It has been nearly six months since the MotoGP bikes were in Europe, six months since the season closed in Valencia last November. That ends this weekend, with the first of four visits to Spain.
Jerez will be known to fans of Formula One as a test track, but the bikes like to do serious business around here.
4.4km of tarmac, in what is forecast to be glorious sunshine (a high of 32 degrees C on Saturday for qualifying). The bikes will be sparkling, the track will be dry, and there'll be upwards of 200,000 people in attendance over the course of the weekend to see it. It's a great track, and I'm really looking forward to the races.
In The News
- Marc Marquez's participation was up in the air until this afternoon. The defending world champion broke his finger in a dirt bike crash in Spain over the weekend. He has had surgery to repair the break, and he's been cleared to race, but how competitive he can be is up for debate. Fortunately, Dani Pedrosa stands a chance of returning for the race, but Honda best still have Casey Stoner on speed dial just in case.
- Bradley Smith is riding injured after a crash in the winter on a motocross bike, which is affecting him walking, but seemingly not him riding.
- Alex Rins has two pole starts from three races at Jerez, so the first year Moto2 rider will be confident of continuing his strong start in the Honda class. More Moto2 facts here.
- Danny Kent aims to be the first British rider to win three successive races for the first time since Barry Sheene did it on a 500cc bike in 1977, and the first in the baby class since Dave Simmonds won seven in a row in 1969. More Moto3 facts here.
- Finland's new Kymi Ring circuit is aiming to attract MotoGP in 2017 - but has no interest in hosting F1.
Last Time Out - Argentina
Two weeks ago, Marc Marquez threw away a guaranteed race win with a poor tyre choice, then deciding to take on Valentino Rossi rather than settling for second, then losing the bike and a race finish. Rossi extended his championship lead to Andrea Dovizioso, who finished second, with Cal Crutchlow claiming his first podium of the year.
|MotoGP Championship Top 5|
|1||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha||66|
|2||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati RT||60|
|3||Andrea Iannone||Ducati RT||40|
|4||Jorge Lorenzo||Movistar Yamaha||37|
|5||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||36|
Johann Zarco's dominant win was his first of the season, and gave him the lead in the Moto2 championship. Alex Rins' second continued an impressive start to his first year in the Honda class, taking the place after a mistake by Sam Lowes, who came in third.
|Moto2 Championship Top 5|
|1||Johann Zarco||Ajo Kalex||53|
|2||Alex Rins||Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex||49|
|3||Sam Lowes||Speed Up||41|
|4||Franco Morbidelli||Italtrans RT Kalex||33|
|5||Jonas Folger||AGR Kalex||32|
The lightweight class has been the Danny Kent show for the last two races. Kent's 10.334sec winning margin in Argentina was the largest dry weather gap since the lightweights changed from 125cc to Moto3. Efren Vasquez was a distant second, with Miguel Oliveira rounding out the podium.
|Moto3 Championship Top 5|
|1||Danny Kent||Leopard Honda||66|
|2||Efren Vasquez||Leopard Honda||49|
|3||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Honda||40|
|4||Fabio Quartararo||Estrella Galicia Honda||39|
Last Year At Jerez