Jerez GP Preview: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3

 In Moto2, Moto3, MotoGP, News


After the season-opening spectacle in Qatar MotoGP™ lands in Europe this weekend for the Gran Premio bwin de España at Jerez, the second round of the 2012 season. Provided with an excellent curtain raiser at Losail expectations will be high for another tight battle for points, pride and progress in the south of Spain as Jerez – one of the Championship’s best-attended GPs year after year – celebrates its 26th successive year of hosting a Grand Prix event just a week after its place on the 2013 calendar was confirmed.

A perfect start to the 2012 campaign was had by Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) in Qatar, where the Spaniard kicked off his season with victory thanks to a first win in the premier class at Losail. Winner at Jerez for the past two seasons, the stage is set for another intense battle with Repsol Honda pair Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.

Reigning World Champion Stoner has not finished off the podium since last year’s Jerez race, when he and Valentino Rossi famously clashed and which resulted in the Australian being unable to complete the distance, and the Spanish track is one of just two on the current calendar where he has not tasted victory in the premier class. Third in Qatar after an arm pump issue hampered him through the final laps, Stoner will be determined to get one over on Lorenzo on the Spaniard’s home soil.

On the other side of the Honda factory team garage Pedrosa will be highly motivated for his home round, and he has never finished off the podium at Jerez in the MotoGP category. Confident after a strong ride to second in Qatar, he will also be making his 100th premier class start on Sunday.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mates Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso enjoyed a close battle in Qatar, eventually finishing fourth and fifth respectively as the Brit equalled his best-ever MotoGP result after a first-ever front-row start while the Italian got his Yamaha career off to a solid start.

Nicky Hayden scored a podium in last year’s Jerez race and was sixth in Qatar a few weeks ago, and the American fell foul of the weather at Mugello where he attended a private Ducati test in an attempt to make up for time lost during pre-season. His Ducati Team colleague Valentino Rossi will hope for much better than tenth which he recorded in Qatar after a frustrating weekend and race. The Italian is the most successful rider at Jerez with eight GP wins to his name (six in the premier class), and on race day the nine-times World Champion will become only the third rider in history to have made 200 premier class starts.

Álvaro Bautista’s new partnership with the San Carlo Honda Gresini team began well in Qatar where he finished seventh, and after missing last year’s Jerez GP due to injury the Spaniard is set to make his 150th Grand Prix start across all categories this weekend.

Aiming to continue what was a very impressive introduction to the MotoGP class in Qatar, LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl will push on with his adaptation to the RC213V at a track where he finished fifth in last year’s Moto2 race. After a disappointing result in round one, Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) will expect to be back to full capacity at Jerez as he seeks to challenge the frontrunners.

Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) was the highest-placing CRT last time out and his team undertook a private test on his BMW-Suter machine in Italy last week, with Moto2 rider Alex de Angelis working on electronics developments, some of which are expected to be used by the American at Jerez. Frenchman Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar Team) will not have been satisfied with finishing behind his rival in Qatar and will aim to engage in another fierce battle, with other CRT riders such as Yonny Hernández (Avintia Racing MotoGP) and Aleix Espargaró (Power Electronics Aspar Team) keen to challenge too.


With fans hopeful of as gripping and eventful a race as that witnessed in round one, the Moto2™ World Championship lands in Spain with Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) leading the early standings.

Victory for the Spaniard was his eighth in the Moto2 category, making him the rider with the most wins in the class, and to extend that statistic he will have to finish a race for the first time since 2009 at Jerez this weekend.

Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) was beaten to victory by just 0.016s in Qatar by Márquez, and the Italian won last year’s Moto2 race at Jerez after starting from 11th on the grid. The two will go head-to-head once more at Jerez, where a highly-motivated Pol Espargaró (Pons 40 HP Tuenti) will aim to build on his third-placed finish from round one. The Spanish rider won the 2010 125cc race at Jerez, and will be more confident than ever of taking a first Moto2 victory this time around.

Espargaró’s team-mate Esteve Rabat rode a solid race in Qatar and will be one of those expected to challenge at the front in Spain, and Thomas Lüthi’s (Interwetten Paddock) response to his Qatar disappointment will be keenly observed. The Swiss rider finished fifth after starting from pole position and going head-to-head with Márquez on the final lap. He will line up for his 150th Grand Prix start on Sunday, and has a good record at Jerez where he has finished on the podium for the last two seasons.

Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team) and Mike di Meglio (S/Master Speed Up) both made good starts to the season and will want to make further improvements, while Simone Corsi (Came IodaRacing Project) would be delighted with a repeat of his Jerez performance from last season when he stepped on the podium after qualifying down in 18th.

Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) also got off to promising starts in 2012, as did rookies Johann Zarco (JiR Moto2) and Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team), whilst 2010 World Champion Toni Elías (Mapfre Aspar Team) won the Jerez GP in his title year. Julián Simón (Blusens Avintia) will also be eager to improve as he continues to adapt to the FTR.


Jerez was where the Moto3™ riders did much of their learning on the new 250cc four-stroke machines but they will face a very different prospect this weekend, as they return to race there.

With round one in Qatar complete and a clearer idea on where everybody stands, there is still much room left for development, improvement and change as the competition intensifies. One thing which was confirmed in Qatar however was that Maverick Viñales (Blusens Avintia) will be the man to catch in the category this year. Victory at Jerez would make the Spaniard the youngest rider ever to have taken four consecutive Grand Prix wins.

A dazzling debut from Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI) in second position made the Italian rookie the first rider since 1998 to step onto the podium in his very first Grand Prix, and he was fast in testing at Jerez. Sandro Cortese (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will want to close the gap to the top after opening the season with third place in Qatar, and after registering pole position at Jerez last season will be confident of mounting a challenge for victory in round two.

Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) just missed out on the podium in round one and will be desperate to rectify that in front of a home crowd, and Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0’0) appears to have settled well in his team and will be another rider whose progress at Jerez will be monitored closely.

One of the many riders who impressed in Qatar was Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Airasia-SIC-Ajo), whose sixth place was the best result by a Malaysian rider in the history of the World Championship. He will be fighting with rookie Arthur Sissis (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Danny Kent (Red Bull KTM Ajo) to improve on that at Jerez – the British rider scored his best GP result to date at the track in last year’s 125cc race when he placed fourth.

Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany), Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0’0) and Alan Techer (Technomag-CIP-TSR) will all be confident after their starts to the season, but Bankia Aspar Team duo Héctor Faubel and Alberto Moncayo will want better results at their home GP.

Two wildcard riders will add to the Moto3 field, with Alex Márquez (Monlau Competición) and Josep Rodríguez (Wild Wolf BST) gaining experience.


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