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.”