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.
Maverick Viñales - 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."
Valentino Rossi - 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."
Massimo Meregali - 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."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Duo is Keen to Kick Off European Season in SpainFollowing three exciting rounds for Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin in Qatar, Argentina and Texas, the Grand Prix circuit is heading back to Europe this week for the Spanish GP in Jerez de la Frontera, where both Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders aim to continue their respective strong performances.
However, Zarco has an impressive statistic under his belt, as apart from his first ever MotoGP race in Qatar 2017, the French star never missed out on the points and therefore intends to extend his success with a 21st result inside the points scoring ranks in succession this weekend in Andalusia. Meanwhile Syahrin maintains the top spot of the Rookie of the Year ranking, although he wasn't able to finish the Americas GP. The Malaysian MotoGP newcomer is set to attack again, starting with the first Free Practice on Friday at 9.55 local time.
Johann Zarco - Championship: 5th – Points: 38"We're back to Europe with the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez, a track, that I think everybody likes and I enjoy it, too. I've got some great memories from last year and I want an even better souvenir this year. I feel the bike well and after Texas I needed some time to get along with the jetlag, which was quite difficult this time. It took me two days to have the full energy during the day back, but now I feel ready enough and I'm just happy to be back on my bike. I'll try to push the Yamaha in the right way to fight for the victory, if we are able to do so. Let's trust in the victory and the podium and wait and see what happens."
Hafizh Syahrin - Championship: 13th – Points: 9"I'm looking forward to the next race in Jerez de la Frontera. My physical condition is getting better and better and I think I meanwhile learned what I need for the big bike. After the disappointment in Texas, I'm feeling good again and I was training a lot with the bicycle, dirt bike and trial, so I'm more than ready to get it started again. I will try to avoid to repeat the mistake I did in the Americas GP Warm Up and I hope I can end up in the points scoring positions again."
Hervé Poncheral - Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager"We had a few days at the office on the way back from the USA, that helped everybody to recover and to get ready to organize the logistics for the European rounds, who are quite different to the overseas Grand Prix'. That kept all of us busy, but now we already have half of the team on the road driving to beautiful Andalusia. Jerez is always a very special place because of the location, which is truly amazing, because of the fans that are passionate and really hot and because of the racing, which is always incredibly close and exciting there. We at Monster Yamaha Tech3 arrive in Jerez with an interesting position being the joint independent team leader with Johann and Cal Crutchlow equal on points and leading the rookie classification with Hafizh. We have great memories of how Johann and the Yamaha YZR-M1 are working in Jerez from last year, where he had an incredible fight, leading the race for some laps, fighting with Marc Marquez and only giving up the podium to Jorge Lorenzo. Let's hope we can repeat this kind of performance this year. Johann is eager to continue the incredible start of year he is having. On Hafizh' side, I would say the same. He was really disappointed, that he was not able to score in Texas, but we could see that in Qualifying and before the crash he was very fast and he will want to be fast like this again and fighting with his fellow rookies. Spain is a special country for him, because this is his base in Europe. He has a lot of fans there and his nickname is 'El Pescao', therefore this round is one of his second home GP's. Everybody at Monster Yamaha Tech3 can't wait to be on the track to meet all of our friends we haven't seen since Valencia 2017, because some of the staff do not follow the overseas. It will be the first GP where we can see everybody working in MotoGP and we can't wait to meet them there."VIEW MORE