of Spain for the Gran Premio de España at Circuito de Jerez, a track that lies close to the hearts of riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
Jorge Lorenzo not only has corner 13 named after him, but also started his incredible four-consecutive race-win streak in Jerez last year. After the announcement that his and Yamaha's partnership will come to an end at the close of the 2016 season, the current World Champion is even more motivated to enjoy the upcoming 15 rounds. He arrives in Europe holding second place in the championship standings and showing a strong determination to see that change to first after adding another solid performance to his already impressive record at Jerez. Lorenzo already has two 250cc wins to his name from 2006 and 2007, as well as three premier class victories in 2010, 2011 and 2015.
Teammate Valentino Rossi also enjoyed his fair share of glory on the Andalusian circuit and this resulted in a massive following for the Italian. After an abrupt ending to the GP in Texas two weeks ago, he holds third in the championship rankings and is eager be a top contender again this weekend and have his fans cheer him on as he returns to the podium by taking home his seventh premier-class win in Jerez. The Doctor was also successful here in the lower classes, securing a 125cc and 250cc win in 1997 and 1999.
The Grand Prix at Circuito de Jerez is one of the most popular MotoGP events of the season as it kicks off the European rounds in one of the best locations possible. Blessed with consistently good weather, beautiful scenery and a natural amphitheater, the 4.423km Jerez circuit offers spectators a great view of the many memorable racing moments that take place here. Being one of the crowds' favourites, the circuit will celebrate its thirty-year MotoGP anniversary next year, as it was built in 1986 with the first Grand Prix taking place one year later.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"The Grand Prix in Jerez is always a special occasion as it's the first European round of the season. The team loves visiting this circuit, especially after the challenging races in Argentina and Texas, and we are feeling very confident that we can be on form starting from the first Friday free practice session. The YZR-M1 performs well on Circuito de Jerez and our riders enjoy this track as well as the atmosphere thanks to the fantastic fan support. Jorge and Vale are both in perfect shape and are eager to get to work, so the whole team can't wait to hit the track in the Spanish sunshine."
Championship: 2nd, 45 points
"Finally we arrive in Jerez where the first European race is about to start. Jerez is one of my favourite circuits in the world because of the special lay-out of the track and the atmosphere and the people hugging us from the grandstands. Last season we kicked off with a good set of four victories in Jerez after a difficult start so hopefully this year we can repeat such a great result. As you all know next season I won't be with Yamaha. I felt I needed a change, a new challenge in my career, set new goals for me to try to achieve and keep my level of ambition at the maximum. I have only words of gratitude to the Yamaha family because of all the moments we lived through together. I achieved much more than I'd ever dreamt. What will happen in the future is unpredictable but from here on I just want to enjoy these 15 races that I have left with Yamaha to try to ratify the World Championship. This is right now my only target."
Championship: 3rd, 33 points
"I am very happy that now we go to Europe. The race in Texas was not very lucky for me, but even after a race like that we have to look at the positive side. We were having a very good weekend when we improved in qualifying and I felt very good on the bike and also with the Michelins. Austin has always been a very difficult track for me, but this year it was good. Now we go to Jerez, a track that I like very much. It's very different from the first three rounds of the championship. We'll have to work well, like we have done in these first races, finding the best setting for the tyres, continue working on the Michelins, and above all we must try to get onto the podium on Sunday!"
Tech3 riders ready for action ahead of return to European soil
Pol Espargaro aims to continue his bright start to the season and carry on his form in his home country as he currently sits fourth in the MotoGP World Championship standings. As a result, the 25-year-old has his sights set on clinching a strong finish once again in Sunday's 27 lap sprint.
Whilst Bradley Smith seeks to bounce back from a difficult race in Austin and fight as close as possible to the factory MotoGP riders. The British star was unfortunate to lose his consecutive point-scoring record in America after suffering bad luck but fully intends to make amends this weekend and finish well inside the top eight.
Championship: 4th, 28 points
"After what has been a tough opening to the racing year, I am looking forward to competing in my home country, plus I'm determined about continuing this good wave of form. Of course, the season so far has gone better than the opening to 2015 but we have to remain consistent, which will be key to success in this campaign. Therefore, we need to push non stop this weekend and seize another top finish which I feel is certainly achievable. The team is doing a great job and I know that it's down to me to get the result, but I am confident. I always enjoy the Circuito de Jerez and have won a few races there in the past. Last year I qualified fourth and finished one place back, so I am optimistic about having a good run again and winning the top independent battle. I'm excited about seeing my fans and I will try my hardest to give them something to cheer about!"
Championship 13th, 16 points
"The start of the season has not gone as well as I have hoped for, but I am ready to rectify this at Jerez and get back to where I should be. It goes without saying that this year is different for a number of reasons, and I fell we've had a few teething problems with the tyres. Yet, I feel we are making good progress now and we could have ended well in Austin, had I not crashed. Nevertheless, that was then and this is now and my focus is on Jerez, a track I always look forward to. I won my first GP there in the 125 cc class and have finished all the races over the years. However, I need to get into the top eight and close the gap to my teammate in the standings. The Tech3 team is working really well and did a fantastic job in Austin, so I have the upmost confidence in them and I will give it everything I've got. I am keen for another close fight in the race, and going all out for that top independent position."