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Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo head to the Gran Premio bwin.com de España as the form riders in MotoGP.
MotoGP title holder Valentino Rossi and his championship leading team-mate Jorge Lorenzo arrive at this weekend’s first European round of the 2009 season in great spirits after a successful start to the year for the Fiat Yamaha team.
A one-two for the factory Yamaha squad on ‘home’ territory in Japan, courtesy of Lorenzo’s superb victory and another consistent performance from Rossi, in second place for the second time this year, means that both riders return to the scene of two successful winter tests full of confidence.
Rossi enjoys a huge Spanish following and has a strong record at Jerez, with six victories in all classes to his name at the Andalusian track, the most recent of which he achieved in 2007.
The legendary 30-year old finished runner-up at Jerez last year, a significant result in his title-reclaiming season, as his first podium of 2008 and his first on Bridgestone tyres.
After two successive second places so far this year in Qatar and Japan Rossi will aim for his first win of 2009 on Sunday and to take the standings lead from his team-mate, who he currently trails by just one point.
Previewing round three, Rossi stated, “We’ve made a good start to the season with two podiums which shows we are consistent, but now we need to make the step up. Motegi was a good race but we had one or two problems, which we need to fix. We have a lot of data from Jerez because we tested there twice in the winter so I hope that this will help us to find a good setting straight away. I also hope that the weather is good because we’ve had two difficult races for this and I have had enough of the rain now.”
The Italian continued, “As a rule we are very strong at this track and it is always great fun riding there. I love Jerez, it’s always a brilliant atmosphere and the fans make a big, big party for three days; I hope I can be part of the party this time! The championship is becoming very interesting now so let’s hope for an exciting race this weekend.”
After his brilliant second win in the premier class last Sunday at Motegi, Lorenzo, meanwhile, heads home to Spain leading the championship.
The 2008 GP at Jerez saw Lorenzo achieve his second MotoGP pole position and go on to finish third in his second 800cc race. The Majorcan rider will hope to make the most of his home advantage this weekend and take a first MotoGP win on Spanish soil. A victory would be the perfect way to celebrate his 22nd birthday on Monday.
The young Spaniard also has a good record at the Jerez circuit, having made history there back in 2002 as the youngest rider ever to qualify for a Grand Prix, and he took maximum points there in 2006 and 2007 on the way to his two 250cc titles.
“My motivation is high because I am arriving at home as the World Championship leader, so I couldn’t ask for more.” Lorenzo remarked. “I had a very good feeling in Japan, and I enjoyed riding the bike on every corner. I still have to be careful though because I am still learning all the time how to ride with the new Bridgestone tyres.”
“I think that Jerez is maybe one of the most special circuits in the world, to be a MotoGP rider there is like a dream, all the people surrounding you. The last test in Jerez was very good. I was always in the three first positions so I hope to be fast from the start this weekend. I would like another podium, like last year in Jerez and like the first two races in 2009. I am confident.”
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