Valentino Rossi fully understands how significant this weekend’s third round of the MotoGP™ season will be. The Italian, who sits fourth in the championship after two races since returning to Yamaha Factory Racing, now returns to a circuit on which a considerable amount of pre-season testing took place before the racing began.
At the curtain-raiser in Qatar, the seven-time premier class champion stormed up to second position following an unforced error early in the race. Moving on to the inaugural Grand Prix of The Americas, sixth place was the best the Italian could manage as he struggled to overcome a brake problem.
“Jerez will be a very important race,” Rossi begins. “I believe and hope that we can be very fast, as we were in testing. We will have to work well and aim for the podium. We still have something to do, especially with the setup of the bike, but we have some ideas. Furthermore, on Monday after the race we will be testing there and we'll have the opportunity to try different things. Jerez, Le Mans and Mugello are all circuits that are favourable to us and where we will be fine.”
For teammate and Losail winner Jorge Lorenzo, Jerez marks the first of four races at home in Spain this season before Barcelona, Aragon and Valencia.
“We have to keep calm and think about the championship because it is so long,” says the current title holder. “Normally Jerez is a better track for Yamaha, but at this level of riding you never know where you are going to find your best circuit. Jerez is smaller than Austin and the straight is much shorter; that will give us less of a disadvantage. The flowing corners will also help us a lot. Jerez is one of my favourite tracks and we will be competitive there, for sure."
Lorenzo’s last race victory at the Andalucian venue came in 2011, whereas Rossi is yet to triumph in the south of Spain since his late title season to date of 2009.