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Rossi set for 200th GP milestone at Jerez

The Ducati Team travels to Spain this week for one of the most popular events on the world championship calendar, the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez de la Frontera, which will mark the 200th premier-class start for nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi.

Rossi, who had a torrid outing in Qatar despite promising glimpses during pre-season testing, is looking for productive Friday and Saturday sessions to build on the settings found at the recent Jerez test. As the most successful rider at the Andalucian circuit with six premier-class wins, Rossi will be hoping to better his tenth place in Qatar, and not repeat last year´s crash, which took out rival Casey Stoner of the Repsol Honda squad.

The Italian is set to become only the third rider in the 64-year history of motorcycle Grand Prix racing to reach the milestone of 200 starts in the premier-class, along with Alex Barros and Loris Capirossi.

Team mate Nicky Hayden fared better in last year´s wet race taking the third step on the podium, and managed to place his Ducati Desmosedici sixth in Qatar. He had been scheduled to do a full two-day test at Mugello last week to catch up on development time, yet bad weather limited progress significantly. He is however a big fan of the Jerez track and will be looking to put in another fighting performance.

Valentino Rossi

"I’ve always liked the Jerez track a lot, and we certainly must try to do better than in Qatar. By the end of the three-day test in March, we had found a decent setup for the GP12, so we have a base to start from for this track as we prepare the bike for the race. It will be very important to work well during the Friday and Saturday practice sessions, focusing particularly on maintaining a good direction and on taking advantage of what we currently have to work with."

Nicky Hayden

"I really enjoy the Jerez GP. In some ways it’s like the first race all over again, because it’s a little bit different than Qatar. We’re back in Europe, with our trucks and all the crowds. It’s also a special track. It’s really tough, with very few straightaways, so you have to ‘connect the dots’ and do some hard braking. If you want to do a good lap time, it’s important to be fast in those last two right-handers. I’m looking forward to it. We tested there last month, but since then we have a race under our belt and a bit more data to consider. We know the general setup of the bike now. Last year the weather definitely mixed things up a bit, so we’ll see what it does this time."

Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager

"We’re returning to Jerez a month after the winter test there, so we should find very similar conditions. The first race, in Qatar, was very difficult for Valentino, as we didn’t find a good setup that would let him feel comfortable on the bike. In Spain, by taking advantage of the work we did there in March, we’ll focus on helping him once again find a good feeling. Nicky is coming off of two days of testing at Mugello, where he had hoped to make up some of the time lost during winter testing, but bad weather prevented him from doing much. Still, he was able to get to know the bike better at the first round, and he’s confident in being able to find a good setup for this track as well."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2012, Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team

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